Facing The Music on a Global Platform

Studying abroad truly is a huge feat. Bernice Sammut Attard, a 20-year-old musician, decided to go abroad at the age of 16 to pursue her love for music.

This pianist and violinist has lived a very decorated life and she believes that going abroad was probably the best choice that she made in her life.

“My independence certainly developed tremendously having left Malta at 16. I felt it was a huge change at first. I had to continuously think about so many different things that I never really had to consider prior to going abroad, but I grew really quickly because of that. Four years later, I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Sammut Attard.

Her interest in music was born when she was very young. Her teachers were her biggest inspiration. She loved listening to legendary recordings by great musicians like Martha Argerich, Maxim Vengerov, Evgeny Kissin, and Augustin Hadelich.

Sammut Attard is very perseverant. This allowed her to perform in several concerts and other events. Winning the Malta Eurovision Young Musicians contest in 2018 was definitely a highlight of her career. Some of her most memorable moments include playing a world-famous piano concerto as a soloist with four orchestras throughout 2019 and playing a recital in a prominent Maltese venue last March. The latter event remains vivid in her memory because it was the last time she performed in public before Malta was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Acclimatising to living abroad proved difficult at first. She was in a boarding school and found it hard to accept that she didn’t have an actual home to go back to at the end of the days’ classes. The first term studying abroad was the most challenging from a musical, academic, and social standpoint. She had to balance all the hours of studying piano and violin with studying for school and making new friends. Luckily, she was able to make many friends.

Academically, the music school had extremely high standards. Many of its students were able to land in some of the best music conservatoires around the globe. Sammut Attard saw this as an opportunity to grow, improve her knowledge of music, and learn from the best in the field.

For four years straight she was constantly preparing for and playing in concerts. The pandemic provided some downtime which she used to relax, reflect on her life, and think about her future.

However, the pandemic also brought about a shift towards online learning. Sammut Attard believes that

 “musicians, especially, develop a very special relationship with their teachers as they are sometimes the only people who understand what they want to achieve. Also, they are their inspiration to keep working!”

She was also concerned with how the pandemic affected the artistic and musical worlds in general. Concerts and festivals were cancelled globally. She hopes that in the near future, things will go back to normal.

Despite this, she doesn’t regret embarking on this important journey abroad at a relatively young age. We can’t be afraid of trying new things.

“I feel like it gets harder to leave the longer you stay home. I love Malta in so many ways and I still think of it as home. However, musicwise, you need competition and you need to meet people – it is just the way the music world works,” says Sammut Attard.

Therefore, she recommends that other people should try to be as versatile as possible.

Furthermore, learning about new cultures, traditions, and the like is definitely something to be interested in. Sammut Attard is a firm believer that we change a lot based on the cultures and people we encounter. Therefore, she really emphasised her recommendation to study abroad, even if it is only for one semester because it permanently changes one’s view of the world and it helps one become more independent.

We appreciate Sammut Attard taking the time to speak with us about her successes abroad and we wish her the best of luck for any future opportunities.

By Timothy Vella interviewing Bernice Sammut Attard
Young Reporter Eurodesk MT

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