“It is exciting to open up new perspectives for young people”

Ioana Cristina Goicea on her master class in Iași, Romania.

Ioana Cristina Goicea joined the Fritz Kreisler Department of String Instruments, Harp and Guitar in October 2020 as a professor of violin. In June 2021 she held a master class at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts in Iași, Romania’s fourth-largest city. Iași is located in the north-eastern part of the country and is a university town. As a native Romanian, Iona Goicea was not faced with any language barriers, but the insights she gained into university life in Romania were nevertheless new for her, as she had completed her studies at music conservatories in Germany (Hannover, Leipzig, and Rostock).

You were one of the few teachers who were able to take advantage of an outgoing mobility programme during the pandemic. How was your stay in Iași?

I spent eight days there, and my time was completely taken up with teaching the students. At the end of my stay, I also played a concert with the Moldova Philharmonic Orchestra of Iași at the city’s beautiful National Theater Hall. But the focal point of my time there was the master class, of course.

What was it like teaching the students there?

The master class began the day after my arrival, and I taught a total of eight students of various levels, from bachelor to master’s. It was evident from the very beginning how committed they were to learning and how enthusiastic they were about playing. I quickly adapted to the students’ various skill levels and worked with them accordingly, which required a great deal of spontaneity. The students were very engaged in the master class and also well prepared. I was impressed by their potential and their willingness to learn.

How did your master class in Iași come about?

There had been plans for me doing a master class there for a while, but they were always postponed because of the pandemic. The invitation from the university then came at very short notice. Prof. Florin Luchian, whom I knew, organised my invitation and coordinated my stay there. I was very happy to receive the invitation and glad that the mdw approved the mobility initiative so quickly. My travel was possible without quarantine; however, I was not really able to plan anything else ahead of time, like so much during the pandemic.

Ioana Goicea with students and faculty (Prof. Luchian on the right side)

What did you learn from your outgoing mobility?

It was a great experience. I made new acquaintances and learned about life in that country. Although I’m a native Romanian, this mobility really enabled me to learn for the first time about life at a university—and specifically at a music university—in that country. I haven’t lived in Romania for many years because I did my studies in Germany. While I returned to Romania regularly, I never had the chance to work with music students there before. I got to know these young people and tried to open new perspectives for them, which was exciting. I would like to participate in other outward mobility initiatives to other countries as well. The master class in Iași was a great success, and I have already been asked when I will return. The students didn’t want the master class to end, and I would be happy to be able to continue working with them.


The beautiful National Theater from the outside…
… and from the inside.

How did you experience the university in Iași compared with the mdw?

The mdw is huge compared with the “George Enescu” National University of Arts [the university in Iași has about 1,300 students, while the mdw has over 3,000]. What the students there and my students have in common is their great willingness to learn. The students in Iași were very serious; they want to do and learn a great deal. It is very important for teachers to be able to sense this willingness on the part of the students. In an arts programme, one cannot dictate this—it has to come from the students themselves. The students I experienced in Iași have great potential, but they do not have the same opportunities as their counterparts at the mdw in terms of scholarships or instruments that are available to them. Students in Vienna have more opportunities to play on good instruments. There are naturally also differences between the two universities with regard to facilities and funding possibilities—these are financial matters.

How was your path to music?

My path to music was predetermined: my mother is a violinist and my grandfather was a violinist and teacher. Right when I was born, my grandpa looked at my fingers and said, “These fingers are for the violin; she will be a violinist.” I thus had my most important teachers right at home, and they always paid attention to how I practise. For musicians, if you learn the fundamentals properly, you can achieve anything. Of course, not everyone has a mother to teach her or him how to play. But one can always improve. I saw this with my students in Romania: one can improve a great deal even in a few lessons in a master class. Above all, one must work hard and be very focused. There was a very familiar atmosphere in the master class, even though I didn’t know the students before I arrived. There was not a sense of “You must play perfectly now”, but rather a casual atmosphere. The students were nervous at first, of course, but when we started working it became more relaxed because the students found their way to their inner selves and began improving. In this way, all the students were able to profit a great deal from their two lessons at the master class.

Credit: Zuzanna Specjal


Are you interested in teaching abroad? Find more information on: Teaching Staff Mobility in Europe

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