My name is Matias Zlotogwiazda, and I have been working as a music educator and a composing, performing musician for over 10 years. On this ongoing journey, I have experienced that music is not only a satisfaction for our souls; it unites and empowers us as individuals and members of communities. Music that is created collaboratively has a unifying effect on people with different backgrounds, and I have harnessed this to overcome conflicts between individuals (such as those between my high school students) and in an attempt to break invisible social barriers on a larger scale. This is because I believe my work for a better society goes further than just the classroom.
My work as a MIMA Music Teaching Artist (a NGO focused on building community through group songwriting experiences) has taken me to the edge of the society, to the slums of Brasil, to the homeless institutions of Buenos Aires, and to the reformatory schools of New York City, where I have met wonderful kids with different kinds of needs. Every experience has been unique, but my approach has always been the same: to recognize and appreciate “the other” and to connect with him or her through the music. Several of these projects have resulted in the making and recording of several songs and music videos. My work for MIMA has also given me the opportunity to lead different kinds of programs in Argentina and in other countries such as the United States, Spain, Egypt (where the photo above was taken), and Cyprus.
As a tango guitarist, I feel a deep respect for the music that is played in disadvantaged communities. I suspect this is because the tango, which today is considered by many a form of “sophisticated music”, was also born in the poorest parts of Buenos Aires. In all of these places, I have worked—and played—with students and musicians from other cultures and with different experiences. All this has been a very enriching and rewarding experience for me, both as a teacher and musician, but most of all as a human being.