Star Spot with Fred Nowshad, intercontinental music awards judge, orchestra conductor, composer, and music educator
The Harmonious Journey: Insights from Fred Nowshad, Orchestra Conductor and Music Educator
Welcome to this episode of Star Spot! I’m Merry, and in this series, I interview InterContinental Music Awards winners and insiders, bringing you exclusive insights into the music industry. Today, I’m thrilled to have with me Fred Nowshad, an esteemed InterContinental Music Awards Judge and a true luminary in the realm of music. As an accomplished Orchestra Conductor, Composer, and music educator and mentor, Fred Nowshad brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table.
Hailing from the prestigious Nice National Conservatory in France, Fred Nowshad embarked on his musical journey as a symphonic orchestra conductor. In 2004, he founded the renowned Violet Symphonic Orchestra and Violet Music Academy in Tehran, Iran. With an illustrious career spanning over two decades, Fred Nowshad has dedicated himself to shaping the future of aspiring musicians.
Throughout his remarkable journey, Fred Nowshad has left an indelible mark on the global music landscape. His passion for nurturing talent led him to serve as a mentor and educator at the Art Section of the Nice Municipality in France, the Violet Music Academy and Conservatory of Tehran, as well as the Conservatory of Music at Cinco Ranch in Houston, Texas. With his guidance, thousands of students and artists have been prepared and propelled towards successful music careers.
In this insightful interview, Fred Nowshad will delve into the challenges he has faced throughout his career, sharing his inspirations and the invaluable lessons he has learned along the way. Join us as we unravel the wisdom and insights of this remarkable individual, whose passion for music continues to shape the future of the industry.
Tap into Fred’s vast knowledge and experience. The full interview is available on Instagram – click here to check it out.
Can you please give us a brief introduction of yourself?
Sure, my name is Fred Nowshad. I graduated from the National Conservatory in Nice, France, as a composer and conductor. I spent 12 years at the university, and during that time, I established my own Symphony Orchestra called the Violet Symphony Orchestra. You can find links to our performances on YouTube. Currently, I am teaching, composing, and continuing to pursue my passion for music. Teaching is a job I truly love.
How has the experience of teaching music been for you?
Teaching music is a labor of love. If you don’t enjoy your job, you won’t be able to tolerate or continue doing it. I genuinely like teaching because it allows me to guide individuals on their musical journeys. It’s amazing to witness their progress and growth as they continue to improve. Being a guide, or more accurately, showing them the possibilities and paths, they can take, is a fulfilling experience. Ultimately, it’s up to them to decide which direction they want to pursue.
In any industry, there are pros and cons. How have the changes in the music industry over the past few years affected it positively or negatively?
Initially, I had reservations about the direction the industry was taking. I was skeptical about the use of computers and software in music creation, as it seemed like anyone could produce something without the necessary knowledge or skills. However, my perspective has shifted towards a more positive outlook. As I listen to the music composed by others and the submissions we receive, I am amazed by the creativity and talent out there. I now believe that even if someone makes mistakes or produces something imperfect, it’s still an opportunity for growth and learning. So, I have become more open to embracing technological advancements in my own work. In fact, I recently switched to a new studio and upgraded my computer and equipment, embracing the possibilities they offer.
How has the music industry changed with the rise of the internet? What is your perspective on this?
The impact of the internet on the music industry has been immense, and I believe it has brought about positive changes. Technological advancements have made everything interconnected and accessible online. In terms of music history, we have seen various eras like the ancient, middle age, Baroque, classical, romantic, and modern periods. However, I believe we are currently experiencing what I call a “galactical jump.”
This means that we no longer need to confine ourselves to a single place or era. Just like our conversation right now, where you are in Houston, Texas, and I am here, we can communicate and connect with people from around the world. This has revolutionized the way music is created and shared. As a composer, I can be in one location while my singers or musicians are in another part of the world. Through the internet, we can collaborate, discuss ideas, and create music together. It’s truly amazing.
Especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic, the internet has played a crucial role in enabling artists to continue their work and connect with audiences. It has opened countless possibilities and expanded the reach of music. The internet has undeniably been a valuable tool for musicians and has transformed the industry in profound ways.
Fred, what is your proudest accomplishment in your music career?
Music is not just a part of my life; it is my life. I have tried to explore other avenues, but nothing else could ever compare. There was one year when I attempted to change my profession, and it was the worst memory I have. Music is something I started at a young age, and once it became my job, I realized that I had to stick with it. I had to accept the ups and downs, the good and the bad. It’s just the way it is.
