Violeta Gil García

The importance of a positive mindset for a professional musician

by Irene Urrutia Martín (16.02.2023)

The “restless” flautist who won a prize at the Carl Nielsen Competition and works at the ORCAM Madrid, talks about when she found her passion to learn the flute, her musical education, social media for musicians, the support of family & friends and the importance of “keep going” after setbacks and why unsuccessful auditions aren’t failures. Furthermore she shares with us her favourite musical pieces and scores.

About Violeta |

Violeta Gil García was born in 1996 in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain). In 2014 she did her Bachelor's degree at "CODARTS, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten" in Rotterdam, which she finished Cum Laude. In 2018 she started her Master's degree with Professor Mario Caroli in Freiburg (Germany), where she has just completed her concert studies with distinction. She has been part of many youth orchestras such as the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, European Union Youth Orchestra, Het Nationaal Jeugdorkest, or the Spanisch National Youth Orchestra. She has been awarded in important competitions incluiding theThird Prize in the International Flute Competition "Severino Gazzelloni" in Italy in 2019.


How would you introduce yourself?

As a flautist with a passion for orchestras and everything that keeps me active in the music world. A restless soul, as my mother would say.

What was your first contact with music?

When I was a little girl I already had the typical toy xylophone, a guitar... Music has always been like a game for me. At the age of 9 I started at the primary conservatory and that was my first contact with the flute.

During the first lesson, my teacher gave me about 50 sheets of paper, photocopies of the book we were going to use that year to learn the notes of the flute and to introduce me to the instrument with different songs. I went home and in 3 days I had read all the pages, I was fascinated! During the next lesson, my teacher couldn't believe it, because it was the material for a whole year. So she told me to do an extension course, I thought she was joking!

What did you want to be when you grew up? Who inspired you?

When I was little, I always said I wanted to be a primary school teacher, like my mother! She inspired me and I loved standing at the blackboard and imitating her. Then I discovered the flute and music, and my life took off almost without me doing anything. I've always been inspired by Pahud (and who hasn't?), he's always been a reference point that I've followed. Nowadays I am very much inspired by Clara Andrada in the orchestral world, or by my teacher Mario Caroli in the solo flute world.

What was your first score/music book that you remember? What was your experience with scores/music books like?

The first books I remember were Trevor Wye's methods or the typical scale book by Taffanel and Gaubert. My teacher Juliette Hurel (another great inspiration) insisted on buying the original scores when I went to the Netherlands to study with her, she hated copies! That's when I started to get used to having my own library, and I'm so glad I did!

How important is it for a professional musician to have an SM presence nowadays?

Well, I've been making videos of myself all my life - even before I played the flute, I was making videos of myself imitating commercials! So when I started playing the flute, I loved filming myself. I'm not trying to "increase the number of my followers". I think there is something very important to clarify, and that is that having a lot of followers on social networks does not make us more valuable.

Nowadays there are people who want to have a lot of followers in order to be somebody. It would be the other way around; you have to work hard every day to be somebody, and as a consequence, if you use social networks, your followers will certainly increase. It is also true that if you do it well, it is easier to reach a wider audience and be known for what you do. A double-edged sword, as they say!


Sheet Music for Flutist:


Is playing your main occupation right now, and how do you manage to have a good balance between professional and private life?

I certainly do. I thought that when I joined the orchestra I would be able to relax a bit, because I was dedicating so many hours to the flute. But it's the other way round, now I have more time for it and I'm still involved in things (competitions, recitals, masterclasses...). The truth is that I love it, I don't get tired of it and I want to make the most of the opportunities that come my way and not remain stagnant. The good thing about being financially stable is that I can afford to say no to some things and put my personal life first. Although I still think I need to learn how to say no.

Have you ever had doubts about pursuing a career in music? Have you ever struggled with mental health issues related to music?

Never. I've been very lucky and so stubborn that I've never taken my eye off the ball. I have surrounded myself with family and friends who have always supported me and kept me from feeling bad. The hardest thing is definitely the orchestra auditions. I always did well in young orchestras and that helped me to trust myself for the next step.

But, for example, I did 15 auditions for academies in German orchestras and never won (I was in many finals but never selected), and then I did another 18 before I won the last two (in Freiburg and Madrid). In total, I have been told "no" about 40 times. Sometimes it was desperate, but when your teachers tell you that you have what it takes and your friends are there to give you a thousand reasons to keep going, in the end you keep going and you trust that one day it will come.

I know many cases of people with mental health problems because of auditions. It's a constant frustration that's hard to deal with, and it doesn't help that our training doesn't show us any other way than to get a place in an orchestra. You get the feeling that if you don't, you've failed, and you haven't. It's not like that.

Do you remember the first concert you ever gave and what would you say was your greatest achievement as a professional musician?

I remember my first concert as a soloist with an orchestra. I was eleven years old and playing Mozart's Andante in C-Dur KV 315 . I remember my classmates saying to me "Aren't you super nervous" and I couldn't wait! I remember how nervous I was about "the greeting", I didn't know how to greet the audience! For me, performing was a game and I remember having a great time.

