Two years ago, Felipe Carvajal, a Flamenco musician, moved to Miami from Seville, hoping to expand his international career.
He was an established musician in Spain and wanted to leave his footprint into the American music scene.
“It was extremely difficult to leave a place where I lived and breathed the music I love,” said Carvajal, now 27. “Certainly, I needed to do it because Seville is very small, not only in size but also in opportunities.”
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Once in Miami, Carvajal began teaching music to children in low-income communities.
Last year, he partnered with Music for Your Heart Foundation, a nonprofit that connects schools, teachers and parents of children in need with music professionals, sponsors and companies.
The professionals supply equipment, training and a place for the children to practice and learn music.
“We go to different areas and schools to teach children music techniques that they will not learn otherwise,” Carvajal said.
As part of their efforts, Carvajal and Music for Your Heart will host for the first time “What Really Matters,” an event early next year at the James L. Knight Center.
One of the highlights of the event, free and open to the public, will be international speakers. They will share their stories on stage to a younger generation, hoping children understand the importance of studying and working hard in their field of interest.
“The goal of that event is to send a message to everybody in Miami and bring people back to the most important moments in life, their talents, their passions, their dreams,” said Ruben Campbell, founder and president of Music for Your Heart. “All those values are part of us as human beings, and we believe music is a universal language where everybody connects.”
Through previous funding, Music for Your Heart partnered in 2011 with the Siman Orchestral Foundation to provide 35 classical instruments to 35 children.
The foundation, also known as SIMANOF, is a nonprofit organization focused on providing orchestral training to children.
“Susan Siman, founder of SIMANOF, was able to teach those children with the new instruments,” Campbell said.
Last year, Siman was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for her collaboration as “Teacher of the Year.”
Campbell said it is a great honor to work with artists who have such recognition, and he is planning to maintain the partnership with teachers like Siman and Carvajal.
“Felipe Carvajal has tutored my daughter, and it is with him that she has obtained the greatest progress in improving her music skills so far,” said Maria del Carmen Sanchez, 42, mother of Liz Sanchez, 10, one of Carvajal’s current students. “He is exceptional not only as a musician but also as a mentor.”
Music for Your Heart is Carvajal’s primary partner.
He plans to keep doing concerts and provide music lessons at no cost for children in need.
“Music is the lifeblood of human beings and society,” said Carvajal, who is also working on his first album.
Carvajal plans to put a portion of the profits from the album toward supporting more children in their music ventures.
“I collaborate with Music for Your Heart to help motivate children to join the music sphere without fear,” Carvajal said. “Even if I help only one child to reach his or her music dream, that would be the greatest satisfaction for me and the organization.”
To learn more about Music for Your Heart and the foundation, contact founder Ruben Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-773-2013.
Also, visit: http://www.musicforyourheartfoundation.org/