Livia Schweizer: It is easy to get motivated here
Who are you and where do you come from?
I’m Livia Schweizer from Tuscany, Italy. I’m a third year Bachelor's student in flute at the Sibelius Academy.
What brought you to Finland and to the Sibelius Academy?
While I was studying in Italy I started to get quite curious about what was going on in the contemporary music world. I was impressed by the amount of composer names and new compositions coming out of Finland. I wanted to dig deeper into the mindset and the culture of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kaija Saariaho, Paavo Heininen – and others. I was curious to know why the Finnish music scene is so successful, especially in a country of not so many inhabitants. I think that it has to do with the fact that your own musical culture is quite new compared to for instance Italy. It gives the artists a freedom to explore and fill new spaces with new things.
What are your experiences of the Sibelius Academy? What is unique about this university?
I have experienced that everyone - teachers, tutors, fellow students and head of the department - aim at making you feel like a part of the community from the very beginning. Even if it is a big institution, there is a sense of familiarity. There are also a lot of international students that are in a similar situation with you. When I came here I also remember how important the nice welcoming was and how good the orientation to the studies was, so this year I’m acting as a student tutor myself!
It is also easy to stay motivated here. The Sibelius Academy offers opportunities and facilities that make the daily life quite easy. Chamber ensembles, orchestras, opera or contemporary music - the students have the opportunity to try different things in music and to find their own path. It’s up to you to take on things outside your comfort zone! Keep your eyes open and be aware of what it is that you really want to do. The student ensembles and the orchestra function exacly like the professionial ones so you get actual working life experience already during the education. You also get to work with world-class conductors. And the language is not a problem – everyone next to you will speak English and there is always someone who can translate if needed.
What is your average study day like and what do you do on your freetime?
It depends on the study projects that you have going on - whether it is a chamber orchestra period or an opera production… Of course it also involves a lot of your own practicing. And a lot of coffee - in our freetime we often enjoy the nice coffee places in Helsinki. It is very easy to go to concerts, to museums and so on here – to enjoy the cultural life of the city. Here up North you really also learn to enjoy the sun when it is out!