"I like to find a balance between pieces I want the student to learn and also working with the students own musical preferences. It is very important for me that the student enjoys playing all the pieces he or she will work on."
A native of Puerto Rico, José Gabriel Maldonado grew up in Old San Juan. He began traveling to New York in 2004 to attend Guitar Seminars at Mannes and "was immediately in love with the city." He applied to graduate school in New York and moved to the city in 2009. José began studying guitar at the age of 10. "I loved the guitar solos of some Bob Marley and Peter Tosh albums my dad had at our home. Then, as time went by in my conservatory program, I was impressed with the possibilities of the classical guitar, especially with its history and historic repertoire."
José enjoys teaching students of all ages. Though his personal preference is classical, he is comfortable and open to teaching a variety of musical styles. José focuses on essential techniques "that need to be learned to play guitar in any musical style. I like to find a balance between pieces I want the student to learn and also working with the students own musical preferences. It is very important for me that the student enjoys playing all the pieces he or she will work on." José also works with students to develop practicing techniques and strategies.
Comfortable teaching younger children, José has worked with students as young as four. With these students, José focuses on the "musical aspect of playing guitar. Almost always they go out of the room playing a song from the first lesson. I want young children to feel that they can make music and play a song they are familiar with." José also enjoys working with adults. "The guitar has always been the instrument of the people and it's never to late to learn the chords to your favorite Beatles song or to know how to play a beautiful Pavan by John Dowland. I enjoy teaching a student of any age the magic of the guitar and sharing my experience."
José feels a close affinity with the music of the Renaissance and Baroque period. As a guitarist he also has "much admiration for Spanish composers like Granados, Albéniz, Rodrigo, and de Falla. My Caribbean roots have also influenced my music preferences." While living in Puerto Rico, José developed a love of surfing. When he's not teaching, practicing, or performing, Jose enjoys spending time "surfing which gives me a very close relationship with nature that can't be compared to anything else I've experienced." He is also an active hiker and biker.