Mr. Lucas Gomez is a guitar instructor at Musical Living Academy, McAllen TX. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, he moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 16 years old. He attended South Texas College, and Instituto Canzion McAllen, currently he is an advance guitar professor at the latter. With 7 years of experience as guitar player, session musician and studio recording he joins Musical Living Academy as a result of his passion to teach and inspire the community through music. Mr. Gomez is currently band director at BT McAllen where he plays every Sunday. He also plays guitar for the following bands. Abdiel Solis, as well as a collaborator with other bands and institutions such as Job Gonzalez band, CLC, Semilla de Mostaza, and more.
Ronald Acebuche was born in 1988 in Philippines and moved to the United States when he was 6. He started playing at the age of 10 with several local teachers, Katie Schoen, Patti McBride, and Iby Kovacs. He received his Bachelor’s degree in2012 with an emphasis on music education along with Summa Cum Laude honors. Ronald continues to study at UTPA with Brendan Kinsella in hopes of obtaining a Master’s degree in piano performance. At the moment, Ronald works at Our Savior’s Lutheran as a pianist and is teaching at Musical Living Academy with Edelir Garza in hopes to building a strong musical program. He has served as a piano teacher of the Rio Grande Valley since 2008 and enjoys teaching piano for all ages. Aside from being a piano teacher, Ronald has accompanied many students for their juries at UTPA and is active with the music program. Ronald has held a position such as the accompanist for the PSJA Southwest Cluster and does his best to help developing choir programs and continues to be active.
“Hello there! Let me introduce myself: my name is Jamie Millan and I am one of the Pre-K piano teachers at MLA. I’m a senior at the University of Texas RGV, studying Elementary Education with the hopes of one day becoming an elementary school teacher! My own journey with music began when I was very young, and has carried me through a range of fantastic experiences and beneficial lessons. I first began piano lessons at the age of nine, not really knowing how much I would fall in love with music over the next few years. Piano quickly became more than a hobby, it became a way to channel my self-expression and learn more about the beauty of things in life that cannot necessarily be seen or touched. Private lessons taught me the value of practice and self-discipline. Recitals taught me the value of self-confidence and the willingness to share music. Auditions and theory tests taught me the value of being studious and professional. Music has had a large role in shaping my view of life and beauty, and my piano teachers have challenged and changed me in ways I will never forget and always cherish. My decision to pursue and practice the art of teaching piano comes from the first-hand knowledge I have of the ways music enriches and blesses a person’s life. My goal in teaching is to share these experiences with the students in my classes, and to give them a solid and encouraging start to their own musical journeys!”
Meeting my piano teacher was traumatic for me cause I was incredibly shy and had just a touch of social anxiety. Nonetheless I played for her and she loved it. In just one year I played through 6 books of her series so that’s when classical music came in. It was much harder and to be honest I hated it. Mainly its cause I wasn’t where my heart was in music. Regardless I went through it but now instead of going through pieces in 1 or 2 weeks it was 6 or 7 months. I wanted to learn so much more but it was like climbing hills to climbing Mount Everest after we left those series books.
I am now the piano player of the very Wind ensemble and am a proud teacher of music myself. Its truly a great and wonderful experience.
Administrative Assistant/Voice Instructor
Music has always been in my life ever since I can remember. As a child, I would create a fist with my hand to represent a microphone as I would sing the pop tunes of the time to anyone who would ask me to sing. Ever since then I have been singing in a choir or simply singing some way, some how as my love for music still continues to grow.
Although I knew I had to have music in my life, I had to go through many of life’s obstacles to be sure that this wasn’t just a hobby but my life’s direction. When I was a senior in high school, I remember my academic teachers and counselors, who I’m sure meant well, trying to advising me to change my mind about going to college for a music degree. Statistics and graphs about salary comparisons and where the jobs demands landed were tools used to try to convince me that music wasn’t a great idea for me. Then one day I was convinced, I decided on obtaining a Dentist degree instead yet I wasn’t truly happy. I didn’t feel the same as I did with having music thus I changed my major back. I am currently studying at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and I’m in my senior year of college going towards my Bachelor’s Degree in Music concentrating on Voice. It will be a lie to say that studying music was easy and anyone can do it. Actually, studying music demands hours and hours of practice and not to mention the compacted music courses, rehersals, concerts, ensembles, and lessons the individual has to accomplish, attend, or be part of. Truth is, it can be overwhelming but if one’s heart is fully committed then it’s a dream come true.
When I started teaching voice lessons in 2013, it became clear to me that teaching voice is my passion. I will never forget the experience of my first student who would constantly tell me that she didn’t have a musical bone in her body, that she didn’t have a beautiful voice and even that windows will shatter at her sound along with other negative comments about herself. To which I would be persistently be positive and kept attempting to change her mindset to have her believe in herself as I did and still do (she is still currently my student). When she sang in front of an audience for the first time, with tears running down her cheeks, she thanked me because she was able to accomplish something she doubted she could ever do. Today, she’s taking lead vocal roles at her school as well as after school productions she’s apart of. My goal in life is to obtain a Ph.D in Choir Directing/Voice Teacher where I can help more young voices to their maximum potential and to be able to express themselves by using music and the voice God have given them. I believe music can change lives, create or recall memories, be used as a means to express oneself, and should be part of everyone’s life.
