Why you should choose to study music in Havana
Study music in Havana has always been of huge importance to the locals in Havana and just as much significance regarding history. Although a major influence on different styles in 1900’s, the roots of this music in Havana can be traced back to times when African slaves arrived in Cuba during the 1800’s. Back then, these slaves brought their songs with them on these ships and incredibly, it was this influence which would change the world of music as we know it today. Once the slaves had been freed in 1886, they continued to create this music, and it began to spread at an incredible speed across Cuba.
Meanwhile, there were other musical influences that played a part in the musical history of Havana and some of those originated in faraway lands such as Spain, and more recently, Jamaica, France, and the United States. At the same time, the music that derives from Havana still has an influence on the rest of the world. In particular, it is a common influencer on jazz, salsa, and nuevo flamenco.
That being said, you can probably understand why so many travellers come to study music in Havana as this is truly one of the best places in the world to uncover the reasons, influences, and love behind each note, not to mention the incredible history of the city itself.
But why is Havana so popular to study music?
Studying music has become increasingly popular and worthwhile in Havana, not only because of its history but also because of the local culture. Home to more than two million people, Havana is a busy place to be, and ever week the city plays hosts to many great live music concerts, from internationally known artists to local artists who are keen to get their music out there. In fact, hardly a day goes by without a music-related event taking place, making Havana the ideal location for anyone who wishes to study music.
Where can you study music in Havana?
There are many music schools throughout Havana, and Cuba, but the most popular schools are the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory, the National School of Arts (ENA), the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) and the Alejandro Garcia Caturla Elementary music academy. If you are planning to stay for a short period of time you can take a weekly music course at Havana Music School which is located very close to Plaza de la Revolucion Square and they provide many courses of all the instruments related to the Cuban music.
All those schools offer a wide range of courses and subjects and highlight the fact that if you want to study music in Havana, you won’t be alone! With a great reputation, and located in Havana, if you choose to study at any of the schools, you could find yourself being taught in one of Cuba’s most prestigious musical institutions.
Are there any other benefits to studying music in Havana?
Yes, there are many more benefits to studying music in this wonderful part of the world:
• Havana is thought to be a very safe place, meaning you can walk the streets without worrying about your safety
• Accommodation is not that expensive, in fact, you can stay in some lovely hotels for a lot less than you’d think
• You can listen to great live music almost every night of the week if you wish.
Not only study music in Havana, but also…
Attending to music concerts in Havana will be also part of your learning process. Depends on the type of music you like. For example for Jazz music you have “La Zorra y el Cuervo” or “Jazz Cafe“, for Tima (Cuban Salsa) you can go to “La Casa de la Música de Miramar” or if you want to see one of the top Cuban “Trovadores” then you should go to “Diablo TunTun” any Thursday and see Mr. Ray Fernandez, you wont be disappointed! One of the most popular option when coming to study music in Havana is taking AfroPercussion lessons.
The Cubans have special talent for the AfroPercussion rhythms and once in Havana you will be able to learn several rhythms such as rumba, bolero, chachacha or danzon. It doesn’t get much time to get familiarised with all the instruments related to the Cuban Percussion: for example congas (“tumbadoras” in Cuba), bongos, timbales, maracas, güiros and the most important one: “claves”, which are the base of the Cuban rhythm in any music that has something to do with Cuba. Those are only some examples. Probably the most preferred ones are the tumbadora and bongo, as both of them are essential parts of any Cuban traditional band that includes traditional songs on their music.
Some of the most popular Cuban bands at the moment are Interactivo (they usually play every Wednesday at “Bertolt Brecht“ cafe), Qva Libre (Wednesdays at “Cafe Cantante“) and Havana D’Primera (Tuesdays at “Casa de la Música de Miramar“). Regarding the Trova some of the most popular artists are: Ray Fernandez, David Torrens, Kelvis Ochoa, Adrian Berazain, Telmary, Brenda Navarrete or William Vivanco.
Choosing to study music in Havana will allow for an immersive experience as you surround yourself with a truly impressive musical history. At the same time, it is not only the past which impresses so much for Havana is just as influential and interesting today as it was back then, not to mention the fact that it gives you an opportunity to study music in such a remarkable corner of the world.