Sunday, August 15, 2010


After living an amazing month at Pilsen I have nothing else to say but to thanks all of those who helped and supported me throughout my period at IMAP.

Thank you…

God for granting me all this beautiful blessings: Thank you for the life you have given me, for my family which is the most amazing treasure I could possibly have. For my professors, friends and all the wonderful people that have supported me along my life. Thank you so much for being with me at every stage of my life and showing me your love every day for 20 years.

My family for always believing in me even in those moments when I have lost every hope. Thank you dad and mom for all those hours of work, for all those sacrifices you have made for me and my siblings, for your teachings and for always trusting in me. I just hope I can give you at least something back and never turn you down. Thank you siblings, you are my best friends. I have no idea what can I possibly do without you. I love you so much, and I am really blessed for being part of this beautiful family. Thank you so much for loving me!

Mely, my dearest aunt, for loving me always. You have no idea of how much I missed you! Thank you for giving me my first piano! It happens that what it was your dream is now my most precious one! Thank you for all your teachings! You taught me to have faith and love God above everything else, to be a fighter, and always look the beauty of life! I will always try to follow your steps! You are now my angel and your essence will always be with me! Thank you very much for everything! I love you so much!

To my professors:

Dr. Dena Kay Jones, my actual piano teacher. Thank you for believing in me and supporting me always. Thank you for all your patience and teachings, and sorry for all those times which I haven’t been that good student. I promise I will work harder, as it is the least I can do for all the time you have dedicated me. Thank you very much, I think I can’t found the words to fully express all my appreciation for everything you have done for me. THANK YOU!

Anush Vardanyan, my first piano teacher. You taught me how to love the piano and music. You had so many patience, in all those years that I spent with you. Thank you for trusting in me and showing me the path to become a pianist. I still have things to work on, but you taught me the very basics, and more importantly, you taught me to love this beautiful instrument. Thank you for all your work, for all your patience and for all your love!

To UTEP faculty, who since the beginning has supported me in amazing ways and are preparing me for my future. Thank you!

To professor Silvia Muniz, for all your support! You have always been an angel and trusted in me since the beginning! Thank you very much!

To David Alfaro Siqueiros’ scholarship: a very important part for living this magical experience! Thank you very much!

To Mrs. Sawtelle, for being so supportive in my IMAP adventure. I lived a magical experience in which I learned so many things and you helped me to live it. Thank you very much!

To my friends: For being with me in all those moments of difficulty and also in those of happiness. You make my life so rich! I am very blessed for having you in my life.

IMAP (International Music Academy Pilsen) for allowing me to live this experience. You made me the happiest person in the world that day when I received my acceptance letter. But even back then, I never imagined how amazing this experience was going to be. I learned so many things. Thank you Dr. Silverman, Professor Brejcha and Dr. Greene for all your comments and suggestions, for sharing with me all your knowledge! It was so wonderful expending my time with you, learning how to improve my piano playing and loving more and more music and piano. Thank you so much, it was definitely the best experience I ever had so far! Thank you!

I’ll close this beautiful cycle by thanking again to all the people that have

been with me and have taught me how to be a better person and musician, to all people that

have always been so supportive. I couldn’t make it without you!

Thank you!


Final Stage and the Coming Back...

Final stage and the coming back…

Well, my last days at Pilsen were full of enjoyment and sadness. It was amazing that even at this final stage I was still learning and still knowing better my piano. But it was sad to say goodbye to this magical experience. My last class, which took place on Friday with Dr. Greene, was so interesting as I learned more important things that I am sure will help me to improve more my playing. Dr. Greene is also a very good pianist that knows tons about music and piano. I was so lucky of taking this class with him. I think I was very lucky and blessed of being here at IMAP, as it definitely was a once in a lifetime experience.

Saturday was full of goodbyes. It was my last time chatting at the cafeteria with my friends. My last time being at the Music House or New Conservatory. The last time visiting the mall. The last time practicing. The last concert. The last dinner. The last gelato cone. The last walk along downtown, talking, joking and laughing in front of the old conservatory. It was the end of one cycle, but I can feel it was also the beginning of a new period in my life. The beginning of my fight to be a better musician, the best that I can possible be. That day was a long day. After saying goodbye to an amazing month in the Czech republic, I spent the night packing and preparing to my coming back.