However, my proudest accomplishment is witnessing others pursue music, especially young talents who are just beginning their musical journeys. As someone who has been involved in music for 42 years since the age of six, seeing these fresh faces and their incredible talent brings me immense joy. It creates a positive energy that surrounds me and fills me with happiness.
I must admit that I feel a tinge of jealousy when I think of prodigies like Mozart, who accomplished so much at such a young age. He composed his first symphony at the age of seven, and it’s truly extraordinary. While my journey may be different from his, I take pride in my own musical achievements and continue to be inspired by the dedication and brilliance of others.
Could you share some of the challenges you’ve faced throughout your music career?
Certainly, my journey has been filled with various challenges. It all began when I started learning music in Iran at the age of nine. At 16, I moved to France and spent my formative years there until returning to my home country, Iran, where I stayed for 15 years. During my time in Iran, I taught at the conservatory in Tehran and had the opportunity to mentor thousands of students, establish my own music school, symphony orchestra, and recording studio. It was a period of great growth and accomplishment.
Challenges are inevitable in any career, and the music industry is no exception. Firstly, the challenges can vary depending on where you live and work. Secondly, the ability to tolerate and overcome these challenges is crucial. Regardless of where you are, you will experience both difficult and rewarding days. As a musician, you must develop resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Personally, I faced many tough days, particularly when I made my third immigration to the USA. It was a difficult transition, as I had been a conductor, composer, and judge at a high level in my home country. Suddenly, I found myself in a place where no one knew me, and I had to start from scratch. However, with determination and gratitude, I was able to rebuild my career and establish myself once again. I now teach at the conservatory, have my own home studio, and actively contribute to my musical community.
These experiences have taught me valuable lessons, and I often advise fellow musicians to embrace the challenges they encounter. Whether embarking on a new journey or pursuing a musical career, challenges are an inevitable part of the path. It is how we navigate and overcome them that truly shapes us as musicians.
What advice do you have for people who want to start out in the music industry? What are the first few steps they should take?
When it comes to starting a career in the music industry, it’s important to approach it with a solid foundation and a thirst for knowledge. Here’s some advice for aspiring musicians:
Having access to music software and equipment is undoubtedly beneficial, but it doesn’t automatically make you a musician. Music is a craft that requires learning and understanding. It’s like buying a car without knowing how to drive it. You need to invest time in learning and mastering the essential elements of music.
What are the fundamental steps one should take to become a musician?
The first step is to immerse yourself in the learning process. Music education involves various components such as piano, sight reading, sight singing, harmony, theory, form, and orchestration. By mastering these aspects, you lay a strong foundation for your musical journey. As you progress, you’ll transform from a learner into a composer or musician.
Are there musicians who achieve success without formal knowledge?
While there may be a few exceptional cases of musicians who create magic without formal knowledge, it’s not something that happens frequently. Relying solely on instinct can limit your growth and lead to repetitive outcomes. To truly excel, studying and expanding your musical understanding is crucial. Dive into the works of renowned composers like Chopin or Beethoven and delve deep into the intentions and thoughts behind their music. This knowledge will enhance your artistic expression.
Once you’ve gained knowledge, what’s the next step?
After acquiring foundational knowledge, the next step is continuous practice and hard work. Embrace the fact that you may not be perfect at the beginning but strive to improve every day. Understand that being a musician requires dedication and persistence. Embrace the challenges, accept feedback, and never settle for mediocrity. Consistent effort will lead to significant progress over time.
Is there always room for improvement in music?
Absolutely! Improvement is a never-ending journey in music. Even after years of education and experience, there’s always more to learn and discover. Keep an open mind, explore different genres, and challenge yourself to expand your skills. Every day presents an opportunity to become a better musician than you were yesterday.
Can you share any personal insights about the importance of studying music in a broader cultural context?
Understanding the cultural context of music is crucial for creating meaningful compositions. Music is deeply connected to culture, and studying various cultures enhances your artistic perspective. Dive into ethno musicology, which is like exploring the geography of music. Learn about different cultures, their beliefs, daily lives, and musical traditions. This knowledge will enable you to create music that resonates authentically with specific cultures or regions.
By following these steps, aspiring musicians can embark on a fulfilling musical journey. Remember, learning, practicing, and embracing continuous improvement are key factors in achieving success in the music industry.
Any last words you would like to share with our viewers?
Music, in my opinion, is the most peaceful entity in existence. I genuinely hope that one day, a musician will rise to a position of power or influence, such as becoming a president or a guide. I believe that such a change would transform the world for the better.
Fred Nowshad Shawcross Contact Info:
Click here to watch Fred Nowshad ‘s full interview on Instagram
InterContinental Music Awards Team