Tango for Musicians at Reed College

A Unique Curriculum

Tango for Musicians at Reed College features an exciting curriculum designed to maximize student learning, offering intensive hands-on training covering all aspects of tango music, including:

  • Instrumental techniques classes
  • Arranging and composition classes
  • Two large orquestas típicas
  • Specialized masterclasses
  • Concerts and jam sessions

Each student should choose a track to join:

  • Musician's Track
  • Arrangers & Composers Track

2022 Schedule

View the schedule here.


The Program

The Tango for Musicians at Reed College program features a rigorous curriculum designed to maximize student learning within and across many activities.

For our 2022 edition, two different tracks will be offered, focusing on specific aspects of tango music:

  • Musicians Track
  • Arrangers & Composers Track

Participants will be able to choose the track of their interest at the time of registration. Each track will feature specific masterclasses every day (see below for more details).

Registration for all tracks includes:

  • Join all masterclasses.
  • Join one of the two orquestas típicas in ensemble sessions.
  • Join jam sessions, concerts, milongas, and more!


These masterclasses will be offered by the artistic faculty on a wide variety of topics. Students will be able to choose freely among these masterclasses on a day-to-day basis. These masterclasses will allow students at all levels of experience to get the most out of our program. These 90-minute masterclasses will feature workshops focused on:

  • Parrilla (tango improvisation)
  • Tango styles
  • Tango history
  • Transcription and analysis
  • Tango fundamentals
  • Musician´s tools

2022 full schedule coming soon!


Student ensembles will be organized into orquestas típicas (tango big bands). 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.

Parts will be sent two months in advance.

Musicians Track

The Musicians Track curriculum includes:

  • Instrumental technique classes
  • Student ensembles
  • Specialized masterclasses

Previous experience with tango is not necessary or expected, though technical proficiency on the instrument and the ability to read music are required for this track.


Instrumental technique classes will be organized into two groups based on technical proficiency and previous experience with tango. Changes in group assignments will be subject to the discretion of the leveling team and the artistic faculty. 

All the pedagogical materials will be sent to registered participants two months in advance, providing the chance to thoroughly prepare before arriving on campus in June (see TEACHING MATERIALS below).

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

  • Playing and creating rhythmic and expressive tango melodies
  • 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
  • Typical resources for playing tango “a la parrilla” (with improvised arrangements)
  • Ornamentation
  • Extended techniques and tango’s famous percussive effects

Arrangers & Composers Track

The Arrangers & Composers track is aimed at arrangers who want to learn how to create or orchestrate tango arrangements, and also at advanced arrangers or composers who want to experiment within the tango genre and the Argentine musical tradition. No previous compositional experience with tango is necessary.

The Arrangers & Composers Track will be divided into two groups. The curriculum will feature a special lesson plan which will include:

  • Rehearsals for the entire week with the Redwood Tango Ensemble performing the arrangers’ and composers’ pieces
  • One-on-one lessons with the composition faculty
  • Masterclasses covering the fundamental tools on the writing and appreciation of tango music 
  • The week-long curriculum will culminate in a concert program featuring original arrangements and compositions by the participating arrangers and composers. Works to be showcased will be subject to the discretion of the artistic faculty. 

Those who attend the Arrangers & Composers Track will have access to the full program of activities and concerts that are part of the larger Tango for Musicians at Reed College event.


Arrangers and composers who already have some arrangements or compositions prepared will be asked to provide:

  • A link to a PDF file of the full score 
  • A link to an audio rendition of the piece 

This material will be gathered in order to organize the groups for the week but is not a compulsory requirement. Arrangers with no experience are welcome, although these fundamental tools are necessary: 

  • Basic knowledge of harmony functions
  • Basic knowledge of a harmonic instrument
  • A personal laptop for the music-writing work of the week
  • Basic knowledge of a music editing program such as Sibelius, Finale, Musescore

Arrangers & Composers Track daily schedule:

  • 9:00-11:00 a.m. - Private lessons / instrumental techniques masterclasses
  • 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Arranging and composition classes
  • 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. - Ensemble
  • 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. - Private lessons / afternoon masterclasses

Every arranger and composer will have access to:

  • Five arranging / composition classes
  • Two private lessons with the artistic faculty
  • Four sessions with Redwood Tango Ensemble as a host to try music arrangements and compositions
  • Join instrumental techniques classes the days you are free from private lessons
  • Join afternoon masterclasses the days you are free from private lessons

Pre-Formed Ensembles

For the 2022 edition, pre-formed ensembles for which all members are registered will have access to one special coaching session free of charge. In this session, the pre-formed ensemble will work on their own arrangements with one of the artistic faculty. During the workshop’s regular daily ensemble class, all members will be assigned to one of the two orquestas típicas.

Also, as a new feature, pre-formed ensembles will have the chance to showcase their repertory during evening sessions that will be open to the community.

If you would like to register a pre-formed ensemble, please send an email to communication@tangosinfin.org.ar to let us know who will be the main contact for the group in order to set up the coaching session and other details.

A pre-formed ensemble can access the free coaching session with their own repertoire under the following conditions:

  • The group must have at least three members.
  • All members of the group must register for the workshop.
  • If the group can’t attend with its full line-up, the group must arrange their repertoire on their own so that it’s ready to work on in the class with the artistic faculty.

Benefits include:

  • The ensemble will receive one free, private 40-minute session with a member of the artistic faculty team.
  • All members of the ensemble can join one of the orquestas tipicas during the regular daily ensemble time.
  • The pre-formed ensemble can present some of the pieces worked on with the artistic faculty in the Tango in the Afternoon concerts.