So, I thought my coming back was not going to be hard. I expected flying the 16 hours and being home enjoying my family. But it happens that it was a longer trip than I expected. I depart from Pilsen at 3:00am, as my flight Prague-Amsterdam was taking place at 7. When I was in Amsterdam, I found out that my next flight to Houston was cancelled. Thus, I was obliged to stay one day in Amsterdam. At the beginning it was not so bad. I was in Amsterdam with everything paid! One whole day! But when I went to pick my luggage, it was not there. ( I think my luggage love traveling as it keeps getting lost). However, I was not in the mood to handle this. I was at that point with cero hours of sleep, no luggage, and very far away from home. Now, I must admit, I regret my decision back there in Amsterdam so much because I went to my hotel and spent there the day instead of getting to know something of Amsterdam. But what is done is done. I spent there my day, sleeping, watching tv, talking with my family, and foolish crying. I think now I still have to much to mature. I was crying when I was supposed to be laughing and enjoying. But again, what is done is done. So the next day, fortunately, I started my coming back. This time with no stops. And although, it was a tired trip, I was so happy at the end, as my family and friends were waiting for me at the airport. How much I missed them! How happy I was of seeing them all again!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last Days... :'(

July 28, 2010

This day is almost arriving to its end, as well as my period in Pilsen. Now I just have three more days here, and the coming back will take place early Sunday morning. I cannot understand how a whole month is almost getting to its end. Although at the beginning of this experience, I wanted so badly to come back, now is otherwise. I find myself fighting against time, dreaming that this few days take forever. I now love Pilsen, even if it is not as pretty as other cities in the world. Here I have learned many things that have made me not only a better musician but also a better person. I feel more mature. Now I really know what I want, and what should I do to get to it. I am much braver, as I have lost the fear to many things I used to have. I am not afraid to failures, as I know now that after falling you can always stand up again. I am not afraid to loneliness, as what is the best companion than yourself, music and God? I am not afraid to fight every day, as it is this the only way to reach your dreams. I am now not afraid to the future, as I am the one responsible of it. I have now grown much more (Sadly, this not includes my height). I have now discovered my true love: music. Therefore, I am now a much more complete person.

So, several things have happened in this half of my last week here. I finish taking classes with Professor Brejcha. After my last class (which was today), he told me what he thinks was the things that are going to help me the most. He said: “ Natalia, first of all I will like you to stop being shy. And I am not meaning in your personal life, but while playing the piano. I can see you are a truly musician as you are able to express your deepest feelings through music. However, you tend to be a little shy. So, you have to remember that music is a magical language in which you are able to express everything without words; and every human being has the right to express fully what he or she feels. We, musicians, have the greatest gift of all, which is expressing ourselves through art. We are happy of doing it. We are in love of music. So, we NEVER EVER be shy when playing. Once you are in the piano, you should always open your heart. (This thought I think was the most important, and it is an advice I will always carry with me) . Second, he said, just work on the thing I have told you (technical thing), and you will be ready. You are a great musician, keep working.” I must say it was a real pleasure taking classes with him, as he is not only a great musician and teacher, but also a great person. In my first two weeks, I learn to love music and piano more, and I thought then I already love it so much that it was not possible to love it more. Now I know that as further I go, my love towards piano and music keeps growing more.

As a summary of my classes with Dr. Silverman and Professor Brejcha, I will say that what I think was the most important (everything I will keep forever in my heart, but I think this two quotes pretty much take into account everything else):

Dr. Silverman: “You should always be an artist first, and pianist second.”

Professor Brejcha: “Do not EVER be shy in the piano.”

I must say I know that I still have a long path to walk in, but also that I am more than willing to follow it and fight against any difficulty that may appear along it.

Finally, my last days will not be really relaxed. Although I finish my classes with Brejcha, on Friday I will have one with Dr. Arthur Greene from University of Michigan, and I am really looking for it. So tomorrow, I will practice whole day and prepare to my last lesson here at IMAP. On Saturday, I will practice in the morning for my last time here at IMAP, the last recital will take place, the last dinner with my new friends will also take place, and also this is going to be packing day as my plane will depart on Sunday at 7:00 am. I promise to write at least one more time before the end of this experience, to tell you about how those days went, and also I would like to write a last blog as a thankful letter for all those who helped me live this experience back at home, and those here at IMAP who teach me how to be a better pianist and musician.

Third Week

July 28, 2010

IMAP is getting to its end, and I haven’t written in a long time. Sorry for that. So in this blog, I am going to talk about my third week. This first week of the second half was the most calm of all four. I had my two lessons of piano, now with professor Miroslav Brejcha, Director of Pilsen Conservatory. His way of teaching is very different from Dr. Silverman’s, however I think was as interesting. He has focused more in technique, and has given me much information about how to play more easily. He is very patient and good professor. I think his thoughts are helping me very much, as he is teaching me a lot of technique, although I will need time to be able of applying all this new things to my playing. He had also recommended me some studios to improve my playing. I was really happy, as I think he noticed things I have been struggling before, but not being able to improve. Now I have more work, but I am more than glad to do it as I want so badly to be one of the bests.

