Giovanni, Mr. Davis, and Angel in the music studio
Warmest greetings from all of us at Arquetopia. This busy and very fast-moving year has marked some exciting victories for Arquetopia’s music programs. With Arquetopia’s new facilities having now been painstakingly renovated and revamped for over a year, the beautiful new music studio in the third-floor tower has been serving us very well and setting the stage for significant progress in multiple directions. Our small but focused programs continue to grow, mounting a unique presence in this region of Mexico where quality music programs and facilities are indeed a rare find.
We continue with our YouTube project, producing short videos of the students’ lessons, practice sessions, and performances which are rotated on YouTube and Vimeo during times of year when students are working toward live concert performances. A current, ongoing project involves the students in preparation of the difficult chamber works of Mozart. Knowing that their individual work will soon be seen and heard publicly on these websites, regardless of how prepared or unprepared the students are, gradually eliminates stage fright and consistently motivates students to practice longer and more diligently than without recording.
The highlight of this year so far has been the arrival of a new student into the fold: a serious young clarinetist from Puebla, Mexico named Giovanni.
With his innate maturity, enthusiasm for learning, and remarkable progress since starting his musical studies at Arquetopia, Giovanni has proven to be the new rising star of the program. When he arrived this spring, he was clearly nervous and even timid in the individual lessons and group classes, having started music rather late in his adolescence and playing the clarinet for only three years. Having had no previous private instruction, he soon found his bearings, claiming his place in the studio and working very hard to overcome the poor habits that had accumulated in his playing. His commitment and unusual discipline in practicing resulted in a surprisingly rapid artistic development, musical sensitivity, particularly beautiful and robust tone, and clean technique.
When Giovanni informed Christopher Davis, Arquetopia Co-Executive Director and Director of Music Programs, that he hoped to audition for a university music program and scholarship, Mr. Davis —having successfully prepared hundreds of his American students for this challenge in the past— outlined a rigorous program to ready Giovanni for it musically and mentally. Under pressure and via multiple individual lessons per week, Giovanni learned three months’ worth of music in only three weeks’ time and then delivered two outstanding auditions, the first consisting of two difficult and contrasting pieces of repertoire by video, and the second consisting of numerous pieces of sight-reading (performing music on the spot without having seen it before) in person before the university faculty.
After he completed the second audition and was asked by Mr. Davis how it went, Giovanni replied, “I think I played it right. In the last part of sight-reading the scores, at first I was nervous. I was very worried because this is harder than it looks. Other clarinetists were playing the [Márquez] Danzón and Ravel’s Bolero. I listened a little bit to the others and then I realized that my sound was much more powerful.”
All of us at Arquetopia are thrilled to announce that Giovanni’s hard worked paid off in spades. He succeeded not only in being admitted to the most expensive university in Mexico, the Universidad de las Americas (University of the Americas), and into its respected music programs but in winning the principal clarinet position in the university symphony orchestra and a 100% Music Artist Scholarship for all years of his education (one of only three such scholarships offered by the institution). Following in the footsteps of Mr. Davis’s past students in the USA, Giovanni is the first student emerging from Arquetopia’s relatively young music programs in Mexico to achieve these critical opportunities and honors. He will start his studies at the university this August.
This month, Giovanni will also perform his first full public solo recital in the nearby city of Cholula where he currently attends school.
Of course, these important successes could not have been possible without GlobalGiving and all of you, Arquetopia’s generous fans and supporters. As always, we humbly and profusely thank you for your continued support, and we wish you a summer full of wonder and adventure. Gracias y buenas vibras!
Giovanni and Angel rehearsing Mozart
Giovanni and Mr. Davis in memorization lesson
100% University Music Scholarship Winner Giovanni
Stained glass in Arquetopia's new music studio
Progress of Arquetopia's yearlong renovations
Cathedral view from Arquetopia's music studio