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Student story

Miho Wada

02 August 2023

"I had already loved playing music, but UC was where I learnt more about the history and theory in depth..."


Bachelor of Music

Performing Musician

Music Teacher, King’s School, Auckland

CEO, Florestar Ltd, Auckland

"I feel so lucky to have already achieved so many of my goals," Miho says. "I am very grateful to be doing everything I had ever dreamed of."

Miho has certainly achieved much thanks to her passion for music. Originally from Japan, Miho spent much of her childhood playing a number of instruments including the trumpet, marimba, marching drums, accordion, recorder, saxophone, piano and flute.

After moving to Christchurch with her family and graduating high school, she was motivated to make a career out of her love for music and enrolled at UC in Performance Flute.

"I grew up in Christchurch and I loved it so much it didn’t even occur to me to look elsewhere!" she says. "University was the first time in my life that I was allowed to just concentrate on what I loved the most - music. I had already loved playing music, but UC was where I learnt more about the history and theory in depth."

Miho found UC the perfect place to study with like-minded people.

"The Music department was full of interesting and inspiring students and tutors. I really enjoyed my time there. It’s a small department so the bond was strong and everyone was so supportive towards each other. It was an ideal environment for me to study."

After graduating and being accepted into the International Golden Key Honour Society for exceptional grades, Miho spent much of her time spreading her music throughout the world. She moved to London to study a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance Flute at the Trinity College of Music, during which she took part in chamber music concert tours across the UK. She later moved to Malta to play for the National Orchestra of Malta before moving to Santiago de Cuba and falling in love with Cuban music.

Miho then began to perform her own original compositions and in 2011 formed her ja band Miho’s Ja Orchestra combining Cuban and Japanese style music, which has sold albums and completed several sold-out tours throughout New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Their distinctive style and Miho’s energetic performances has earned her the title “Punk Flute Ninja”.

Throughout her career, Miho has headlined in major music festivals internationally and performed alongside well-known musicians such as Nigel Kennedy, the Buena Vista Social Club, Iggy Pop and opened for the Exponents.

When she isn’t busy touring the world, including travelling with her new baby, Miho also teaches music privately and at the King’s School in Auckland and manages her own record company business Florestar Ltd.

"Performing music is my main passion and it is very cool to be able to keep going with my performance career while having a stable job at one of the best schools in the country. The school I work at has such a fantastic music department and I love helping students learning music there. I also teach from home after school and I have students from beginners to diploma levels.

"I work as a music teacher at school four days a week and I run my own business three days a week. We then usually plan our tour dates around the school holidays. I manage most of the performance bookings myself too, so that can get quite busy. I also run a small music/record company, mainly to publish and distribute my music (audio and scores) world-wide."

Miho is very grateful for her chance to both teach and share her music with the world.

"I am very lucky to be able to work in the field I am super passionate about. Performing onstage gives me the energy to keep going and working with children keeps me young at heart and makes me become more creative. It is extremely rewarding to be able to pass on my passion and skills to the next generation."

Miho’s performances and music can be followed through her website.

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