Teaching Artists

HECTOR MORALES – Afro-Peruvian Percussion & Latin Jazz

Meet Hector:

During my teen years in Lima, Peru, I became familiar with jazz music and fell in love with it. The great jazz drummers became my idols. Soon it became my dream to come to the Untied States and learn jazz. I wanted to speak two musical languages born out of the same mother tongue, Afro-Peruvian and jazz. In 1999, I arrived in New York with all my clothes stuffed inside my cajón drum. I enrolled at William Paterson University and studied jazz.

Native Peruvian music, the music of my people, has always been taught through oral tradition, from one generation to the next. I felt the need to make my native music accessible to all musicians from anywhere in the world, and so I decided to publish an instructional book and DVD on learning Peruvian percussion.

My passion for music and for sharing it opened many doors for me, especially in schools, where I wanted to share the story of my people’s music with young people. Since 2003, I have been teaching in NYC schools through wonderful arts organizations like City Lore. My approach to teaching is as a mediator, a bridge between cultures, between sounds: the drum set with its cymbals and marching drums speaking the sound of jazz and the cajón with its cutting highs and deep low wooden tones speaking the sounds of Afro-Peruvian music. What would they say to each other?

Hector’s Bio

Drummer and percussionist Hector Morales has combined live national and international performance for the past 13 years with his work as a teaching artist in the Tri-State area. He is the author of the The Afro-Peruvian Percussion Ensemble, an instructional book and DVD nominated “Best Educational Book of 2014” by Modern Drummer Magazine.As an educator, Hector was granted the “2015 Artist of the Year Award” by Young Audiences. His credits also include leading professional development workshops for music educators in conferences such as Face to Face and The New Jersey Music Educators State Conference. Hector has performed on international stages including Lincoln Center, the Smithsonian Folk Festival, The National Museum of Peru, the Society of Musicians and Composers of Chile, Festival du Monde Arabe de Montreal, and Jerusalem Music Festival, among others. He has also performed with distinguished musicians such as Grammy-winning bass players John Benitez and Oscar Stagnaro. Hector currently performs with influential ensembles in NYC’s Afro-Peruvian jazz scene, including Yuri Juarez’s group Afroperuano and The Afro-Peruvian Ensemble.

Hector’s Personal Work

Want to hear the sounds of Hector’s cajón drum? Want to catch him at his next concert? Check out Hector’s website here.

In the Classroom






For a sample of Hector’s teaching, check out our video here on Roots, Routes, & Rhythms, City Lore’s arts education program that engages students in investigating the roots of contemporary music and dance cultures in their boroughs and neighborhoods. 


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