By Klara Gomez
Mariana, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Could you tell us how you first fell in love with music. How old were you? Who was your first influence?
I was about four years old, we had a piano at home and I used to sit and play the keys until I came up with familiar melodies. My first influence was my father, who was an amazing violinist and pedagogue. He used to teach violin at home, listening to him and his students practice sparked my curiosity about the instrument. I first wanted to take piano lessons but he offered the violin instead. The rest was history. I fell in love with the violin on the first day, the moment I had it in my hands.
What are some of the best experiences you've had so far?
One of the most fulfilling experiences was being part “Shake a Leg”, a program for kids with special needs. I was there as a music instructor. It was very rewarding to bring happiness to those kids, to give them the opportunity to explore, to communicate, even to smile through music. We made them feel special giving them an opportunity they’d never had. Being there changed my perspective on life, realizing that we don’t appreciate how much we have or how little we need to be happy.
How did your love for teaching come into being, and why is music education important?
I think it started with the need of passing the love of music to younger generations. We need music and art in our lives, there is a declining of how music is made these days. Classical music in general is suffering, symphony orchestras are closing down because they don’t have enough support, especially in the United States, where the government doesn’t help to keep them running. If we help young people fall in love with music, then classical music will have an audience tomorrow.
Conversation with Violinist, Mariana Carreras
How did the idea of starting a music academy came into place?
Having worked at several schools, I realized I could do my own music program. School administrators were always pulling kids from music class to help them get ready for some ridiculous state exams. I even had to prepare music lessons based on these tests requirements. They made my teaching very difficult. I knew that if I opened a music academy at least I'd have the freedom to teach music the way I was taught, and whoever was interested in becoming a professional musician would have all the tools to achieve their dreams, just like I did.
As a private instructor, how do you see the music programs in the school system?
Some public schools still have music programs, but it’s very hard to keep a good one running. For the most part you find there’s lack of funds, lack of interest from administrators, and even teachers who’ve lost the desire to continue fighting for their programs. It is sad how the first programs to get cut in public education are music and art, yet so many studies prove these two subjects have a great impact on us. Music supports the learning of other subjects such as math and reading while developing a sense of discipline, concentration, solidarity, social skills and team work.
What inspires you as a musician and as a teacher?
What most inspires me is seeing students from all backgrounds who share the love for the instrument. As a teacher you want to give your best to help your students' passion grow and help make their dreams come true. I had a student whose parents were not musicians, she picked the violin by herself at the age of ten. For the most part if you want to become a professional violinist you should start earlier. She didn’t have any musical background, but she was passionate about the instrument. She was a hard worker, a very disciplined student. After teaching her for a few years I realized she had the tools to study in any prestigious music program in the country, so I encouraged her to believe in herself and follow her dream. She ended up winning several scholarships and music competitions, and today she is an amazing violinist who is also inspiring younger generations.
Thanks for the work you do, Mariana. We wish you much success and hope you continue inspiring young musicians to follow on your foot steps.
Mariana Carreras, violinist from Havana, Cuba, is hailed as a dynamic and versatile professional musician, equally comfortable in solo, chamber, recording, and orchestra mediums. With a Master’s Degree from the University of Miami under Robert Rozek’s violin class and student of Ivan Chan during her undergraduate studies at Florida International University, Mariana performed in various master classes for world-class known violinists, Ida Handel and David Kim. Prior to her arrival to United States, Mariana studied under Russian professor Alla Taran at Havana’s national conservatory, Amadeo Roldan.
Mariana has performed with most professional orchestras and string ensembles in South Florida, including Naples Philharmonic, Southwest Symphony Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, The Florida Grand Opera Orchestra, Orchestra Miami, West Palm Beach Opera Orchestra, Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, Florida Chamber Orchestra, and New World Symphony. Additionally, she has been concertmistress for the University of Miami Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, as well as for the Florida International University Symphony Orchestra. This season, Mariana has been principal second violinist for Orchestra Miami under conductor, Elaine Rinaldi and concertmistress for Sociedad.
Mariana is the musical director at Allegro Music and Art Academy in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, visit their website: http://www.allegromusicmiami.com/
Whether it's improvising with a jazz ensemble or playing with a symphony orchestra, Mariana Carreras will captivate the audience with her characteristic melodious sound. But to say that she's a great violinist doesn't do justice to her talent and skills. She is literally one of the most versatile musicians I've ever met, and I'm proud to call her family. We might not be related by blood, but we've known each other since childhood and we continue to be like sisters. Those of us who know her well, know what a treasure she is. This is why I wanted to feature her and the amazing work she does.