If you’re looking for students in Teachers College’s Fall 2019 incoming class who truly exemplify the College’s commitment to lifelong learning, you can start with Camilo Suárez-Sánchez.

That would be Professor Camilo Suárez-Sánchez, a full-time faculty member at the Universidad Sergio Arboleda School of Arts and Music in Bogotá, Colombia, who is pursuing a master’s degree from the TC Music & Music Education Hybrid Program.

“I’m going to apply what we’re talking about in my own classes,” says Suárez-Sánchez, a master of both the stand-up bass and Baby Bass (a Salsa instrument).

I really feel like this program was custom made for me. I'm making better decisions by approaching music education from a critical point of view.

—Camilo Suárez-Sánchez

He doesn’t mean “some day” or even “soon.” Suárez-Sánchez completed the introductory Music Ed courses at TC during the summer term, hopped on a plane in mid-August and reported immediately to Sergio Arboleda – where the 2019-20 academic calendar was already underway. He will continue his TC studies online between September and June before returning to Morningside Heights classrooms next summer.   

In fact, even earlier, the Sergio Arboleda students received their first long distance lesson this summer when their professor live-streamed a virtual tour of the TC campus from New York, including cameo appearances by his music ed classmates and faculty.

Suárez-Sánchez majored in literature and humanities as an undergrad, but it’s hardly a surprise that, as an accomplished player since childhood, he’s ended up teaching music – and burnishing his chops at TC. The College popped onto his radar a few years ago when an alumnus of the Music & Music Education program worked with Sergio Arboleda students as part of a contingent of emissaries from New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center program. Everything Suárez-Sánchez learned about the program made it seem a natural fit.

“I really feel this program was custom-made for me,” he says. The hotbed of music that is New York City has already delivered extracurricular lessons at the Blue Note and Iridium jazz and salsa clubs across Harlem. “And the way the program is structured I can study at TC in the summer and keep my job in Colombia during the year. And using everything I’m learning in New York in my own classes is a big plus.”

Indeed, his one semester at TC has already changed the way Suárez-Sánchez teaches. “I’m making better decisions by approaching music education from a critical point of view.”  

And the lessons – for both the professor and his students – are just beginning.