A combination of music and movement creates a healthy balance

Holly Blazina, a flamenco guitarist of 18 years, enjoys performing within the flamenco community and teaching her students guitar within the studio of her own home.

Before taking up flamenco guitar lessons, Blazina played and taught classical guitar. She found motivation in the music as she had been dealing with a case of chronic fatigue syndrome.

This led to many happy hours of guitar playing over the span of a year. But this is when Blazina also experienced a set back, she had injured herself playing guitar.

“I had a very painful nerve entrapment in my wrist,” Blazina says.

Knowing how to deal with the injuries was not easy, as a doctor would have most likely suggested surgery. This is when a friend invited her to a yoga class, and there she found a method to heal and work with her own body.

“The thing that was the most devastating is when she (the physiotherapist) said to me ‘you can play three 10 minute sets daily, that’s it,” Blazina says. “She said ‘you have to play pain free, and you have to completely retool your technique from top to bottom.’”

Blazina had realized that playing flamenco music had become an addiction. Yoga would be the key thing that would help balance who she was as an artist and as a person in this world.

Blazina makes a living by being a flamenco artist but still knows the importance of having balance in her life.

“Music will take everything you decide to give it. In my own case, I’ve had to take a look and say ‘How much do I want to give this?’” Blazina says. “I’m a person who feels I need to have balance in my life between music and other things.”

Blazina enters a world of peace and calmness when she plays and this can be seen when she performs in flamenco shows. She is very passionate about the music she write and plays, and shares her gift of music by teaching others the flamenco guitar.

“I write my own music and I think that I have a really good sense of how to put a piece together that flows well,” Blazina says. “Flamenco is such a technical art form.”

Blazina’s teaching style

Renee Matsalla, one of Blazina’s students, has been studying and learning flamenco from Blazina for the past three years.

Matsalla comments on how Blazina is not just an artistic teacher, but someone who opens up her home to students and has made a community that everyone feels welcome to be a part of.

“Holly and I have become friends now, she’s very open and friendly and so easy to talk to,” Matsalla says. “She’s out there to write and create, but at the same time she’s out to form relationships. She’s a true teacher where a lot of times artists or musicians become teachers because they have to.”

Matsalla has also experienced the care Blazina provides as she takes her students well being into a high account.

“With Holly she really cares about the musicians well being that’s what really makes her different from other people,” Matsalla says. “Every time you go for a lesson you want to stay relaxed while your playing.”

jhan@cjournal.ca