Student:Â Paula Cuesta RedondoÂ – Â Age: 23Â –Â Â Segovia (Spain).
Writing from:Â Oslo –Â Norway –
Paula, a former student of Eduardo Palao, is 23 years old and after obtaining a Bachelor in Performance at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA) in the class of professor Amit Peled, is currently finishing her second year of her Master in Performance at the Norges Musikkhogskole (NMH) in Oslo, Sweden, in the class of the world famous cellist Truls Mork.
-Is this your first experience abroad?
Letting summer festivals and master classes alone, it is my second one. The first time was some five years ago when I went to theUSAto study a Bachelor in Performance (the equivalent to âgrado superiorâ inSpain), Now IÂ´m studying a Master in Performance inOsloand this is my second year.
-What has this experience given you so far form a musical standpoint?
From a musical point of view, I have received many new ideas, and different ways to understand music and the cello; I has also inspired me and I have gained a new perspective on things. Travelling abroad has also provided me with more flexibility when meeting new people and playing with them.. So far, in my almost six years away, I have had two different teachers, and although they are musically and personally very different, they also have many things in common. I guess that to be able to study with different teachers in different places makes you realize which things are essential and basic antwhere, besides giving you a unique and enriching perspective.
-And from a personal standpoint?
From a personal standpoint studying abroad has given me even more things than musically. It has forced me to open my mind to new things, new situations, new people; to trust more in myself and to develop a tougher attitude towards life irself.
-What have you found abroad that you hadnÂ´t experienced in Spain before?
Many things. But I guess the most important are diversity and perspective. I have met great variety of people, musicians, options and realized the certainty that things are not one-sided. In other words, I gained a broader view of things
-How necessary was to speak languages?
To speak foreign languages is essential. To speak English, at the very leastâ¦ItÂ´s reallyÂ the only way to communicate with people abroad. I have been in many places where I have met people from around the world, and unless you speak English, there is no other way to communicate.Â In fact, most people outside of Spain speak several languages.
Â -Do you find exchange of ideas and working with other students an enriching experience?
Yes, very much. Personally, itÂ´sÂ one of the things IÂ´m more happy with. I have been exposed to many different places, met a lot of new people from all over the world, and encountered different ways of thinking, and all that really adds up. It opens your mind and boosts your personal and musical capabilities.
-How did you find the overall level (teacher and alumni) abroad?
It is high in general. ThereÂ´s always all kinds of levels almost everywhere, but you can see thereÂ´s a lot of people playing really well and thatÂ´s really motivating. The level of the two teachers IÂ´ve had so far is very high, and both have inspired me and contributed greatly to my playing.
-What other things would you emphasize from studying abroad?
How enriching it is, at all levels. Â First of all, the fact of living abroad makes you stronger, since you are in uncharted, unfamiliar territory. One has to learn to survive and be a man for himself. From the social point of view, you are forced to interact with other people very different from you, and that expands your ability and flexibility to adapt to different situations, not to mention learning about diversity outsideSpain. Diversity gives you new ideas, and you learn to choose what you want step by step.
-Have you had any negative experiences?
More than negative moments, I would rather say that there have been difficult times once in a while, but I guess those moments can pop up anywhere. I donÂ´t recall any negative experiences as such.
-How would you value the importance of studying abroad in terms of your professional future?
I think itÂ´s very important. Besides my prep high school studies, all the influences I have received have come from outsideSpain. In a profession like music, itÂ´s essential to acquire and be in touch with diversity and perspective that travelling can give you. As a general rule, I think itÂ´s mandatory to keep travelling here and there, participating in master classes, summer festivals, etc., itÂ´s easy to get stuck and loose perspective of how things really are.
-Would you recommend this experience to other cello students?
After all I said before, thereÂ´s little doubtâ¦..Of course I do!