Conversations with Katarina Ruvidic

Posted on January 25th, 2023 by shineuser

Katarina Ruvidic is a piano teacher with more than six years of experience, teaching all ages and levels, from beginners to advanced students. In her classes she presents various musical styles to keep even the smallest music students interested. Katarina provides the foundation for learning with individualised lesson plans. In addition, Katarina is a music therapist with two years of experience in developing music therapy knowledge with diverse patients.

What was the first thing that got you interested in music?

Since I can remember, I always listened to music at home. I loved to sing and
dance while I was discovering different musical styles that my parents introduced me too.

Who inspired you to make music?

In kindergarten, we had music classes, and I was always impressed with the teacher
when she was playing the piano. When I got home, I used to “play” the radiator, while imagining that it was a piano, singing, and giving music lessons to my parents. Then when I was six years old
I would dance while listening to my cousin play the piano, imagining that the movements I was creating an energy that was connecting with the music.

Where and how did you win your biggest prize?

My biggest prize was the laureate (overall winner) In the “Nikolai Rubinstein” contest in Paris, also in the international pianist contest “Davorin Jenko” in Serbia. But my favorite is from 2009, when I won a special award for the best sonata performance by F.J. Haydn at the “International Pianist Competition” in Serbia, where I was also the overall winner of the contest.

How would you describe your lessons?

I always adapt the musical classes and styles with respect to the person I am with working with. Carl Maria von Weber said “Music is the true universal language”, so it is a powerful tool that allows us to transmit and exchange energy, emotions, moods. It opens a new door for us, a new space where we are creating an atmosphere that allows us to feel free and in contact with the inner world of oneself.

Of your concerts, which one have you enjoyed the most and why?

The truth is that I always enjoy the moments when I give the concert, and each one is
special for me. But I remember that in one of my first concerts that I gave at the Academy
Serbia de Ciencias e Arte
, I felt very happy before giving the concert, because it was the first time all my family and friends were able to come.

What famous musicians do you admire?

It is a difficult question, because I admire each one. It’s not easy being a musician, it never has been. Musicians always had difficult times, their art was often not accepted. Dating back to
the Mozart era, or in the Stravinsky era when he performed his ballet and concert
orchestral “The Ritual of Spring”. People find it hard to accept new, innovative things, which
makes sense too, because when we’re used to certain types, everything that’s
new challenges our limits, we need time to get out of the bubble and digest it. So
I admire each musician and his music, because being a musician is a creative risk, equally a
vocation that should have no limits.

When did you find out that you wanted to be a music teacher?

When my sister turned two, I wanted to teach her to play the piano. From that
moment, the desire was born, and I always thought that one day all the knowledge and the
experience I have, all the tricks and wisdom received from the best masters, I want to share
with my future students.

What advice do you have for piano lovers who are starting to study the instrument?

Everyone deserves to have the opportunity to learn to play any instrument,
regardless of age and abilities. I always believe that when desire is what
guides us, everything can be learned. The learning process is very nice, although sometimes
it can be frustrating. You have to be persistent, believe and enjoy the process.

How do you think the internet has impacted on music teaching?

Lately I have been seeing the ads “How to learn to play piano in x days”. So I wonder, why did I go to school and learn to play the piano for 15 years, when could I do it in x days? Apart from this, I think the internet is offering us many good and significant things, especially now with the current situation, where the the internet makes it easier for us to continue giving classes online.

Do you think music can be good for people’s health?

“Music is the most direct art, it enters through the ear and goes to the heart.” Magdalena Martinez
Music is one of the main engines of feelings and reactions, due to the brain activity that it creates in people. Music reduces stress, and gives a feeling of tranquility that allows you to acquire the necessary comfort to be able to carry out various activities. It is proven that music has a direct influence on emotions and people’s moods. Plus it boosts learning, increases concentration,
and much more.

Can you explain Music Therapy a little?

If we are talking about music therapy, it is very important to distinguish it from music lessons, where you study an instrument. Music in this case, is used as a tool for therapy depending on the health diagnosis of the client or in specific areas for rehabilitation. The therapeutic objectives and methods are then organised according to the needs of the person receiving music therapy. Any activity with music becomes much more bearable and enjoyable.

Does music help improve the health and mood of people? Why?

Yes, music helps improve health and mood, this is scientifically proven. First, music releases dopamine, which stimulates the subcortical brain circuit in charge of generating responses on an emotional level. One more benefit is that music reduces stress, because it produces a series of chemicals in the brain that help achieve total relaxation and relieve tension, thus promoting calmer breathing and a feeling of well-being. When one is listening to some song that moves you, instantly you begin to sing, dance, laugh, and likewise, your mood (and motivation) are lifted in a very simple and natural way.

Katarina provides piano lessons for children, as well as music therapy sessions at the Shine Music School in Barcelona and online.

