There are many reasons that make a person leave their country; studies, work conditions, seeking better opportunities in life and, even, conflicts and wars that force people to flee their homes. For Patricia Arenas it was love that brought her to Greece. During the period of 1978-1983 she was studying Classical Music in Germany where she met the person that today would be her husband, Giannis Mouzas. When she finished her studies, Patricia made the decision to continue her career in Europe and did not return to Venezuela until many years later.
“From Chalandri Athens to Salonika”
Like almost all changes, this was also difficult. The general salary of a musician was quite low, and that was also reflected in the quality of the teaching. Patricia started teaching at a small music school in Chalandri, but the lack of a decent salary led her to look for work elsewhere, as a private teacher.
It is in this search where she gets her first students in Salonika, young people who were looking to finish their musical studies and get their certificate. Patricia managed to stand out with her students, and more people wanted to join her classes, not only in Salonika but also in Athens.Little by little she began to make herself known, not only as a teacher, but also for playing chamber music concerts and as an accompanist.
“The Greek musical wave “
Also at that time there was a returning wave of Greeks who had gone abroad to study music, they helped a lot in raising the level of classical music in Greece. There was also restlessness or a curiosity among the musicians that helped to create a community with a thought of promoting classical music in Greece,.
“I felt. We were all looking for the same thing. I was not alone. We were all under the same condition “- Patricia
“After about 7 or 8 years we decided to go to Crete, where I had to start from zero”
This beginning would be full of surprises. It was at this moment that Patricia decided to get involved in the children’s musical initiation – a work that she still does to this day – giving the children an option among a wide range of instruments that they can study like cello, flute, violin and piano. She teaches them musical rhythms from the whole world.
“It’s incredible how helpful it is to put aside self-centeredness”
From Patricia’s experience children have an inclination towards music by their nature. The possibilities of improvisation with the instruments pure. The most difficult part for them is discipline.
Children are not used to following a training. They tend to be easily distracted, to stop, to sit down. When the music begins, it captures their attention and their behavior changes, giving a somewhat different harmonious dynamic. All of them gradually understand their responsibilities within the group that gives them a sense of belonging and collaboration.
“Everyone who studies music develops discipline”
To train a positive discipline, it enriches the capacity of concentration and learning. When the children manage to master these characteristics, it is possible to see the impact in their lives or at school.
Patricia gives us an example of all the factors that have to be taken into account when learning an instrument such as the piano:
“The child has to take the right position, she/he has to read the score, he/she has to take a while and be present (mentally) to be able to listen to their own mistakes, these among other things. The same goes for other instruments, only with some variations.”- Quote Patricia
“After a year they are able to sing”
Patricia also makes an emphasis on music as a tool for social and therapeutic integration for people who suffer from some type of genetic or mental disorder.
For Patricia the music through its elements, has the ability to facilitate and promote communication, relationship, learning, expression, organization and other therapeutic objectives in order to achieve changes and meet physical, emotional, mental, social and cognitive needs.
Therefore, this discipline can be a form of self-realization, it promotes a non-threatening world with which to communicate and integrate.
Patricia has witnessed children with down syndrome joining a choir. After a lot of hard work, those who could not even speak ended up singing.
“The study of music in Greece is always paid for, almost all are private institutions”
I think there are many attempts in Greece to make the study of music more accessible, especially to people with economic problems, but it still takes a lot of work in that area.
It would take a lot of state support, which is not being received. I feel that there is very little encouragement to the study of music, there are even many schools that have stopped including music within their education plan. There are colleagues who even teach in the schools with their own instruments, such as portable pianos, for children to learn on since they do not have the necessary resources.
“I believe that there are different ways of listening to Music”
Music always has something to give and express. The way you listen to it or see it is upto you. Even if you don’t like it, it still provokes an emotion.
People see music differently according to their environment, and at the end of the day is still an expression of the society in which it is born or developed. When a society is macho, that kind of music comes out, when a society is violent, that music will be as well. It is the society that gives matis to music.
“Classical music is always improving”
Despite the problems we may have at this moment, I feel that music in Greece has been improving over time. Quality wise, it is always improving. There is a remarkable progress since I first arrived. On a general level, there is good dynamics among the musicians. You can also see more variants in music, such as Jazz and other styles. The music has taken more extravagant and tasteful steps.