Faculty Spotlight: Yuli Almonte
What's your main instrument & why?
I am primarily a pianist, though I do dabble in playing the guitar, drums, and bass to a lesser extent. However, my true affinity has always been with the piano. To me, it stands as one of the most comprehensive musical instruments, offering a unique avenue for artistic expression. Through the piano, I find the capacity to communicate my emotions and ideas, making it a deeply cherished instrument in my musical journey.
What's your musical origin story? What lit the spark for you?
During a family vacation, we visited a remarkable destination that housed a magnificent grand piano. Upon our arrival, my attention was captured by another youngster, much like myself, engrossed in playing the piano. I was so captivated by the scene that I found myself gazing in awe for an extended period. Eventually, the young pianist invited me to learn a song, and without a moment's hesitation, I eagerly accepted the offer. This marked the beginning of my journey into music. The first song I was taught was "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Bursting with excitement, I rushed to tell my mom about my newfound piano skills, performing the tune for her. When we returned home, my mother wasted no time and quickly enrolled me in private piano lessons, thus setting the foundation for my musical journey.
Can you share a good gig story?
I chose to celebrate my 30th birthday at the Hard Rock Cafe in the Dominican Republic, and I extended invitations to all of my fellow musician friends to join me in performing on that special day. As fate would have it, the owner of the Hard Rock Cafe was present and left thoroughly impressed by our performance. Seizing the opportunity, he approached me and inquired if my band would be interested in becoming the official house band for the venue. Without hesitation, I enthusiastically accepted the offer. For the next five years, we had the privilege of gracing the stage as the house band. This experience proved to be unparalleled – the audience was electric, the provisions of complimentary food and drinks were exceptional, making it a truly extraordinary gig that will forever hold a special place in our memories.
Tell us about your practice routine and share some practice tips.
I aim to practice 2 or 3 times a week, with sessions ranging from around 30 minutes to several hours. My practice routine is versatile, sometimes extending my sessions for hours. I particularly enjoy exploring new content on YouTube, constantly seeking fresh inspiration. I kick off my practice by playing songs I love as a warm-up, followed by diving into learning a new piece. For those seeking practice advice, here are a few tips:
- Challenge with Scales: To challenge myself, I select two scales that I find challenging. I might even take on scales in flat keys like Eb or Bb. Starting at a very slow tempo, I gradually increase the speed. Utilizing a metronome proves immensely beneficial in this process.
- Metronome Mastery: Using a metronome is a game-changer. I usually begin at a tempo of 60 bpm and then incrementally raise it by 5 or 10 bpm. This incremental approach helps in maintaining precision and control as I work on increasing my speed. Incorporating these techniques into my practice routine has significantly improved my skills and performance.
What drew you to the Music House team?
I am PASSIONATE about Music House in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! One of the key factors that drove me to become a musician and pursue music education was my early involvement in a band. Music House provides that invaluable chance for every student, something truly unique. The atmosphere at Music House is incredibly enjoyable, fostering a positive environment that encourages active participation in year-round performances. At Music House, you're a constant presence, much like a Rockstar, throughout the entire year.
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