So, although this week was more relaxed I used it to practice more and to think more about why I want to do in my future, regarding my playing. I realized that I want to be one of the bests. Here in IMAP I have known so many good pianists that make me really nervous. However, I know if I practice more seriously I will be able to feel even more comfortable with my playing. I am so glad I came here. Now more than ever I want to spend as many time in the piano, as can possible be. I want to be able to communicate myself more easily through music. I have discovered that I loved this even much more than I had ever imagined. Now other things seems not as important, if I am with my piano and music I know that I am going to be the happiest person in the world. Now I am ready to start a new period in my life. I feel myself more mature. Now I know what I want and more important that I am willing to fight for it. I know this may be really hard, as was the first weeks here at IMAP. But I discovered a new Natalia, a person that is strong and can over passed the difficulties life may have; a person that is really passionate about what she is doing, and wants to start a battle even knowing is a battle of continues fights. As one friend here at IMAP told me after I was complaining of my first week here (a week that had lots of problems, a week of awakening); she told me “I am going to say to you what my professor always said: THERE IS NO TIME FOR TEARS, THERE IS JUST TIME FOR BEING PROFESSIONAL.” Thus, for now on, I will try to always be professional: Always fighting to reach my goal, even when some difficulties may arrive.

Second Week

July 21, 2010

My second week was full of endings. I took my last class with Dr. Silverman and my last class of chamber music. I must say my last class of piano was awesome. Dr. Silverman spoke really beautiful to me, and that I will appreciate it forever. Probably, I did not express fully about how I felt of taking classes with him. I feel sorry for that, hope he understood Spanish, as it is this my first language, and it is in this language in which I can express myself more completely. I have to say, that it was a tremendous pleasure taking classes with him. I learned so many things, and I truly believe this was a once in a lifetime experience. I have so many things to thank him that made me feel bad me not being able to completely express my appreciation to him. Hope he could felt it, as I am really happy and motivated in what concerns with improving my playing of the piano due to all his comments and teachings. So, thank you very much Dr. Silverman! I am more than willing to continue practicing and working to improve my piano playing, as this is what I love the most. Playing the piano has and always been my most precious treasure, and you helped me to love and know it more. Thank you!

On the other hand, my last class of chamber was not that good. I have to practice much more playing with other instruments as partners rather than just as an accompanist. I must confess that I was really glad of finishing this class because it was really stressing for me. What I learned of this? I think: one to practice more with metronome. Playing with other instruments, not as an accompanist but as a partner of a trio, made me feel really nervous and anxious, which made me lost the tempo (a really bad thing especially when talking about ensembles), even though I always practiced this piece with metronome for several hours every day. Two: have more communication with my colleagues of the ensemble. It was really hard not knowing them and just playing with them during coaching time. So, I think this was a really big problem at least for me, because we were creating the same music, which means we were trying to kind of express the same idea, without even knowing each other and being on the same page. Three: Focus more on the hard passages so those are good enough and do not bring you any problems when you are playing under pressure (A fact that I already knew, but by some reason I didn’t did).So by the end of my class, I felt mad with me because I really believe I could have done a better job if I would’ve focus more; but also I felt really relief, I was getting really tired of being so stressed and not being able to really concentrate in my coaching periods. Shame on me! :/

Finally, my weekend was awesome. I just take it free and very calm so I can recharge batteries for the upcoming weeks. On Saturday, I went to practice my six hours, and after that me and three other girls went to the mall to watch a movie and have dinner. Next day, was kind of the same: Waking up late, going shopping, watching another movie and having dinner. A really good weekend which I think I enjoyed a hundred percent. Now I am more than ready to start the second half of this amazing experience.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

So today I am posting some photos of the new conservatory or house of music, which is the new building of the conservatory and the place where the pianists of IMAP do almost everything. In the first picture , you will see the conservatory from the outside: a beautiful old building. After that I am posting some photos of the practice rooms, especially where I practice as we have to divide the practice in groups of 4. So each group has one upright piano and one grand. Hope you like them :D!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 11

July 11

Prague is the most beautiful city in the world! I am not that sure if there are the words to describe it! The architecture is so pretty! I mean, the moment I arrived there I felt I was in a magical old world. The streets are all of stone, and the buildings have pretty colors. No wondering why it was the place so many pieces were created. We spent there almost all day. The bus took off at 8am to Prague, and it is an hour from Pilsen to there. Then, we took the metro all the way to downtown of Prague. At 7:30 pm we were coming back.

At Prague, we walked and walked and walked. We went to the cathedral, and walked 280 stairs up and down! I was tired and dizzy after that because it was in a spiral form! But the view up there was amazing! We went to amazing restaurants and ate gelato ice cream. We visited several interesting places and bought some souvenirs. The day was so hot we were in the point to dehydrate, and for our bad luck a tiny little bottle of water (less than 500 ml) was 4 dollars! Nevertheless, I must say it was a great day! I never expected so much beauty in one city. In fact, it is so beauty that Pilsen seems even uglier than it really is. I mean it has some beautiful places, but others are really bad and old.

After the whole trip I was so tired and dirty! So at the minute I was at my dorm I took a shower and went to bed without worrying of having to wake up early next day as my turn for practice is until 12pm. Also, tomorrow I do not have classes, no recitals, just practicing. I think it is going to be a good day.