“I really like to share the passion I feel about every aspect of technical live-event production. My teaching style is based on the learning-by-doing method, in which students are actively involved in technical live-event production from day one and throughout the semester.” “I think it’s important for performers, engineers, and professionals from the music-business industry to understand not only the technical aspects, but also the specific language behind every live event.”
“I believe that every person has their greatness. This is not some catchy phrase; for me, it is a mission. In the world of coaching we believe that each person has their own answers and the right to define their own brand of success. But sometimes we need the right kind of support, education, and inspiration to make the most of what we have been given, and that is where I see my role in all the aspects of my work.” “Everything I design in education is to truly challenge my students to blossom in their own creativity and authentic identities, to learn to think for themselves and ask the right questions, and to continually improve their abilities and personal effectiveness, so they can get out into the world and make meaningful, positive contributions for themselves and for others.” “I have always been fascinated with the notion of transformation of individuals, groups, communities, organizations, nations, and so on. Our power to change, to evolve and to go beyond what is expected of us, is for me one of the greatest opportunities of being alive. But this is the most meaningful when it is in service of something greater than ourselves. Education, good education, has the power to bring that out in individuals and help them find ways to grow and channel their talents in the most positive and impactful way.”
I am lucky to have two beautiful subjects to share with students on the Valencia Campus: health and wellness; and general psychology. Could anything be more important than learning and applying the basic principles of leading a happy and healthy life? Both teaching and counseling share strategies and techniques such as using reflection, self-awareness, practicing, organizing, planning, making proper decisions, self-empowerment, self-determination, among others that make me more a coach than a teacher or a psychologist. Nowadays technology and massive media outlets provide tons of educational possibilities and information that is easy to find but difficult to filter and make sense of it. Students can find information faster than teachers since technology is part of their ‘natural’ habitats. They don’t need us to find information anymore, they can do that in seconds on their laptops. They need us as mediators and coaches to model how to make sense of and prioritize all that information. I believe that education today entitles active feedback and interaction, discovering, experiencing, reflecting, respecting, and sharing. The days when the teacher was the only one talking while students played a passive role are finally over, fortunately. Selected Publications
- Tomás-Roselló, J.; Rawson, R.A.; Zarza, M.J.; Bellows, A., Busse, A.; Saenz, E.; Freese, T.; Shawkey M.; Carise, D.; Ali, R.; Ling, W. (2010). UNODC International Network of Drug Dependence Treatment and Rehabilitation Resource Centres: Treatnet. Substance Abuse, 31, 4, 1-13. ISSN 0889-7077.
- Zarza, M.J. & Sobrino, M.B. (2007) Acculturation Stress: Latino immigrants residing in the Unites States vs. Spain: A Literature Review. Annals of Psychology, 23, 1.
- Zarza, M.J., Ponsoda, V. & Carrillo, R. (2008). Predictors of Violence and Lethality among Latinas: Implications for Assessment and Treatment. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 18, 1, 1-16.
- Carrillo, R. & Zarza, M.J. (2008). An intervention model for Intimate Partner Violence and Substance Abuse for Latinos. Family Violence and Men of Color: Healing the Wounded Male Spirit. (2nd Ed.) Springer Publishing Company. NY: New York. ISBN 978-0-8261-1178-4.
- 2003: Womanspace, Inc. Professional Award for excellence in five years of service to Latino women and children, victims of domestic violence.
- 2005: Women & Gender Junior Investigator Award for the College on Problems of Drug Dependence conference.
- 2012: Government of Murcia: Special award for the promotion of Evidence Based Practices through the Matrix Model in the region of Murcia.
“In my classes, I like to develop a good repertoire and use each composition as an opportunity to learn scales, chords, comping, improvisation, reading, arranging, reharmonization, and rhythms. My main subject is improvisation. Improvisation involves creativity, technique, knowledge of form, harmonies, and scales. In my opinion, a good composer, arranger, or guitar player should first be a good improviser.”
