About Maria

classes-2As a child I was captivated by the sound of a Spanish guitar.  In Colombian homes in the Andes mountains, it was common to hear guitars and other traditional string instruments at every celebration.  I fell in love with a very beautiful, artesian, truly hard to play Spanish guitar before I was able to talk or walk. My parents were not musicians but we used to sing popular music at home — my older sister would sing and I would accompany her. I was so taken by the sound of those chords!  Every time I learned a new one I ran through the neighborhood with the guitar so my friends could hear it.  They were very amused.

I didn’t start formal studies in music until I was in my last year of high school. I had the fortune to study with the late Colombian Maestro, Ramiro Isaza Mejía. He opened doors of pure joy and magic for me. The guitar music I heard allowed me to imagine amazing worlds. There is something  mysterious, new, and intoxicating in the  experience of being moved by music. Those instances of profound inspiration have defined the different paths I’ve taken in this life; they are now, more than ever, the source of my courage.

I came to the United States in hopes of deepening my musical path. I finished a Master’s degree in guitar performance, and moved to Minneapolis, MN where I performed and taught for many years. Later I moved to Corvallis where I had a thriving guitar studio.

about-maria-olayaFor practical reasons, I spent many years teaching Spanish and Literature in colleges and universities, though I never abandoned my music or my guitar teaching. Recently I realized I needed to dedicate and focus the rest of my life to teaching guitar music and performance, so last year I left a secure academic job to do just that.

For me, music has always been a means for genuine connection with others, a  means to experience transcendence and connect to our humanness.  I feel a deep sense of purpose helping other people find their own journey of inspiration and joy through music, and that desire fuels my creativity in regards to teaching.

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Copyright © 2017 Maria Olaya