Désirée Del Santo
“Hello everyone and thank you for your invitation to the artists’ interview! I’m Désirée Del Santo, I’m 27 years old and I’m from Livorno, Tuscany, Italy. If I have to describe me in three words I would choose passionate, creative and emotional. Among my favourite composers: my first love was J.S. Bach, but I’m a romantic girl ... especially in the last years of my life, also influenced by particular events, I fell in love with Brahms’ and Schumann’s music, but I also adore listening to Chopin’s and Rachmaninov’s piano concertos.
I come from a musical family: my parents are pianists and my sister is a violinist. My parents introduced me to music wen I was a child: at the age of 8 I started to play the flute. At the beginning I wasn’t happy with this choice, because none of my friends practiced a musical instrument, I felt different. It was only after the adolescence that I began to understand the infinite beauty and the power of music, its meaning, how it could be a companion in my life in the best moments and in the worst too. I learned to express myself and my feelings without words and only with sounds and that is a very special thing. Being a musician is a very precious opportunity and for that I am grateful to my family. At the moment I’m concentrated on the improvement of the piccolo repertoire with Nicola Mazzanti in Prato, a city near Florence in Tuscany. Previously to perfect myself musically I studied in Florence, Milan, Santa Cecilia National Academy in Rome.
All my Master are excellent musicians and performers. I’d like to mention in particularly two names: Andrea Oliva and Nicola Mazzanti. Maestro Oliva changed my idea of the flute and of the music in general that opened me up to a whole new world; I’d studied with him at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and during that time I learned so many things about music and life: my technical and musical improvement was evidente. Nicola Mazzanti made it clear that also the piccolo is a truly complete instrument with which you can fully express yourself even as a soloist. Maestro Mazzanti taught to me new musical ideas and visions of music from the beginning, in addition to the instrumental technique of the piccolo which was completely new to me. He also gave me fundamental suggestions for the care of body posture and breathing, two aspects that have always been problematic for me, as well as tips for managing emotions during a performance or an audition.
An average day for me start with the flute or piccolo study session; I try not to get up late because I don’t have much time: I have to leave at lunch time because I’m a flute teacher 5 days out of 7. When I get home, at 5pm or 6pm in the afternoon, I start studying again even if being tired is not the best both mentally and phisically. I try to use the time left until dinner with some breaks. Having this routine every day except the weekend is tiring, but my will of improve myself and prepare for concert, competitions or audition is stronger. I practice every day. Rigarding the hourly quantity it depends on the day: I usually try to study at least two or three hours a day (usually two hours in the morning and one or two in the afternoon with breaks). When I can I practice four hours, in the weekend for exemple, when I’m not busy with work, but if I have many work commitments it happened to be able to study even just half an hour a day. In any case, my body resistence can’t go beyond 4 hour of study in a day. It’s not easy combine studying, concerts and my lessons plans with my work. It is often tiring to be able to carry out everything without problems or overlaps and always be prepared to mantain quality both in class and in the concerts, competitions o auditions. Despite this, my teachers have always been an excellent example of organizing and managing many high-level commitments. I try to have the best organization and it’s definitely a skill I’m still improving. I think in these cases the motivation is really everyting. Over the years I have really understood that being a musician is a privilege. I believe that the best part of this job is being able to express yourself, your artistic and aesthetic taste, your emotions through your musical interpretation and being able to communicate all this to those who listen to you, making them emotional. Maybe the worst part is the continuous being judged and tasted as well as compared with other musicians. It happens in the auditions or the competitions but also in less stressful situations for example in class. It can be stressful to feel challenged all the time.
I have recently started participating in online competitions, after had tried many musical competitions live, I must say that it has been a positive experience. These competitions really allow you to compare yourself to other musicians from all over the world. I advise everyone to try this experience even at a very young age, in fact I also encouraged one of my deserving teenage pupil to participate. Surely my first advice is to present a well-made video to the competition, of good audio quality, it must resemble a real one as much as possible performance even if it was recorded specifically for a selection. Also find yourself really believing you can do it. Sometimes we can be really amazed at the results we can achieve and I assure you that you will feel great satisfaction.
I would like to greet you with one last piece of advice: if you have a dream, keep working, and studying, and committing yourself willingly without letting the difficulties that we all encounter get discouraged... I have to repeat it many times to myself, especially when I feel tired or when I am faced with events negatives. Repeat it ourselves and let's try to get as close as possible to our ideals by trying to go beyond our limits.”