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Spotlight on Alumni: Josinaldo Costa

Josinaldo Costa Got a Job: Congratulations Josinaldo!

Josinaldo Costa came to work with me for his MM in 2008 and graduated in 2010. He grew up in Brazil and came to the US as an undergrad (he worked with Elliot Frank at Eatern Carolina U). When he arrived in Akron, it was soon clear he possessed both a prodigious talent and a fine intellect. He succeeded brilliantly while at Akron, winning first prize in the Stroud Guitar Competition and racking up some teaching hours as my GTA. 
I asked him for an update on his new situation and for any thoughts on his Akron experience and what followed. Here are his words:

"I was in Akron from the Fall of 2008 to Spring of 2010. It's difficult to be brief about Akron, it was such an important time for me, especially as I look back with the benefit of hindsight.
In a brief and increasing order of importance I could list:
- Coming from Brazil, the accessibility to materials was a huge deal for me, all the library resources, the great collection of recordings and scores.
- The history/theory classes with Toliver and Resanovic were very important as well, they prepared well for doctoral work.
- Lessons with you! When I arrived there, I remember having a lot of motivation and energy, but also a certain lack of direction. I also had many preconceived ideas that were keeping me from moving forward. Although I felt conflicted at the time, the focus on the basics of musicianship (however without overlooking interpretation) that I got from you was exactly what I needed. I catch myself many times remembering a lesson or short comment during studio class and finally understanding it. I don't think I would have moved forward this far if I didn't have this experience.

Costa during his MM recital at U Akron

--The Stroud Competition. The Stroud scholarship and the trip to Germany that it made possible (the Iserlohn Guitar Festival) had some very interesting consequences. One day last Fall I got a random call from Will Douglas, whom I met there briefly, and he invited me to perform for the Guitar Fort Worth series. I also received a generous offer from Tom Johnson for doctoral work that significantly raised my aid at Eastman as well. While in Germany  I also met guitarist Duane Large, with whom I'm starting a duo. He has a great collection of historical instruments, and we're now preparing a program of seldom-performed 19th century guitar, terz-guitar and mandolin repertoire.

The Stroud Competition 2009: Josinaldo Costa, 1st, Adam Keeler, 2nd and Yuting Wu, 3rd. 

I am currently ABD on the DMA (from Eastman). I'm planning on graduating next Spring. My lecture will be on understanding the idiom of instrumental music in the late Baroque, with a focus on Bach. I'm considering paraphrasing one of my sources and title it "How not to leave your guitar empty".

The new job is at Servite High School, a private catholic school in Anaheim, CA. It's a full time program of just classical guitar. I have 40 students separated into 4 different years. The first year are complete beginners; year 4 students are quite experienced; some are prize winners in regional competitions and so on.

Josinaldo teaching at Servite High School

I teach them mostly in a classroom setting, with a focus on ensemble playing. But I also just got the administration to approve the teaching of a select group of students in private lessons, preparing them for the RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) examinations later in the Spring. I think this brings some legitimacy to the program, looks especially good on their college applications, etc.

I am planning on having guest artists coming frequently to campus, perhaps every other month, so that the program can gain some visibility within this very active guitar scene in the region, as well as nationally. I actually just confirmed with the American Strings Teacher's Association that I will present during their next convention on the topic of high school classical guitar curriculum, with a focus on my first year experience here."

Thanks, Josinaldo for this recollection and description of your current, very exciting new challenge, and best of luck there!

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