MPO Academy – Meet the tutor #3 – Joana Nunes
1. Delineate your role within the MPO Academy.
My name is Joana Nunes, I am 31 years old and am the Viola Tutor of the MPO Academy. With my students, I work on solo repertoire as well as orchestral repertoire – programme involved in orchestra auditions, such as the mandatory pieces and orchestral excerpts. In parallel to the individual viola lessons, I teach chamber music where the members of the MPO Academy play chamber music repertoire along with the tutors, performing concerts in various venues around Malta.
2. What inspires your pedagogical approach?
Teaching was never something I aspired to until I started in 2017, at the university where I first studied. I was both excited and nervous to be teaching such high-level students, however, many seemed to have lost the passion for music making. I tried different methods and one of them was to approach all arts and connect them as much as possible. This was not only for a more contextualised final result and interpretation, but also to give the students all the tools to achieve autonomy faster, urging them to play music as the beautiful art that it is and not just because they have to prepare for exams, concerts, etc. Soon I noticed how the students were more interested not only in music but in arts in general. Consequently, they became better musicians. That was the moment I realised I wanted this to be a part of my life forever.
3. What are your goals as an MPO Academy tutor?
In continuation of what I mentioned above, I am afraid that music as an art is vanishing. Many of today’s orchestras seek technical perfection which leads many musicians to have a much different approach to how music should be done. Therefore, I will do all I can to inspire these young artists and try to lead them to feel the passion for making art.
4. What is the relevance of the MPO Academy to the local creative ecology?
It is, by now, a well-known fact that culture has been neglected over time, especially in southern countries. This is one one of the many reasons I find the MPO Academy such a wonderful initiative. I believe that it will not only enrich Malta’s cultural environment, with more projects are coming to life. It will also raise the level of these young Maltese musicians through a different educational system, with high level tutors in order to reach what they have been seeking abroad, right here in Malta.
5. What advice would you offer to young musicians hoping to pursue a career in music?
This is easier to say than to put into action, unfortunately, but I would say to never lose the focus on what led you to study music and to hold onto the passion for art making. There will always be hard days that will make us doubt ourselves and our potential, but one should not allow those less sunny days to prevent you from shining. And practice!
6. How important do you think the work of cultural organisations is to the development of young musicians and the future of classical music?
In addition to what I have mentioned previously, it is utterly important that culture – in this case specifically, classical music – gets more funding which will induce more visibility, exposure and audience. Cultural organisations such as the EUFSC are absolutely vital to the classical music scene in Malta, since they provide a great support system to the sector. This allows these aspiring young artists achieve their goals and consequently enhance the development of the cultural environment in Malta.