of the best things about life is that it is so diverse.
You never know what's going to happen from one minute
to the next.
grew up #3 in a household of 10 kids and 2 parents.
other words, I helped raise 7 of 'em.
my Junior High School and High School years (at
Belton High School), I became an accomplished musician
(I never called myself that) - specializing
in percussion. This carried over into my college
career, which began as a "student of music."
was always a great joy to perform with such orchestras
as the Baylor Symphony, the Waco Symphony Orchestra,
the Temple Civic Orchestra, the Southwest Texas
State Orchestra, and other chamber ensembles.
my music studies progressed, I became more and more
interested in German composers. This began my German
studies. The initial experience studying German
in the classroom was enlightening. Having grown
up speaking Spanish and English, the German mentality
(word structure, grammar, new sounds, etc.) seemed
study of German lead to a dual major: music &
German. But, being the "logical thinker" that I
considered myself to be, and after having studied
English for so many years - a requirement, isn't
it! - my Spanish language studies began. Being Mexican-American,
we spoke English & Spanish at home. It was obvious
that Tex-Mex was the language spoken in my home
life. There were words in books that I didn't know!
It took years for me to figure out how to spell
Spanish became a new field of study.
Dad is half Czech, so he also had a smattering of
Czech language in his background. At least we listened
to the "Czech Melody Hour" every Sunday afternoon,
and danced to the polkas & waltzes. I learned
A ja sam before I learned many German folksongs!
my language studies progressed at Southwest Texas
State University, the Modern Language Division provided
me with the opportunity to teach Spanish and German
as a Teaching Assistant (TA).
found myself teaching "foreign languages" as a job
to pay my way through graduate school. My interest
in music had not waned, but rather fell to a back
burner. Not that far back though! I'm still working
on my Aztec opera!
this time I had learned to play other instruments,
including piano, clarinet, saxophone, viola, and
accordeon. My first accordeon was actually a gift
presented to me by some college buddies who surprised
me with it one Christmas! I sat down, learned "Ach,
Du Lieber Augustin" - then went on to bigger
and better tunes. I still don't know "Lady of Spain."
Other accordeon tunes that I play are found in the
section of this site.
finishing the academic requirements for the Master
of Arts in Teaching, it was time for the "Internship
Abroad." I went to Germany as the recipient of a
DAAD stipendium, and studied at the Albert-Ludwigs
Universität, Freiburg-im-Breisgau. Obviously,
this was one of the most wonderful experiences of
completion of the Master's Degree it was time to
go to work. These work experiences are listed in
my Vita, and each
has provided interesting learning experiences. You
never really quite finish learning!
most enjoyable part of teaching was the "differences"
I found in the students. Each had his/her own vocabulary,
his/her set of experiences, his/her areas of interest.
My task was to provide each individual with the
vocabulary, the means, the ability to express him/herself
in a new language. This is extremely challenging,
yet I had assumed the role of "facilitator" - providing
each student with the knowledge that HE or SHE could
indeed learn another language. Final exams proved
to be a rewarding experience, as I found the students
very appreciative once they had seen that they COULD
learn another language. It always amazed me how
many of them really thought "they couldn't learn!"
"the teacher," it seemed like it was pretty well
up to me to "see to it" that they learned. I had
to look up word after word after word, just to keep
up with the vocabulary they required. And of course,
that was another wonderful part of foreign language
teaching. I had to find words that I might never
have considered using in my own vocabulary. It kept
me busy "learning" throughout my teaching career.
of this website developed as a result of my trying
to maintain a collection of worthwhile activities
and exercises, learning tools & pronunciation
guides, music & lyrics, etc., to fulfill my
duties as the teacher: Reaching every one of the
accordeon and other musical instruments became "teaching
tools" to be used in the classroom. The students
learned a lot of language, just singing songs on
Friday - instead of the usual lecture-recital-blahblah-workout.
These pages are also intended to provide the opportunity
for any of my former students to listen again to
many of the songs they learned in classes.
you're reading this and you were in my class somewhere,
like to hear from you!
of my efforts throughout the course of my life have
been in the direction of learning. I'm still learning!
website is teaching me more and more about ...
A tip or donation (in the right column) would be
most graciously accepted and sincerely appreciated
- but only if you're learning something!