“I believe in Occam’s razor style of teaching: There should be the shortest possible distance between teaching and learning, and no unnecessary lectures on unrelated topics to fill time. We are all action in class, learning by being practical, by trying things out in a very handson way. I show you examples of three types of music video styles, we analyze how they are made and then immediately work on making our own, doing the bulk of the workload in class, so that I can be present to correct any mistakes and help you learn the software and the hardware techniques through constant experimentation and feedback.” “Teaching exists as a service to the students first and foremost. I find it important to discuss everyone’s interests at the beginning of a semester, to be able to adjust my curriculum or oneonone meetings to accommodate the ultimate learning goals of the students. It also allows me to be honest: If some other class or professor may be able to do a better job transmitting the knowledge a particular student seeks, I will direct them to the best possible learning tools, setting all ego aside.” “The bulk of my experience comes from being a touring visual artist. I jumped into the touring world immediately after completing my studies at the Massachusetts College of Art in 2006, following my own philosophy of handson learning being the best kind. Since then I’ve done one or more major U.S. tours per year as a VJ (video projection artist) and as a DJ with my own a/v act, Zebbler Encanti Experience. Several years ago I started my own company to create touring videomapped stages and designs, music videos, and multimedia sculptures for a variety of clients. With all of my experiences, I am positioned very nicely to act as a translator between the musician’s world and the realm of the visual artist. I speak both of these cultural languages fluently and love to share all of my experiences.”
“My goal in class is for students to dominate their instruments. I want them to be able to play the different styles we work on in class, such as such Latin jazz, Latin fusion, jazz, yoruba, oshun, osaín, Iyesa, mozambique, songo, comparsa, chachachá, pilón, son, guaracha, palo habanero, abakuá, and more. I also want them to learn how to share their playing with other musicians, whether those musicians are members of their own bands or in an orchestra.” “Related to all working with a variety of styles, the students develop and improve different skills such as rhythm, reading, improvisation, classical effects, and other fundamental knowledge to enter the professional field with confidence.” “It is very important for my students to be prepared not only musically but also psychologically, and to be ready to offer their best on stage. The work they do every day increases their creativity to a high degree, making them excellent professionals and, above all, great people doing something they enjoy.”
“The technological advances over the last few years have made digital recording platforms more affordable, bringing recording technology to the masses. There are not segments anymore to the process of making a record. Nowadays, because of DAWs, you can write, record, produce, and mix all at the same time.” “It’s very easy to fall into the trap of being so overwhelmed by software and plugins that you end up letting it dictate how you create music rather than the other way around. Mixing isn’t just about pushing buttons; it is about what is going on inside of you.” “In my teaching and professionaI experience, I have found that the most important thing is to trust your feelings and emotions. The more practice you get in trusting yourself, the better you will get and the better your mixes will sound. So I want to give my students the skills to be masters of the tools and not slaves to them. But ultimately I want to make the technology disappear to be in service of the process and the creative moment.”
“I have an individual approach to each student, and I try to offer them a safe environment to feel comfortable and free to explore and learn. My goal is to help my students find their own voice, their uniqueness, and give them tools in order to manage as a musician in the professional world. After 30 years in my musical career, I try to teach what I think is most important for a vocalist.” “A musical piece, a song, can be approached from different perspectives: lyrics, melody, rhythm, harmony. For a singer it’s very important to work on all of them but we have to emphasize the importance of ‘telling’ the lyrics, telling the story, the commitment with the emotional flow of the composition, the importance of intention and attitude.” “We work on vocal technique and on rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic ear training exercises. I want them to understand what’s going on underneath the melody. A singer should understand all the layers that support the melody and not only care about the leading line. That will allow them to move freely inside a song, to improvise, to hear and sing vocal harmonies, and to develop their own version and arrangement.”
“In addition to music, teaching and education have always been passions of mine. I remember the first class I taught: a one-day pre-calculus class while I was still in high school. I felt that I had the ability to make complex concepts accessible, even to a classroom full of a very diverse group of students. That class was a success, and I’ve been teaching ever since.” “I feel extremely fortunate that I am able to fuse two of my passions – music and education – at Berklee’s Valencia campus, where I have worked and taught since 2013. In the classroom, I work to make music technology accessible to all, recognizing that these tools can also lead to unexpected creative breakthroughs. There are some facets of technology that all students – soon to be professionals – must understand. However, these technology tools can also be used creatively, and it is our students’ explorations and experimentations with them that will continue to propel the music industry forward for many years to come.”
