Unstoppable Stories: Meet Luisa

Our Unstoppable Stories celebrate the spirit of moving forward, finding positives even in the negatives, and never tiring of experiencing interesting things. We’ve found that when you’re comfortable, you can focus on what matters. When you feel good, you always put your best foot forward because:  

When you’re comfortable, you’re unstoppable.

Get inspired by our stories of real people who have that unstoppable kind of spirit, and submit your own story here.

Meet Luisa Cartagena, freelance flutist and music educator. Learn more about her story, her passion for music, and what makes her unstoppable.

A native of Puerto Rico, Luisa Cartagena is a freelance flutist and music educator currently based in Los Angeles, CA. Known for her versatility of styles and passionate advocacy for music education, Luisa performs regularly with various chamber groups in the area, runs her private flute studio, and serves as Band Director of the St. James Episcopal School. As an ambassador of her instrument, she is involved with the Los Angeles Flute Guild participating as guest performer and teacher for their various masterclasses and events. She has also served as adjudicator for various flute competitions including the San Diego Flute Guild Spring Festival among others. To learn more about Luisa and what makes her unstoppable, visit http://www.luisacartagena.com/ and continue reading to hear Luisa, in her own words.


Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Luisa Cartagena.  I am the band director of the St. James Episcopal School here in Los Angeles, a flutist and I freelance around Los Angeles. I play with a variety of ensembles and I play with a trio. We call ourselves TrioLA and we play at private events and weddings. I also play flute in a salsa band. We play all around Los Angeles in salsa clubs, private events and weddings. I have a private studio where I teach private lessons to flute players.


When did you start playing the Flute?

I started playing the flute when I was 11 years old. I started learning music by singing and I sang in a choir. They needed flute players to accompany the choir, so I learned how to play the flute.


What do you love about teaching?

What I love about teaching is the fact that my students come to me to learn about music and to learn how to play different instruments. They start by knowing absolutely nothing to learning how to play different songs, scales and those kinds of things. It’s really rewarding to see them learn and grow not just as musicians, but as people. The students really form a special bond. They are learning at the same rate so they are going through the same experiences with not only their instrument, but with each other. It makes for a really collaborative environment.


Who do you teach?

I teach different groups of band. I have a beginner band, an advanced band and I teach recorder at the school. Recorder is kind of the precursor to band for 2nd and 3rd graders.


What makes for a great teacher?

I think it’s important to not only focus on teaching concepts methods. Teaching is more about being truly passionate about what you are teaching and then translating that to your students. When I was growing up, I had amazing teachers and I remember their passion for what they taught the most. I want to be that for my students.


How do you feel when your students perform?

When my students do a recital or concert, I’m probably just as nervous or even more nervous than them because I want them to do really well. We’ve worked so hard for so long for this moment. When we actually do get to play a concert or recital, it’s an amazing feeling because all of our hard work is put out there for the parents to enjoy.


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