After being part of the Applied Music Program at Cerritos College for two semesters, music major John Eric Santamaria is surprised about how much he’s progressed playing the classical guitar in that amount of time.
The Applied Music Program allows music majors to have private music lessons from instructors.
Santamaria’s private teacher is guitar instructor David Isaacs.
“Isaacs has helped me with a lot… with (guitar) technique and how to express music more, ” Santamaria said.
A person playing the classical guitar has to be positioned in proper stance. One has to have a foot stand and sit up straight in order to position the classical guitar in its proper place.
“At first I felt kind of funny. My back (sort of) hurt… (after doing it properly) the pain went away, ” Santamaria commented.
This classical guitarist didn’t start off as a music major.
After moving from the Philippines to study in the United States to study. Santamaria first wanted to be part of the Culinary Arts Program at Cerritos College. But after realizing all the materials that he needed for the program, Santamaria decided not to proceed.
Instead, he realized what his passion really was.
“I found my love for music (in the music department). I heard (it) had a great music program,” Santamaria said.
The classical guitarist is also part of the Cerritos College Guitar Ensemble, he writes his own solo compositions and writes duet compositions with music education major Javier Castillo.
“I like composing with (Santamaria) very much. He’s a very talented guy whose unbridled enthusiasm I find to be inspiring when forming ideas,” Castillo said.
He and Santamaria both performed together in the recent opening of the Student Art Exhibition for two hours as a duet playing classical guitar.
“It was pretty cool (to be able to play there). We had people tell us that we sounded good,” Santamaria said.
Making his decision of becoming a music major was something his mother did no favor.
“She was against it at first,” Santamaria said. That didn’t make him change his mind and pick out another major.
The first time Santamaria picked up a guitar was in the sixth grade.
“I was in my first band when I was a junior (in high school),” Santamaria said. He also mentioned that he plays guitar with different people.
Apart from playing music at school, Santamaria is currently a guitarist in two bands.
Two years ago Santamaria grouped Midday Knights but made the band official last April when it had a drummer in the line up. Having a temporary name, Santamaria is also associated with the band Weird Creatures.
He hopes his two bands will find their way in the professional world.
His dream of pursuing his career as a music major is to teach classical guitar to a young audience.
“With classical I want to be able to teach it to kids. Let them understand that music isn’t just some certain noise that you hear.
“Music is a story that somebody wrote … It’s part of your emotional expression,” Santamaria said.