“In my classes I teach the technology that is most commonly used in the industry today. Technology is really just a a medium to make the creative process easier. Technology helps facilitate creativity, but the inspiration for creativity is highly influenced by you and by your environment. As a Berklee undergraduate, I was really influenced by the creativity on the Boston campus, and I get the same feeling on the Valencia campus now as a faculty member.” “So, technology is not the most important thing. The most important is that students have the tools to become active thinkers, and that in the end, they become their own teachers and construct their own learning experience. My goal in the classroom is to help plant seeds of curiosity so that students have the passion and drive to continue the lifelong journey of learning.”
“Creativity was always central to how I learned music, and it’s central to how I teach. Creative problem-solving is the best way to describe it and it’s led me to investigate a variety of paths as part of becoming a musician—from creative instrument design by looking at the instrument as a user interface, to unique right hand solutions, to fingerboard harmony concepts that exploit the symmetry of the fingerboard, and a wide range of other directions that have all contributed to my experience. “I basically want my students to learn how to teach themselves. Technology and a musician’s role in society is changing so rapidly that mastering a single set of skills is no longer enough to prepare for a constantly evolving future. “My experience was that although I went to music schools, I never had an instrument teacher, so that forced me take a very direct approach to solving problems and learning that I believe I wouldn’t have adopted had I learned the instrument in a traditional setting.”
“Teaching physics topics like acoustics to musicians is a challenge for both parts, students and teachers. My main objective is that my students will achieve a better understanding of the nature of sound and our hearing mechanism, and all this knowledge will help them in their compositions, mixing, and editing. Also this will help them in having a better relationship with their instruments, the audio equipment, and the rooms where they practice or perform. I prefer going deeper in the concepts, just viewing the math as a tool and not as a drawback.” “My opinion is that we really learn by our self-experimentation, and that is why I try to do as many experiments in class as I can. All the students can have a direct experimentation of acoustics effects and wave behaviors. I want them to see the waves and have an immediate prediction of acoustic effects.” “I enjoy having a close relationship with my students, offering them my support in software, electronics, and—why not—in life.”
“As a harmony teacher, I believe it is important for the student to get not just the theory behind chords, scales, and all the technical matter related to the subject, I think is crucial to get familiar with real music as much as possible, where you can find these concepts applied. In my classes I try to illustrate every harmonic idea with music taken from actual recordings in a variety of styles, be it jazz, rock, pop, and lots of Latin American music as well. I try to bring different musical visions to enrich my students with a broader scope stylistically.” “In order to help the students with their work, I’ve written lots of supplementary material, mostly done through transcribing. And that leads us to the importance of ear training, another subject I teach at Berklee, and one I feel very passionate about. In class we spend a lot of time listening to and transcribing bass lines and harmonic progressions from records, and fine tuning writing skills to accurately represent on paper the sounds we are listening to. Singing, reading, transcribing, performing, actively listening, and having fun while doing it—that is basically what I strive for in my classes.”
“My philosophy in life is that you need first to know who you are, where are your talents and your skills lie, and to know your niche market. Then visualize your goal and never lose faith that one day it will happen. If perhaps it’s not happening, it’s either because you are looking at the wrong direction based on who and what you are or because you didn’t water the seed long enough to see the flower blossom.” “It’s essential for me to give a personalized teaching method, based on each personality and learning ability, as we are all different beings. My job is to help the students to discover where their skills are and how to use them but also to help them to push their production level to a professional level. For me, having a good sense of psychology and pedagogy is essential to allow students to develop their potential and to grow up with time. Seeing students evolving in their technical and creative skills is my reward. It’s a job where you receive more than you give.” “In my classes the students will gain a solid ability and knowledge in music sequencing and production. They will be able to express their creativity, discover their talents, and gain a sense of organization and professionalism in their work.” “In my opinion, Berklee is a unique school that unifies knowledge from the past; talented teachers with a lot of experience; and the latest technology, tools, and infrastructure. But also Berklee creates a unique international context of creativity and talent for students coming from the whole world.”