My musical Journey has been exactly that “A Journey.” Growing up, I don’t remember there ever being a moment where there was an absence of music in my house or anywhere I would go. You see I grew up in a family who had a natural ear for music in fact, my dad and most of my aunts and uncles had their own conjunto bands or played and sang with mariachi groups even before I was born. Although I did belong to a family where music was the center of their lives, I didn’t personally fall in love with it until I was about 7 years old. I remember my Dad was playing the guitar and singing that day and I was so captivated by the one thing that still has me captivated today, the voice. My Dad must have seen the expression on my face because He immediately called me over, handed me the microphone and said, “Do you want to help me sing?” I remember that day singing my little heart out in front of a crowd I barley even knew. After that occasion it was virtually impossible to keep me quite to the point where I would make up my own lyrics and sing at the top of my lungs.
At the age of 9, we moved to the Rio Grande Valley after living in Houston for 10 years. It was a huge change for me but once again I found my refuge in music. My elementary music teacher quickly discovered My ability to match pitch and chose me to be a part of His music memory group and All State Choir. It was here where I heard for the first time full Opera and symphony pieces from great composer like Mozart and Beethoven. This opened up a new style and form of music for me that really amazed me.
PreK Piano Teacher
My musical journey started when I was 11 years old. Growing up my parents had always told us kids that music was a beautiful gift that God created and what a blessing it was to others. When we would get invited to talent shows and recitals I always looked forward to the music performances the most and would daydream about learning an instrument someday just like the older kids I was watching. One day my parents asked my sister and I if we would like to learn how to play piano, you can imagine how excited I was! Before committing to piano my parents sat us down and let us know that if we agreed to take piano lessons then it would be a long term commitment. One of the very first lessons that piano reinforced for me was that when I started something I would work hard to finish it.
Last year I took some college road trips and I started to think about what I really wanted to study after High School, I knew that I wanted to pursue music in some way I just didn’t know what. Sometime after that Mr. Garza presented me with the opportunity of an internship at his studio. After working as a teacher’s assistant I completely fell in love with teaching! So much so that I will be majoring in Music Education at UTRGV when I start classes this fall.
One of my main inspirations for teaching was my piano teacher and close friend, Mrs. Bonnie Lafitte. She instilled in me a love and appreciation for music and is a great example of the kind of teacher I aspire to become. I am also thankful that God has placed me in such an awesome team as MLA’s! I have already learned so much from the amazing teachers I’ve been able to work with and am excited to keep growing my skills in music and teaching!
My musical journey has not always been easy but piano has taught and still is teaching me discipline, diligence, work ethic, confidence and so much more! I wouldn’t change any of it for the world and I hope to instill the same values in my students. Music is truly a gift that should be shared and passed on to others!
Even though music had been a part of my life from a very young age, I didn’t realize the love and passion I had for it until I was in college.
I grew up in a musical family. My father played acoustic guitar and was a singer as well. I remember him teaching my brothers to play guitar and giving me a mic to sing with him. This continued throughout my adolescence. My mom also influenced my love for music, especially because music allowed her to dance. I remember that She would dance with us as kids and I loved it. In fact I believe that dancing as a child helped me to perform in front of people without shame.
When I entered middle school, I joined choir and loved it. This changed however, when I started going to high school as my interest shifted more to dance. I did have choir a few years, but my focus wasn’t there. Not only that, as I began to think about my “future career,” my focus became directed towards the medical field. I took all the classes offered to prepare me for it, leaving my high school resume in great shape for the medical career I wanted.
My freshmen year as a college student went fantastic. I had decided to major in “Biology,” and I took all the science courses for that year. Everything was going great, or so it seemed, yet something inside me said this is not it. I couldn’t seem to see myself working in this field for the rest of my life, my heart wasn’t in it. In that same year, I started to attend a church and I started to notice the worship team. Seeing a group of young people play and sing sparked the interest I had in music. Soon after that, I joined the worship team as a vocalist. Doing this caused my love and passion for music to grow once again. It also awakened in me a need to better myself in my ability and knowledge in music.
By my second year of college, I had changed my major from Biology to Music Education. I was so excited yet terrified to enter this field, due to my lack of background knowledge in music. I am glad to say that I recently graduated from the University of Texas Pan-American, with a bachelors degree in music Education. I can now look back 4 1/2 years later and say I made the best decision in changing majors. At times, it seemed impossible to obtain my degree. I had to learn how to play piano, an instrument I had never touched before, and learn the theory behind music as well. I had to sing in so many different languages like German, French, Russian, Italian and different styles of music. I learned how to perform, and at the same time learned how to share my knowledge with others.
I’m so thankful that throughout my career, I was also involved in a worship team. This allowed me to grow as a mentor and teacher. I was able to share and help others grow in their process as musicians. Today, I continue finding ways to grow as a musician, minister and educator in order to help individuals discover their talents as well as helping them grow.
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