“Arts and music are part of our daily lives, and anyone can do it. Creating art and music are human activities, they are active activities.”
Alina’s Cuban-American upbringing exposed her to a wide range of music from Celia Cruz to the Beatles. “Singing was the only way to make as much noise as possible and not get in trouble!” she says.
Alina’s mission is to create experiences that are joyous and eclectic. To that end, she has developed music programs for language immersion preschools and mommy-and-me style classes, as well as units on Americana, Play-Party, and Music and Movement, and offers Multicultural Music and Story residencies. She has taught, performed, and presented workshops and master classes for educators and librarians all over the United States as well as in Santiago de Atitlán, Guatemala, and Australia. Her most recent album is Love is Te Quiero.
What led you to be a teaching artist?
When I graduated from college I took a position as a music teacher. I found the work challenging and rewarding, however, it left no room for my work as an artist, so I resigned after 1.5 years. I quickly found that I missed teaching. A friend told me about Music Together, so I trained with them and taught it for four years, while simultaneously pursuing my music and performing career.
I went on to design and teach curriculum for children from infancy through fifth grade, specializing in early childhood development programs, music, and bilingual music programs, and school readiness workshops for families.
I plan every lesson, every curriculum around three basic ideas:
- The improvisational principle of “Yes, and…”
- The fundamental need for children to move their bodies.
- Learning is fun.
In order to honor the “yes, and…” principle, I leave room for curiosity, exploration, and unexpected left turns. I want children to participate actively, so I encourage questions and conversations. I also ensure that I am engaged by the lesson; if I’m not having fun, no one is.