“I believe in a strong technical foundation in order to have command over the instrument because with that command comes the ease to take control and express oneself freely. I also like problem solving and always trying to come up with better and more efficient ways of practicing. Using these tools, I can tailor my methods to the individual student depending on how they learn.” “For my students who come from a solid classical background, I help them utilize the skills that they already have and help them use the violin technique that they already know to ‘cross over’ to other genres. Through my own crossover from extensive classical training to jazz to the subgenre of Latin jazz, I can relate to many string players and give them the tools to play in many styles outside classical violin. For other students with a less technical foundation, I help them improve the quality of their sound, develop the bow arm, strengthen the left hand, and work on playing with excellent intonation.” “I always try to implement the most direct, effective, and time-efficient way of getting things in your ears and fingers. I want my students to leave my class knowing how to practice so they can always continue to improve on their own, having a stronger ear, more confidence, and better preparation to face real-life situations like being in the recording studio, performing on stage, or teaching all kinds of students.”
“My students learn how to play records, how to scratch them, and how to program music, and they also study the history of dance music focusing on New York, Chicago, and Detroit, Michigan. In the advanced course, I teach sampling and beatmaking. I always try to have them learn the most regardless of the level that they start from, teaching from my own experience behind the decks and giving them precise tools so that each of them is able to develop their own style as DJs.” “As an active DJ and producer, the most important thing to me is practice, so I keep them practicing from the first to the last day of class until they learn every secret behind their new instruments: the turntables, mixer, sampler, and drum machine.”
“I want my students, young people with high expectations, to enjoy the same experience that I’ve lived in my growth as a musician. I believe that happiness and effectiveness in the progress of a student is not caused by the student’s musical level but by the direction and speed of his or her educational experiences. So the secret of happiness and motivation is not a point of musical level: it is the slope in which the student is advancing.” “When I’m teaching composition or any related subject, I am looking especially at motivation and involvement of each member of the class, however large it may be, and however high the musical level we are talking about, either in tonal harmony or orchestral composition. My deep involvement in the class has to be exactly the same with each one of our students. Each student is a new world, and I have to discover it.”
“It is remarkable to realize to what extent the music industry has become a dinner-table topic. Everybody seems to have an explanation for the collapse of the music industry, and, more importantly, a recipe to succeed in today’s music market:
- ‘The major labels got it all wrong and they are on the verge of extinction.’
- ‘Independent artists do not need them anymore, nor do they need music publishers, PROs, or any other middlemen.’
- ‘It’s just about embracing technology, being free and open, plugging into every social network, doing all kinds of creative things, and having snazzy t-shirts.’
- ‘It’s all about “thinking outside the box”.’
“We, as musicians, are not aware of how profound our music may get, how many hearts shall be touched, and all without notice.” “Through my enthusiasm and passion for excellence I am fully committed to doing everything that I can to help students become better musicians and to help them ensure that they really grow as artists. I want my students to know that being an ‘artist’ means to be looking, to get deeply involved with whatever their musical goal is.” “I am aware that a teacher may have a tremendous impact on the way students play and write, on the way they feel and hear, and through our music they may find the link to all wisdom. I want to help them establish a wonderful connection from their innermost self to their instrument, which is actually what playing with love is about.” “Everyone’s music requires a continual musical exploration and commitment to self-expression that has to be an integral part of the playing and composition process. “I would like them to get to the point where everyone playing or listening to something by them will be able to think in terms of knowing themselves better.” “Words such as curiosity, autonomy, spontaneity, and decision-making should become part of their vocabulary and we, as teachers, should provide them with all the required tools, assuming that they have to become independent and unique.”
Ben Cantil (aka Encanti) is a music producer, synthesist, sound designer, performer, DJ, VJ, and electronic music teacher. As a pro synthesist, Encanti has worked on projects with noteable companies Ableton, Cakewalk, Izotope, Source Audio, and Keith McMillen Instruments. Encanti has also worked on visual shows for EOTO and Shpongle, as well as having performed as a member of Shpongle Live‘s USA Ensemble. In the A/V duo Zebbler Encanti Experience, Encanti takes a novel approach to producing and performing electronic dance music, trademaked by combining heavy experimental dubstep with mind-bending synchronized visual accompaniment by VJ Zebbler.