Greeted by a Classical Guitarist

Whenever you call the school, you are greeted by Magdalena Duhagon’s friendly, helpful voice. Magdalena has worked at FCS since April of 2019, and she provides essential support to all of us at the school. But what you may not know about her, is that she is an internationally acclaimed classical guitarist. 

Magdalena was born in Uruguay where she learned to play guitar and other instruments from a young age. She was active in several youth orchestras growing up. You can read her full biography here, which details her international performances, extensive teaching career, and myriad creative collaborations. 

Her accomplishments have recently been documented in Cuentos De Buenas Noches Para Niñas Rebeldes - an Uruguayan volume of the popular “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” series. She found out about the publication from a friend who found the book in a bookstore and was excited to share it with her daughter. “I was honored, especially with this being a book specifically for girls - dreaming about doing things that you don’t know that you can do.” (Magdalena was 13 the first time she had a female guitar teacher.) “The idea that other kids can be inspired by my story is a little mindblowing to me.” 

Magdalena plays a wide range of music but says, “There is a strong presence of Latin American representation in the pieces I choose because I’m Latin American.” Some composers whose music she likes include Agustin Barrios, Astor Piazzolla, Esteban Klisich - with whom she studied, and Eddie Matus - a composer and violin maker who also happens to be her husband. 

In addition to playing the guitar, she has been a teacher of the instrument since she was 22. “I always knew I wanted to teach and in Uruguay, our music school did not have a program in education so when I came to the U.S. for graduate school I did my Master’s with an emphasis in pedagogy.” Magdalena has taught all ages, starting with students as young as seven. 

“I think music is one of the few areas that develop a lot of things in our bodies at the same time. You work with logic, emotions, structures, language, and motor skills. When you are making music, there are probably more things involved in your brain and in your emotions than with any other activity.”

Magdalena came to FCS because the philosophy of the school matches her own and the schedule allows her more time to be with her young son and to practice her own music-making. She will be sharing her guitar playing with the Lower School in a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in October. For those of us who won’t be able to see her perform in person, you can watch and listen to her play in these videos and find her albums on her website and on Spotify. 
Located in College Park, MD, Friends Community School is a progressive Quaker K-8 day school, founded on the belief that every child is a valued member of our community. We offer a challenging curriculum imbued with strong values of equality, integrity, community, environmental stewardship, simplicity and peaceful conflict resolution, rooted in our Quaker heritage.
Friends Community School
5901 Westchester Park Drive
College Park, Maryland 20740