Interview with Nuria Cabezas from MusicBayside
Interview with Nuria Cabezas from MusicBayside:
a unique online music education platform.
We wanted to start the Autumn by surprising and learning. We wanted to transmit information that was useful and unique. After thinking about how we could do it, a name immediately came to mind: Nuria Cabezas Castaño. Nuria from Zamora, impressed us with all the experience she has acquired since she discovered her musical instrument at the age of 8: the oboe. Currently she has been learning for 23 years and not only that, she also teaches. Education has been very important in her life: it has given her professional and personal experiences, knowledge, it has allowed her to travel and discover the world. Education is her world and never better said after knowing the limitations that certain people can have to access something as fundamental and important as this right, Nuria decided to create a unique project: MusicBayside. MusicBayside is born from the restlessness and professionalism of an extraordinary person who wants to share all her knowledge with the world. MusicBayside unites the words of knowledge and accessibility. Who said that the Internet was only for news, fashion, beauties or recipes? Nuria has revolutionized the musical world in the digital format and we have loved it.
In Medina Reeds we are proud that we have been able to interview Nuria who currently resides in Oviedo. We have loved her answers, her desire and courage for developing a personal project that looks very good and that we are sure will succeed.
- When did you start playing the oboe and why did you decide to play this instrument?
I started studying music at 8 years of age in a casual way because the Conservatory of my city was right in front of the school. Every day I listened to the music that came out of the windows of the building and saw other children come out and enter with their musical instruments. Since childhood I have been attracted to everything that had to do with art; dance, music, painting and theater; So, I asked my parents if they could sign me up to study at the Conservatory and learn to play a musical instrument. Their answer was yes and from the first moment they showed me their support. That’s how it all began. At first, I was not really aware of the impact that this decision would have on my life, whether I would dedicate myself to it professionally, or not. In my family and environment there was no musical tradition, nor did I have professional musicians in my personal circle, so for me it was a game. I loved learning music every afternoon after school and improving with my instrument day by day. Everything came up in a very natural way. At the time of choosing my specialty, I was clear that I wanted to learn how to play a wooden wind instrument and the oboe was the instrument assigned to me at the Conservatory. I could also say that the choice of instrument was casual but, little by little I was discovering that the oboe was my instrument.
- We have seen that you have had a privileged formation in recognized institutions and with very important oboists such as Hansjörg Schellenberger, Maurice Bourgue or Albrecht Mayer. Which institution would you highlight as the one in which you have lived the best experience and have learned the most? Of all the oboists with whom you have formed and played with, which one do you admire the most admire and why?
As you comment in the question, I consider myself very lucky for having been able to learn musically with some of the most recognized oboists worldwide, in different and renowned institutions. Occasionally, this event was a great sacrifice and effort to try to get the scholarships and assistance I needed for it. To this day I can say that everything was worth it. I could not highlight a single institution, each of them was important to me and helped me in my development during each of the stages. In short, everyone
of us we are the result of the set of experiences and learnings that we accumulate over the years. I love reading and learning new things every day, this fact cannot be designated as official training but for me it has been fundamental. Therefore, I would like to highlight the importance of the formation of critical thinking and the search for self-learning during the years of training at the Conservatories. That we are able to analyze, understand, evaluate and question the statements that are usually accepted as true. That each of us can find the best path for our development as musicians and as people because in the life of every student, there comes a time when educational institutions are no longer present and the reality that we find on the street, usually surprising. We must be prepared for the new challenges presented by the 21st century.
One of the oboists I most admire is Heinz Holliger, a genius with a spectacular professional career, who has managed to adapt and reinvent himself again and again. Personally, thanks to his recordings of Vivaldi’s concerts (which I used to listen to as a child on cassette tape
s in the 90s), I fell in love with the oboe, its sound and its expressive capacity. I also admire the Spanish oboist Ramón Ortega; his mastery of the instrument and his technique are absolute. In their performances, there is only space for music, it is a real pleasure to listen to it live. I would also like to highlight my admiration for the oboist Diana Doherty. She has recently premiered the Concerto for Oboe “Spirit of the Wild” by Nigel Westlake, with an extraordinary performance. A great oboist who, in my opinion, deserves greater recognition.
