Meet Filipino percussionist Zara Rivera

By Irene de Jesus Obligacion

Zara Rivera has been a professional percussion player since 2012. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Zara Rivera earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) andcompleted her Education course from the University of the Philippines (UP) Open University Faculty of Education. Zara is also a Google Certified Educator.

Zara has been playing concert percussion professionally since 2012. She was a member of the Manila Symphony Orchestra and a program musician for the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) and the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra.

She is an officer of the Percussive Arts Society of the Philippines, which was awarded as PAS outstanding Chapter in 2021.

Currently, Zara is a Music teacher at the Everest International Academy. She provides percussion/drum lessons to several students from the International School Manila and British School Manila.

We had a short chat with Zara online, and here is that conversation.

What motivates you in your career?

Love of learning, with others, through others. I always get excited when new opportunities come, whether it’s teaching a class or individual lesson. Preparing for an audition, studying parts and learning/relearning percussion instruments for an upcoming performance. It is a continuous adventure that gives me inspiration and enables me to discover new challenges which cultivates both my personal and professional growth.

What is the most important thing a musician should practice in order to be a successful member of an orchestra?

A sense of professionalism. Every orchestra has its ups and downs, and a true professional musician focuses his or her energy in a positive way. When a player sees that something is not working well, he or she needs to take action and seek solutions. Punctuality and preparedness are key in building professional relationships and making a great impression. Being able to cooperate and collaborate with any of the members of the orchestra is one of the expected behaviors. Ultimately, a musician should be depended on to do what they are committed to do.

What are you most thankful for?

I am beyond grateful for the support and encouragement from family, friends, and colleagues. Most importantly, I am fortunate to be able to perform two different roles as an educator and percussionist which enables me to share my knowledge and skills and connect with others through music.