March 14

Ep. 17 – The evolution of music teacher identity: from Ecuador to the UAE w/ Jefferson Aranda


Jefferson Aranda (Jeff) is an Ecuadorian national currently teaching music in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Jeff spent most of his teens navigating the social and cultural stigma of pursuing a career in music and music education in Ecuador. Through a series of life-changing events, Jeff found his place teaching music in international schools in Ecuador before moving to the UAE. 

In this episode, we explore:

  • Cultural perspectives and taboos towards music and music education in the context of Ecuador.
  • Jeff's journey to international school music teaching, navigating economic and social barriers on his way.
  • The influence of music education mentors throughout Jeff's life.
  • The reasons why Jeff has pursued a career teaching music in an international school outside of his home country.
  • How each of us carries cultural and musical identities that influence how and what we teach.
  • The way music teachers can leverage diverse student language backgrounds when accessing music technologies, especially DAW's.

This episode diverges slightly from the usual format by focusing specifically on Jeff's personal story throughout. It is hoped that by reflecting on Jeff's story, we all might reflect on how our own stories have influenced the evolution of our identities as music educators in international schools. Enjoy!


Get in touch with Jeff:



Links to other content referenced in this episode:

Colegio Menor, Quito:

Jeff Tollefson:

Soundtrap For Education:

Subscribe to the podcast newsletter!

You'll get an email every two weeks with the latest episode, links to a PD opportunity, and links to a music teaching resource that I've come across! Short and sweet - direct to you.


cultural diversity, identity, Music Technology