- We have seen that you have traveled all over the world following your passion. In Medina Reeds we believe that traveling is a source of knowledge, what has been the place / country in which you have played that has impressed you the most and of which you have learned the most.
The place where I have played that has impressed me most and where I have been able to learn the most has been South Africa. It was there that I got my first position as a principal oboe in a professional Orchestra in 2012, at the Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. My years there were a great musical learning and above all, personal. It is a very intercultural country in which it is only necessary to look around to discover new things and, in short, to learn. The opportunity to know the country musically, from the prism of a symphony orchestra, has been great. Never before had I had the chance to discover so many different styles and cultures, intertwined in one place.
- After your years training and delighting the world we see that you go back to Spain and you decide to share everything you have learned, to teach and transmit your knowledge. We love MusicBayside and we are impressed by this great initiative to use the digital boom to teach. When did you start the MusicBayside project? How did the idea come about.
The idea of an online education project came to me when I was living and working in South Africa. There, I understood how difficult it can be to have access to a musical education or learning an instrument for some people, either for geographical, economic, material or personal reasons. As well, being there I had students from Spain who wanted to continue receiving my classes but, I could only offer them my time during my visits to Spain for vacations. During those years the idea of what later will be called MusicBayside was born, an online music education platform in Spanish and English. The project was born in November 2017 with the publication of the first pedagogical video on the YouTube channel of MusicBayside Oboe, but it took two years of self-training and preparation to be able to execute it. Knowledge about image, video and sound editing programs, social networks, digital marketing, music marketing, branding, design, blogging, web pages, Community manager, etc. A whole new world for me and what started at 0. It has been a challenge, a long road, with ups and downs, but fascinating at the same time. I have been able to unify my two passions, music and teaching, with new technologies.
- Is it easy for you to teach online? We undoubtedly believe that you are one of the pioneers in using digital tools to teach music, but do you think the public is prepared or are you encountering difficulties?
In order to create digital content and be able to teach through the internet, I had to adapt and learn. I had to leave my comfort zone. It has not been easy and it means a new challenge every day, but I love it and I enjoy with my work a lot. Internet and new technologies are revolutionizing everything, I think that nowadays we have some fantastic tools that we should use to benefit music and its teaching. The public is very prepared in terms of digital tools. Today everyone, who more and who less, uses some mobile application or has an account in a social network. I think the revolution has just begun. Yes, it is true that, in a first contact, the application of digital tools and the Internet for online music teaching surprises. Regardless, the acceptance is still very good.
- How much time do you dedicate to this project and where do you see better results?
At this moment I am working full time on the MusicBayside Project. I am the founder and creator of all the audiovisual and written content of the platform, I manage social networks and I give oboe and online English classes to students from all over the world, both in English and in Spanish. In addition, I offer lectures related to the theme of this project.
- Where do you see MusicBayside in 5 years? and you?
I would like MusicBayside to remain as an online music teaching platform, accessible to everyone. And how do I see myself in 5 years? Well I would like to continue doing what I like, playing and teaching music. I would like to continue emjoying every day with my work and to continue transmitting to others what I have been able to learn and to continue learning from others. The how or where I do not know … will have to be discovered.
- We know that around music and thanks to its learning you have been able to have some of the most beautiful experiences of your life, can you tell us one of those experiences? ?
One of the most beautiful and terrifying experiences of my life has been due to the music. It has been to leave a stable position in a symphony orchestra and embark myself on a new project, entrepreneur and personal development as has been MusicBayside. It is being a new stage in my professional life, full of hope as the previous ones and with which I hope to be able to partially return everything I have been able to live thanks to music and the oboe.
- Anything you want to share with the readers of Medina Reeds?
Thanks to the Medina Reeds team for this interview, it has been a pleasure.
We greatly thank Nuria for her time for this interview and for how much we have learn from her answers. We also invite you to follow her in all its networks and in your blog to continue learning and continue learning, something essential to keep growing.