In the Spotlight: María Martínez Iturriaga

At ProjectNextUp, we’ve launched our pilot student ambassador program at Berklee Valencia, the graduate and study abroad campus and extension of Berklee College of Music, based in the Palau des les Arts in Valencia, Spain. Our Student Ambassador, Zoe Schneider, has been working hard to raise awareness of ProjectNextUp on campus and get students involved in the activities taking place to spread the mission of what we’re doing to empower young women in music. This week Zoe Schneider took over the In the Spotlight series to feature Associate Executive Director and Dean of Admissions, María Martinez Iturriaga, for a mini Q&A. 

ProjectNextUp: What's your story?

María Martínez Iturriaga: In 2008, I started work on the development of the Valencia campus. It was the ideal opportunity to combine my passions — music and education  with a project in my own country, at a leading institution like Berklee. 

PNU: What do you think is the biggest challenge women in music face?

MI: One of the biggest challenges is our own perception of ourselves. We have to learn to overcome our own belief of what role we should play in the music industry. We must be convinced that being a female should not be an impediment to getting what we want. If you don’t believe that yourself, how are you going to convince others? The second challenge is we need to have more role models and mentors that can help create connections. There needs to be more support from leaders -- either female or male mentors -- to help pave the way and find equal opportunity. 

PNU: What's the one thing you would tell your 15-year-old self?

MI: Not to fear. Don’t be scared, because everything has a solution. I’ve overanalyzed things way too much which has stopped me from taking action many times, simply because I was scared of failing. Don’t be afraid to fail. You will want to do everything perfectly. I had that ah-ha moment when I was 22. I had a friend who would do anything! To me, she wasn’t scared of failing. To me that was like, “Ahh!” It’s not the end of the world if you take one route and it is a mistake, you can just turn around and figure it out. That’s what I would tell myself. Fail fast, and move forward.

PNU: What's that song on your playlist you are guilty of listening to on repeat? 

MI: Caetano Veloso’s“Voce e Linda” (You are beautiful). The song is in Portuguese and I don’t understand all the lyrics but it speaks to the beauty in person. It has a beautiful energy, voice, and guitar. Very simple, but beautiful. Simplicity and beauty are sometimes very hard to accomplish.

Zoe Schneider