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Conversation with Andrea

Posted on October 1st, 2020 by shineuser

Andrea Neuenschwander specialises in teaching music to children. She teaches piano, guitar, singing, music therapy and musical awareness for children at the Shine School of Music in Barcelona. Andrea is a music therapist, and graduated from the University of Barcelona. She studied music in Lima-Peru with a focus on Song Composition. Andrea has 8 years of experience working in music schools, foundations and centres and since 2017 she has been teaching early musical stimulation courses for babies and parents.

What was the first thing that got you interested in music?

When I was little, I would go to my grandmother’s house every weekend, with my father and brothers. Upon entering her house, we noticed the strangeness in her gestures, she did not recognize us. My grandmother had a disease called Alzheimer’s. This disease is characterized by memory loss, drastic mood swings, and orientation problems. My grandmother had a very small keyboard at home, she would drink mates and then she would sit in front of it. I, in the amazement of listening to her and seeing how her fingers moved and interpreted entire pieces, began to wonder what music did for her. Enabling her to play songs on the piano, by heart, without reading sheet music, having Alzheimer’s? That’s where my interest in music began.

Who inspires you to make music

In my case, I was inspired by a sequence of events that motivated me to treasure music, the excitement of seeing live concerts, discovering artists, their energy on stage and one thing in particular. Several years ago my sister won a guitar in a tombola (prize raffle), she brought it home and left it in her room for a year, without anyone allowed to touch it. I, in desperation, hating to see it there, so silent, saved money and eventually bought it for a modest sum. That is where my first direct contact with a musical instrument began.

How would you describe the music you normally make?

I was born and raised in a city called Arequipa, in the highlands of Peru, the radio constantly played cumbia and Andean music. Years later, stations with international music arrived. I started singing and playing folk music on the guitar and then unconsciously over the years, I leaned towards melodies and lyrics with characteristics of the folk music of my country. I would define the music I make today as Latin American folkloric.

What is your creative process?

I have a notebook where I write ideas, phrases or thoughts. Then when I get home, I try to delve into the concept through word brainstorming. This braingstorming becomes a bank of words that I try to put in order, writing sentences, then verses. I observe the structure of the verses, and try to find a certain rhythmic effect in them, through rhyme. Once the structure is ready, I imagine the melody that that letter asks of me. I take the guitar or the piano and I spend hours improvising and trying to find the music that best suits the message I want to give. Although sometimes the opposite happens to me, a melody comes to mind, I recognize it with my voice or the piano and I begin to think about the lyrics and the message I want to give it. On many occasions I get stuck and pause several songs to mature in silence, then pick them up again.

If you could choose to collaborate with any musician, who would it be?

I would choose La Lá, a Peruvian singer and songwriter, one of my favourites.

If you could choose to open any musician’s show, whose would it be?

That of Natalia Lafourcade, I think she is an artist with a wonderful musical journey, a sample of the constant search for her own sound, the beauty of her vocal technique and her compositions.

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

Yes, normally the song that I was listening to before going into the shower, the melodies stick with me.

Of your concerts, which one have you enjoyed the most and why?

Several months ago, before the pandemic, I started playing in a band “El Ingrediente”, with a group of Cuban musicians. When one of them could not participate in events, I was invited to sing backup and play the “Güiro”. There was one concert in particular, in the Tres Chimneas, during the PobleSec bloc party that stood out for me, it was a giant stage and more than 200 people in the audience. I enjoyed it very much because it put me to the test on my stage presence, management and musical development.

Where would you like to do a concert?

In the main square of my city, Arequipa.

What famous musicians do you admire?

Billie Holiday, Caetano Veloso, Celeste Mendoza, Devendra Banhart, Chabuca Granda, Joao Gilberto, Norah Jones, Leonard Cohen, Natalia Lafourcade and more …

What has been the best advice you have been given?

How fast you go is irrelevant, forward is forward.

How do you think the internet has impacted the music industry?

I think the internet has changed the landscape and the perception of music in general. On the one hand, it has helped to promote and disseminate emerging musical projects, especially independent ones, increasing their listeners. Something that did not happen in such a shocking way years ago, since the music scene was controlled by large labels that in turn controlled the broadcast content of many stations and concerts and therefore a large part of the listeners. This has changed, in my perception in a positive way, today there is a range of possibilities to discover and listen to artists that were previously out of our reach. On the other hand, as an artist, I consider it a very powerful tool for the development of projects and their dissemination.

If you could change one thing in the industry, what would it be?

I believe that in the current crisis compounded by confinement, both artists and musical educators are showing a deeper awareness about the positive benefits that a discipline such as music has in different areas and above all in people. Currently it is very difficult to monetize and make money with live concerts, these are very difficult times for artists in general, but we constantly reinvent ourselves, we survive.

What would you be doing right now if we weren’t in a pandemic?

Projects, concerts, I would be traveling or visiting family and friends more often.

Sign up for classes with Andrea!

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