Cristina - Q&A

- What was your start in music?

I started playing the piano when I was 8 years old. My parents bought me a piano and I've loved it ever since.


- Who was your favourite music teacher?

I had a French teacher I adored. She was strict yet kind, and her delightful French accent made lessons enjoyable. It was always amusing when she slipped in a French word here and there. It made me giggle!

- What's your favourite piece you've performed?

There are so many, mainly classical music. Currently I'm working on three pieces which I love:

Brahms Rhapsody Op.79 no2, Chopin Ballade Op.23 no1, Cecile Chaminade Sonata Op.21

But I also love choral music as I've been involved in singing/conducting choirs.

At the minute, I'm in the Belfast Philharmonic Choir and we are rehearsing an extraordinary piece called 'Illuminare' for a concert in June.

But there are so many more choral pieces I love!!


- What's the best part of living this musician life?

The best part of living the musician's life is the opportunity to connect with others through the universal language of music. Whether performing on stage or teaching in a classroom, music has a way of bringing people together like nothing else.


- If you could perform any piece on any stage with any other artist - what, where & who?

I love performing anywhere and any piece (preferably classical) with family and friends but especially with my 3 daughters who play violin, cello and singing.


- What does music mean to you?

It's a form of expression that transcends language and culture and touches our soul. 

It allows us to communicate emotions that words alone cannot convey.

- If you weren't a musician, what would you be doing?

If I could choose another career, I would work in a field focused on environmental conservation and fostering the well-being of our planet. 

I'm really concerned about climate change and the slowly degradation of the Earth.


- Why do you teach music?

I teach music because I believe in the power of education to transform lives. 

Music has enriched my own life , and I want to share that gift with others, helping them discover their own passion and potential.

-  Funniest / Best thing a student has said?

The funniest moment occurred when a student asked, "What are all those hashtags on the music?" in reference to sharps.

The best thing was when a student said, 'I love playing the piano because when I'm practicing I forget all my problems and engage in the learning process which gives me a sense of fulfilment'


Active Learning Repertoire

Do you want to setup yourself a challenge for 2024?

Why not creating your own active repertoire where you can play any time, any place. These are pieces you can perform without notice, without any embarrassment, and often from memory.


The main steps are:


1.- Start with easy pieces and develop gradually

2..- Play them regularly

3.- See if you can memorise them over time.

4.- Play them to others when you get the chance.


This article will help you to get started.


Holistic Learning Approach

12 Key Points

  1. Active listening skills;
  2. Creative skills;
  3. Co-ordination;
  4. Reading skills;
  5. Empathy and sensitivity;
  6. Persistence and resilience;
  7. Mathematical skills;
  8. Social skills;
  9. Presentation and performance;
  10. Self-awareness and confidence;
  11. Technical skills, and
  12. Language skills.

All of these points will be touched at some point during every student's learning journey.



My 8 guiding principles for piano teaching

1. Making music is at the heart of all lessons
2. Learning is placed within a structured and progressive framework
3. Separating the development of pianistic skills from the teaching of musical concepts
4. Every student is treated as unique and is given an individual, tailor-made approach
5. Encouraging a sense of exploration and discovery in students
6. Engaging the imagination, energy and creativity of students and teacher
7. Teaching with honesty, commitment, integrity, professionalism and passion
8. Being committed to a process of ongoing professional development and personal music making

My piano

My piano is my friend, my love, my confidante. My fingers and its keys intertwine together tenderly creating a captivating and solemn tune. 


We are the perfect team. In happiness and in sorrow, we celebrate and grief within the midst of beautiful music.


What would I do without you, my faithful companion? Sometimes, I hit you fiercely with my constant search for perfection and you, always submissive, let me touch you, knowing that I will never get it. 


'Do not chase perfection, for it eludes all who seek it', you whisper gently.


'Seek excelence, and it shall embrace you', you smile warmly.


I am grateful, my dear friend. I continue on this journey, determined to share with the universe the magnificence of your sound and the graceful presence you embody. Together, we shall bring forth a musical offering that resonates with the hearts of all who encounter it.


Cristina Santana



Mi piano

Mi piano es mi amigo, mi amor y confidente. Mis dedos y sus teclas se entrelazan afectuosamente, creando una música embriagadora y solemne. 


Somos el equipo perfecto y en la alegría y la tristeza, celebramos y nos consolamos con el placer de crear música bella. 


¿Qué haría yo sin ti, mi fiel camarada? A veces, te machaco, con mi continua persecución por la perfección y tú, tan sumiso, me dejas que te acribille sabiendo que nunca lo conseguiré. 


'No busques la perfección, nadie la encontrará’, suspiras. 


'Busca excelencia y seguro que la alcanzarás’, sonríes.


Y gracias a ti, aquí sigo, buscando llevar al universo, la majestuosidad de tu sonido y tu grata y hermosa presencia. Juntos llevaremos la música como una ofrenda para aquellos que la encuentran en su camino.


Cristina Santana

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