Kitija Ernstsone is from Latvia and is a musician. In her country, she studied piano and saxophone, under classical training. When it was time to decide which direction of studies to pursue, she felt she had to cultivate her growing passion for jazz. She also wanted to enrich her experience with a period of study abroad, and began to look around. And so, in 2016 she arrived at AEF. "The course offering at AEF rich and interesting, and the opportunity to come to Florence fascinated me, so I made my decision.
During my time there, I attended courses in Theatrical Design and Production , Instrument Performing Jazz, Jazz Ensemble, Aural Comprehension, Music Theory, Mindfulness for Performers. I studied with passionate and competent teachers, such as Leonardo Pieri, Nico Gori, Piero Borri, Valentina Dolara and many others. While studying with them, I particularly appreciated that I was not only asked to learn a theory or the principles of music, but that I was asked to express and share my thoughts and feelings about what music really means to me ".
Kitija has also had the opportunity to perform on numerous public occasions, because performance at AEF is an integral part of the curriculum. Our students, whether musicians, dancers or even painters, have the opportunity to test themselves on a real stage along with real professionals: "during the courses, there were also many masterclasses and we took part in concerts in different venues and art galleries. But the most memorable was the concert we did at Palazzo Vecchio, in occasion of the Welcome Day, the ceremony that the City of Florence organizes every year to greet the students of the American programs present in the city. It was exciting to play in one of the city's oldest buildings, indeed, in one of the symbols of Florence in the world ".
However, Kitija has not only studied music at AEF. She also took courses in Art History and in Italian Language, because one of the educational principles of the school is that students deeply understand the cultural and social context in which they are located. Florence must become a living and vital element of their formation. Kitija says: "when I started thinking about studying music abroad, I knew I wanted a place where the whole environment would motivate and inspire me, from teachers to classmates, from the city itself to the local culture and quality of city life. I consider myself lucky because I found exactly what I was looking for. At AEF I had the opportunity to study with brilliant professors and make friends with many people from all over the world, with whom I am still in close contact.”
The Italian language is a fundamental element of the experience. Here at AEF we believe, in fact, that a language is the product of a very complex cultural process that condenses and expresses the way of thinking of a people. This is why we offer our students a dynamic approach, so that language becomes the means to understand Italian culture and to create bridges and connections between people: "the best memory I have is a lesson with Italian professor, Giuseppe Mennelli. It was a winter morning and all of us students were participating in a game to improve our language skills. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but suddenly we all burst out laughing for five minutes ... we were all so close, so united ... I'll always keep that moment close to my heart! I think AEF is much more than just a school: to me this place means home, positive energy and a sense of protection. As they say in Italy, Grazie mille AEF! "
Kitija lives, studies and still works in Florence: here she has found that environment in which to cultivate her education and her passions. Surrounded by beauty.