My greatest professional achievement was undoubtedly winning a place in the orchestra. Auditions are like the Olympics, more than 100 start and in the end only 1 is left. The prize at the Nielsen was also something very big that meant a lot in my professional life, the preparation for which made me a very strong flutist, in fact it was probably the springboard that made me very fit for the victory in Madrid a month later.

Do you feel comfortable playing in competitions? What would you say competitions give you?

I like it, they are concerts after all, opportunities to play in public and to test yourself in the preparation beforehand. They give you a lot of study discipline, new repertoire and a lot of experience. And you get to be seen and known.

What does a typical day of practice look like for you?

My practice always starts with a full warm-up, that's where I try to get better every day. Better sound, better technique, better flexibility... I try to set myself short goals so that I always have something to achieve and don't lose my motivation. I usually have some work to prepare (for the orchestra, competitions, concerts...), but if not, study books are always a good motivation! I also like to record myself, because I try to get a much better result and I forgive myself less for mistakes.


Anything you would have liked to have been told at the beginning of your career? Any advice you could give?

I think we all would have appreciated to be shown all the possible job opportunities, to avoid frustration when you see that you don't get one of them. My advice is to go out and see the world, listen to different musicians and students from different countries, open your mind and be aware of the global reality. Studying abroad helped me a lot and set the bar much higher. That we don't settle for little, and on the other hand, that we don't lose sight of our strengths and use them.

If you could collaborate with any musician (of any style) who would you choose?

I would choose my teachers. I have never had the opportunity to play with them (Juliette Hurel and Julie Moulin) in an orchestra (in Holland) and it would be a dream come true. Sharing a concert with my current teacher Mario Caroli would be another great dream.

Have you ever dedicated a piece/performance to someone, to whom and why, would you do it?

Never openly. If I play a concert and I have loved ones in the audience, it automatically goes to them. If I ever do it openly, it will be to my mother for bringing me into this beautiful world!

We use YouTube to embed video content. This Google service has its own cookies and may collect data about your activity. You can find more information in the data protection declaration of the provider. We need your consent to display YouTube videos:

Show YouTube content

What kind of music do you listen to in your daily life? Any recommendations?

From Aserejé to Bohemian Rhapsody via the symphonies of Brahms. I'm a rollercoaster and I listen to everything (although I'm reluctant to listen to current music). To relax, I usually listen to music from the 80s (like the Movida Madrileña). I would like to recommend Jacob Collier, a genius of our time.

Any differences you have seen or experienced between the music education system in Europe?

I haven't really experienced higher education in Spain, I only know the Dutch one. But when I talk to people from other countries, what strikes me most is the very high theoretical level at which Spaniards reach higher education. In Holland, for example, there is harmony, analysis, music history... In Spain, we learn all this at intermediate level. I also have the impression that outside Spain, practice (how you play, the concerts you get, etc.) is much more important than theory. In Spain, theory often holds back practice.


What is the piece you are most proud of and do you have any regrets about playing it?

I think it was the Jolivet Concerto from memory in the semi-final of the Nielsen Competition. It was a new piece for me, very difficult technically, and it was the first time I had to play it with an orchestra. I was very proud to be able to do it. I don't regret any of them, I think they have always contributed to my development as a flutist.

What must a compulsory piece for a competition have to have? What has been the compulsory piece you have suffered the most with so far?

They usually have many technical aspects, as if to see "who can give the most", and it is very important that there are no previous recordings, so that each performer can make their own version. I don't think the technical aspects should be so important (after all, we are creating robots, not musicians), but they should have expressive material that allows many points of view. A work that every musician can play in a very different and personal way, in which the personality of the performer can be reflected. I suffered a lot in the early days of preparing the Piece De Concours from Rasmussen competition piece, a compulsory piece for the Nielsen 2022 competition. I remember starting with the metronome on the quaver until I got to the quarter note 224. Then I started to enjoy it!

Physical or digital format? Have you joined the world of PDF scores?

Physical scores without a doubt. I've tried practising my scores in PDF, but I can't get used to it. In fact, I am buying more and more original scores, I love having my personal library at home and seeing so many stories and annotations from the past on the old sheets over the years. I use digital sheet music a lot for teaching my students, and it allows you to have a very large library in a small space, as well as being able to study the pieces when I'm travelling without having to carry books with me. But at home, analogue without a doubt.

What are your aspirations as a flutist? What would you like to achieve?

To continue to grow and play new works. To get into a lot of trouble on my own, with orchestra or chamber music, and to keep improving! On the other hand, I would also like to enter the world of masterclasses (I really enjoy teaching what I have learned to new generations). I have several planned for this year and am very excited.

Verband deutscher MusikschulenBundesverband der Freien MusikschulenJeunesses Musicales DeutschlandFrankfurter Tonkünstler-BundBundes­verb­and deutscher Lieb­haber-OrchesterStützpunkt­händ­ler der Wiener Urtext Edition

© 2004–2024 by Stretta Music. Order and buy sheet music online.

Your specialist for all kinds of sheet music. Online shop, sheet music, music scores and play along for download, books, music stands, music stand lights, accessories.