New book about the experiences of a Dutch trombone player in Puerto Rico


A post by Peter Jordens.

Poco a poco: Verhalen uit Puerto Rico over muzikale, culturele en spirituele groei [Little by Little: Stories from Puerto Rico about Musical, Cultural and Spiritual Growth] (Totemboek, July 2016, ISBN 978-94-9168-3244, 196 pages) is a new book in Dutch in which trombone player May Peters reflects on her experiences as a musician in Puerto Rico.

May Peters (born in Berkelaar-Echt, the Netherlands, in 1965) first went to Puerto Rico in 1994 to study salsa music. Since, she has come to see this Caribbean island as her second homeland. There she eagerly immerses herself in the rich Afro-Caribbean music and culture of the island and develops her artistic and educational skills in all possible ways. In everything she does, she seeks growth ― musically, culturally and personally. In this new book, Peters describes how she experiences the Puerto Rican society and what impact it has on her growth as a musician and person.

Peters grew up with music. As a five-year-old she started with a recorder flute, when she was ten years old she was allowed to play the horn, and since the age of fourteen the trombone has been her instrument. This led to studies at the conservatory and a musical career which has taken her to 28 countries. She teaches at the Conservatorio de Artes del Caribe in San Juan and was previously a trombone instructor at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico. She has led several light music ensembles and gives jazz and Latin music clinics all over the world. She has played in several legendary Puerto Rican orchestras, such as La Sonora Ponceña. The Dutch press describes her as “a world citizen in search of a smile.” While the Puerto Rican press sees her as “an adopted Puerto Rican.” With her CD project Tributo en tambor y trombon en clave de mujer boricua (2013) she paid tribute to Puerto Rican women composers. Earlier she wrote ¡Música, Maestra! Brieven uit de Puerto Rico [Letters from Puerto Rico] (Totemboek, 2012).

In all the years that Peters has lived and worked on ‘La Isla del Encanto’ (the Island of Enchantment), the most important lesson that she has learned is: “You should do things poco a poco, little by little, that’s how you eventually accomplish the most.”

Sources: and

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