Tango for Musicians and Composers at Reed College

A Unique Curriculum


Tango For Musicians at Reed College features a rigorous curriculum designed to maximize student learning within and across our many featured activities.

Tango for Musicians at Reed College offers an intensive week of hands-on training covering all aspects of tango music, including:

  • Instrumental techniques classes
  • Student ensembles
  • Specialized masterclasses
  • Concerts and milongas
  • Private lessons (individual or group)

Tango for Musicians 2017
Class Schedule

Time Class
9–11 a.m. Instrumental Class
11–11:15 a.m. break
11:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Morning Masterclass
12:30–2 p.m. lunch
2–4 p.m. Ensemble Classes
4–4:15 p.m. break
4:15–5:30 p.m. Afternoon Masterclass
5:30–6:30 p.m. dinner

Instrumental Techniques Classes

Tango for Musicians at Reed College is open to players of any instrument: woodwinds, strings, piano, bandoneon, guitar, and vocals, among others. Previous experience with tango is not necessary. You will get the most out of our program if you are proficient on your instrument and able to read music.

Instrumental techniques classes will be organized into two groups (A and B) based on technical proficiency and previous experience with tango. Students in group A will focus on developing practical approaches to tango using hands on materials designed specifically for their instrument. Students in group B will additionally be able to work on material from their own repertoire in masterclass settings.

All the pedagogical materials will be sent to registered participants by March 31, 2017, giving you the chance to thoroughly prepare before arriving on campus in June.

Themes to be covered in instrumental techniques classes and elsewhere in our program include:

  • Creating rhythmic melodies by recognizing and applying different types of accents.
  • Creating expressive melodies through the free interpretation of rhythmic values.
  • The construction and use of different tango time marking models, including marcato in 4, marcato in 2, síncopa a tierra, síncopa anticipada, yumba, and many others.
  • The construction and variation of bass lines, chordal accompaniment, and other resources for playing tango “a la parrilla” (with improvised arrangements).
  • Ornamentation
  • Extended techniques and creating tango’s famous percussive effects.
  • And many others!


For our 2017 edition, we will only accept pre-formed ensembles for groups which have at least four members. For more information on pre-formed ensembles registration, please visit the Registration page.

Student ensembles will be organized into Orquestas Típicas (tango big bands) or in smaller ensembles with mixed instrumentation (up to six people). We will also feature a dedicated guitar ensemble, an ensemble focused on vocal accompaniment, and a wind quartet.

Ensembles will rehearse for two hours each day with different members of our artistic faculty in rotation. This will give students in each ensemble the widest possible perspective on their repertoire and the challenges it poses for effective performance.

Ensembles will work with pre-arranged parts, and smaller ensembles will also have the chance to develop their own arrangements in the “a la parrilla” style.

As with our instrumental techniques classes, ensembles will be grouped according to different levels of experience.


We are offering morning and afternoon masterclasses on a variety of topics and issues. Students will be able to choose freely among these masterclasses on a day-to-day basis, though they are tiered toward beginning, intermediate, and advanced audiences. These masterclasses will allow students with all levels of experience to get the most out of our program. These hour and a half long masterclasses will feature focused workshops on:

  • Arranging
  • Composition
  • Tango Styles
  • Tango Improvisation
  • Lyrics and Vocal Interpretation
  • Transcription and Analysis
  • Tango Fundamentals
  • Tango Pedagogy
  • The History of Tango

Are you a beginning bandoneón player?

Tango For Musicians at Reed College will offer a special track for beginning bandoneón players. Under the direction of artistic faculty member Eva Wolff, author of “The Bandoneón in Tango,” and utilizing educational materials designed specifically for those who are still mastering this emblematic instrument, the beginning bandoneón track will focus on the fundamentals of instrumental technique, melodic phrasing and rhythmic articulation on the bandoneón, as well as sectional interaction and basic group performance. The beginning bandoneón track is open to any and all players of the instrument, regardless of previous experience.

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