James Castañeda, cello and violin, is a musician and educator with experience teaching music to people of all ages in private, classroom, and camp settings. He recently moved to Minneapolis from Washington, D.C., where he spent three years teaching general and instrumental music at a public elementary school in addition to private lessons.
While in Washington, James founded and instructed an orchestral strings program for 4th and 5th graders—the first of its kind in DC Public Schools. He also started an after-school choral program, taught general music to students with severe disabilities, and forged meaningful partnerships with community foundations and performing arts organizations. James was proud to see his students perform in their very first school-wide concerts, and later on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Born in Racine, Wisconsin, James studied Cello, Instrumental, and General Music Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an avid performer of a variety of musical styles and loves working with beginning strings students. In his teaching, James strives to create a safe, welcoming, and fun atmosphere that inspires creativity, responds to student needs, encourages a depth of understanding, and maintains high expectations for beautiful music making in a variety of styles.