There are a lot of different study techniques. Background music often works for me. Visiting Spain in 2008 introduced me to the music genre of Flamenco. I completed an immersion program with my school and traveled from Córdoba to Madrid, Segovia to Toledo, Málaga, Granada, and other parts of central and southern Spain. It was beautiful and a trip I will never forget.
We visited an intimate music spot one evening, where Gypsies (or “gitanos”) gather to perform Flamenco. Something about the performance stayed with me, and much later in 2014, I became an avid follower of the music genre. In February of that year I learned that the legendary Paco de Lucía had died. I was casually reading the BBC and learned that de Lucía was a famous Flamenco guitarist from Spain. Remarkably and shortly after reading the news, I became friends with a Spanish grad student in DC who knew about de Lucía and helped bring the news that I read, and history to life.
Just one month later in March, Flamenco greats visited and toured in DC to honor de Lucía’s legacy. My friend and I went to the performances. José Fernández Torres “Tomatito” performed with his son; Paloma Fantova and Antonio Canales (renowned dancers) also performed. From then on, I added Flamenco to my music playlists, took a class, and went to a performance of a local group in Philadelphia. Today one of my favorite groups is the “Gipsy Kings” – listened to them today. The music is full of fervor, syncopated rhythm, staccatos, fancy guitar work, and relentless singing from the depths of the soul.