Joan-Albert Serra

Music and Arts Consultant, Manager and Educator

Values, mission and career

 

I believe in the transformative power of music and the arts, and their potential to contribute to positive change in society through their cultural, educational and social values. My mission is to build creative relationships in the music, arts and education sectors, develop a culture of innovation, stimulate cooperation, foster social responsibility, improve the wellbeing of people and communities, and offer solutions to the artistic and professional challenges of today’s musicians and artists in a complex and changing environment. This has been the focus of my extensive professional career as a leader of educational institutions and programmes, international relations coordinator, lecturer, curriculum designer, researcher, consultant, speaker, producer, performer and composer.

I was born in Barcelona, and after graduating at Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA) I have lived and worked in Madrid, the UK and Barcelona, experiencing a wide range of social and cultural environments, witnessing the complexities of the different contexts in which musicians and artists have to operate, and being aware of the local-global tensions that affect them. This has led me to approach each project in a unique and holistic way, considering its artistic, social and economic implications, and taking into account the needs and views of all internal and external stakeholders.

Leadership, management and entrepeneurship

Very soon in my career, while actively working as a trumpet player, composer and teacher, I realised that music-related organisations require people in leadership positions who love music and understand firsthand the idiosyncrasies of musicians and the special characteristics of the creative industries. As a result, I made a conscious decision to direct my professional activity towards roles where I could bring together my musical and educational background, management skills and entrepreneurial spirit. They include: Founder and Director of the Escuela de Música Creativa (Madrid); Head of Vocal and Instrumental Learning at The Sage Gateshead (UK); International Relations, Institutions & Alumni Coordinator of the ESMUC (Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya); Academic Head of the Music Department at ESART Campus Barcelona (Music and Performing Arts Higher Education institution, associated with Bath Spa University, UK ); and General Manger of Taxi Records (Spain).

Music education and live music
Music education has been my main field work, specialising in the leadership of education institutions and programmes, the design of curriculums, the development of new pedagogical initiatives and the creation of links and synergies with the professional world and other artistic disciplines. In parallel, I have always promoted and produced live music activities (concerts, cycles, festivals, etc.), focusing on the creation of new concert formats and audience engagement. My growing interest in understanding live music from the artistic and social points of view, led me to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Research and carry out the research project: “A New Approach to Relationships in Live Music: Redefining Emotional Content and Meaning”.
International relations, cooperation, conferences and articles

 

I’m convinced that the advance of music and the arts in society depends to a great extent on the dialogue and collaboration that we, the professionals involved in their different fields, are able to establish, both locally and internationally. For this reason I have actively participated in several international associations and networks, such as the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC) and the European Modern Music Education Network (EMMEN), and I have acted as panellist and speaker at conferences held in various European cities (London, Hamburg, Bournemouth, Valencia, Cordoba, Barcelona, ​​etc.). I have also been involved in the cooperative movement through the European Music Cooperative, a project that I promoted to develop collaborative and participatory structures in the live music sector.

I’m fluent in several languages ​​(English, French, Catalan and Spanish), which allows me to communicate directly with people from different backgrounds. I also feel at home speaking in public, and it’s often in these situations that I find the best way to express my ideas. Ideas and reflections about music and education that I also enjoy writing about, like in my regular articles for the prestigious Spanish music magazine Scherzo.

Consultancy
As a consultant, I make available my experience and different areas of expertise to: universities and higher education institutions; live music and performing arts venues; schools and cultural centres; foundations, trusts and charities; public and private organisations; ensembles, bands and orchestras. The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (UK), the SGAE (Spanish Author’s Society) and the American School of Barcelona, are among the organisations that I have advised.