Diego De Jesus Mondragon
Have you ever felt a conflict by trying to satisfy the desires of another rather than pursuing your underlying passion? Many young adults are at conflict in attempting to satisfy the desires of parents rather than continue their passions. "Should I become a doctor, teacher, or musician"? Diego de Jesus Mondragon realized that yes, any dream could be achieved. Mondragon practices as a school psychologist and teaches while pursuing his underlying passion for music.
Born in Mexico City and raised in California from age five, Mondragon is genuinely bicultural, yet he has a deep respect and value for his Mexican, French and Spanish heritage. At age seven he was taught by a strict father; his first teacher in the study of violin whom was also an acclaimed violinist with the Magic Violins of Villa Fontana that toured the Americas before joining the San Diego symphony where he performed for 23 years.
Classically trained, Mondragon played his first solo violin concerto at age 10 and later became the first chair in the South Bay Youth Orchestra in San Diego. At age 15, he was offered a full scholarship to the Royal British Conservatory in England. Experiencing many stereotypical difficulties that many young adults face, he had a falling out with his strict father and left home at age 15 wanting nothing more to do with the violin.
After leaving home and living with relatives in Mexico, Mondragon returned home and joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he earned his high school and college diplomas. Unable to find work in the field of aviation after serving eight years in the Marine Corps, Mondragon returned to the violin and started working on a bachelor's degree in string pedagogy. He also began working as a second language English instructor in Spring Valley California where a mentor suggested he look into becoming a high school counselor due to his background and ability to connect with young students. Mondragon advanced further and became a school psychologist.
Mondragon's accomplishments did not end there. While giving string lessons to help pay for his master's degree program, he discovered jazz violin. His early influences were Herb Albert, Jean-Luc Ponty, Joe Venuti, Stephen Grappelli, and Didier Lockwood.
Mondragon has played for presidents Ronald Regan and Roberto de La Madrid of Mexico. He has performed in venues in Cuba, Paris, Barcelona, England, Italy, and Japan. Today, with a new CD out, "Corazon de Mondragon," eight original compositions which he describes as a mixture of acoustic-jazz, Latin-Jazz, flamenco and romance, his band plays in significant events throughout California and abroad.
As a performer, Mondragon believes; "music can inevitably tap the still, mysterious deep well of our emotions. Music can recreate emotions and get the listeners involved with the performer's emotions. Listeners are emotional while listening to that music and often we hear them say "this is my song" and feel that special emotion each time they hear the song. Music is created from the heart and molded by emotion. As musicians, we are inherently creative, and we can derive intense pleasure from a particular piece of music which we listen to or produce. All such works of art are the result of an inner urge. That is why music is inherently beautiful. It prepares the soul for something higher."
Mondragon combines his passion for music with his profession as a school psychologist. He uses music and visualization to help his students deal with the difficulties many young adults face; "having dealt with a lot of these same pains and struggles, I know and understand where they are coming from."
Mondragon is passionate about empowering students to pursue any profession or desired goal, providing advice on career choices and balancing them with personal choices while instilling confidence and motivation which helps to highlight and tackle the alarming dropout rate of students.
Many people look outward for solutions to life; spiritual people go within and meditate for guidance. Mondragon practices meditation daily, and his spirituality is evident in his ongoing passion and commitment to music and people. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Holistic Health Science, to fulfill his ultimate dream, which is to build a rehabilitation center in Puerto Vallarta Mexico that will help children and adults return to a state of health and wellness and reach their full potential.