On the first Monday in May each year, schools across Canada celebrate the impact of music and music education with Music Monday. To mark the occasion, we invited several prominent Canadian musicians across a variety of genres to pen a letter to a music teacher who has greatly influenced their career.
Here, Alex Cuba writes a letter to his teacher, Maestro Luis, a.k.a El Chupao.
I hope this letter finds you well. I'm writing today to let you know how influential your teachings have been to me in my music career.
I remember my first lesson with you. I was expecting something else when you gave me a whole bunch of tapes to listen to and asked me to come back next month. I was confused but excited and didn't have a clue that the music in those tapes would give me so much.
The month went by really fast as I found myself enjoying the music so much and getting to know bass players like Alain Caron, Ron Carter, Marcus Miller, John Patitucci, Stanley Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, Cachao, Charles Mingus and Carlos Del Puerto.
The list was long, but I went back the next month knowing by heart many of the bass solos on those tapes and you were happy to see what I was interested in. You said to me, "Let's get serious," and pulled out a stack of books and said, "Everything you heard on the tapes we will now learn in theory." This was the beginning of regular lessons twice a week and at 15 years of age, gave me a sense of focus and most importantly a developed taste in music.
Through your lessons I learned dynamics in music and I apply your teachings to everything I do today. When I want to create a climax in the middle of a song, I know how. When I want to create excitement, I know how and when I want to play a solo I really know how.
Thank you for putting your heart into everything you taught me.
May you remain inspired to continue teaching others.
Maestro Luis, a.k.a El Chupao, could not be reached for comment.
You can read more letters and responses at our Music Monday page. And let us know about the influental music teacher in your life.
Music Monday: Canadian musicians thank their teachers
Letter to my teacher: Suzie Vinnick
Lenny Breau’s first jazz teacher, Bob Erlendson
Music Monday: coalition for music education
Music Monday with Luke Doucet
on Apr 30, 2012