Meet Teresa, R&D Engineer at Musiversal

Hello! My name is Teresa and I work as a Research and Development (R&D) Engineer at Musiversal. 👩‍💻

Born and raised in Penafiel, a small city in the north of Portugal, I joined Musiversal in July 2021, as part of a six-month Data Science internship, while finishing my MSc in Biomedical Engineering. Since then I've been part of the R&D team and I couldn't be happier for this to be my first job experience! 

Now you're probably wondering how a Biomedical Engineer ends up at Musiversal. If you're curious, you can read this blog post, where I share a bit of my journey. 🛣️


My background, from Music to Engineering

I was about 6 years old when music came into my life, through the traditional Portuguese
cavaquinho, the first musical instrument I learnt at the local music school. I soon moved on to the classical guitar, which has been my go-to instrument ever since.

In parallel with the mandatory school studies, I attended the music conservatory, having obtained the basic level (5th degree) in Classical Guitar, Music Theory and Choir, in 2012. Even though I stopped studying music in a more serious context, it remains to be one of my passions! 🎶

Around that time, I started high school and I had to start thinking about my life choices. I always liked the natural sciences, biology and mathematics, so studying Biomedical Engineering seemed a natural choice at the time, even though I wasn’t entirely sure what it was about. I knew I wanted to help people and do something meaningful, so off I went to the University of Minho, in Braga, in search of my purpose! 

Although I had stopped studying music for a while, I kept playing and, in my 2nd year of college, I joined Gatuna - Tuna Feminina Universitária do Minho, an academic music group with which I had (and continue to have) the pleasure to travel around the country and perform on the most beautiful stages!

In 2019, music popped up once again, and I had the amazing opportunity to do a curricular internship under the Erasmus programme at the Center for Music in the Brain, in Aarhus, Denmark for 9 months, during which I developed my thesis project entitled ‘Brain Fingerprints of Musical Complexity during Jazz Improvisation’. 🧠🎹

Around July 2021, while I was preparing to defend my thesis project, and my awesome supervisor, Henrique, put me in touch with Musiversal's co-founder, because he believed Musiversal and I could establish a symbiotic relationship beneficial to both parties. And this is how my story at Musiversal began to be written…  

First steps at Musiversal

‘Wow!’ was one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I realized what Musiversal was all about! After my first contact with the company, I felt like I could be a great addition to the team, because I could relate with Musiversal’s vision of making music affordable and easier for everyone!

But I wasn’t really sure how I could help, since there were no open positions for the Engineering team. 🤔

To my great delight, Musiversal offered me the possibility to do a 6-month internship in Data Science, under Javier Mey’s (CTO) guidance, and then we would see what the future would hold. And so it officially started!

How cool it was to find out I would be working with people of various nationalities and from such different backgrounds!

But how will I manage to work remotely, without in-person interaction with my colleagues? Will I be able to create a beyond-work relationship with them? YES! Soon, my worries about remote working started to slowly go away.


It wasn't easy to adapt at first, but as time went by, I learned to appreciate the little, but exciting things that working remotely allows one to do, whether it is having a different office every day or being able to include our hobbies in our daily routines (such as gardening - my personal favorite). 🪴


My day-to-day life at Musiversal

My days have been starting around 8:00/8:30 AM, because I realized that I am most productive in the early hours of the day. When I am done with a task, such as coding a function to convert MIDI files to WAV, I usually take a small break and get a coffee, around 11 AM, where I also like to get my daily dose of 🇼🇴🇷🇩🇱🇪!

I prefer to be done with the most challenging tasks done before the daily R&D team meetings, where we debrief on the status of the on-development tasks and come up with new ways of tackling obstacles that sometimes arise.

Unless it is a Monday. After a weekend of rest, it's harder to get into a work rhythm. 😅


But it all gets better when Javi and me gather at 10:30 AM during our R&D planning meeting. After lunch, the weekly team kick-off meeting takes place, where we briefly share the main focus points for the week. On Wednesdays the entire team gets together once more, to go in more depth about the different tasks carried out in all the departments. I like these meetings, because it allows us to be on the same page!

On Fridays Javi and I have a morning 1-on-1 call, where we go through energy levels, see what we can improve in the following week and sometimes even talk about anime! This is one of my favorite meetings of the week, as it represents a perfect balance between a formal and informal meeting!

Finally, at the end of the day, on Fridays, we have the team's weekly cool-down, which is a great way to close the week! Keeping it informal, we talk about the most random topics you could think of. From melodicas to ponies, football to personal stories, it is a great way to bond and have fun together, while having a drink!     

So, in a nutshell, my days are coding, researching, coffee, meetings, coding again and free time! Not bad. Not bad at all! 😁


R&D - making the impossible a bit more possible

In the R&D team, the goal is to, as the name suggests, perform any research and development duties for the company. Using research principles and models, we perform a variety of experiments. The ultimate goal is to create novel and innovative products that elevate Musiversal’s position in the industry and market.

We start by assessing how we can find a way to ease/improve a process, whether it is for users, or for our in-house musicians. Once we find a problem to take on and have a clear idea of what it should look like (mockup of the proposed product), the research process starts! 

Are there any already-developed algorithms that might help kick-start our pipeline of operations? What data do we need to test our hypothesis? What technologies are we going to use? This involves a lot of reading and studying.

No matter the problem we are working on, our current preferable programming language to develop the necessary scripts is Python. Besides being an extremely popular language, with a huge developers community, Python has many open source frameworks and tools that allow curtailing development time.

Being a music company, our raw data is usually WAV files, but other audio formats like MP3 or MIDI might be used for further operations. 

But how exactly do we achieve our goals and develop new, exciting and useful tools? 💡

By thinking atomically and breaking down these big challenges into smaller and achievable tasks, everyday we get a little closer to our goals!


Musiversal’s culture - a diverse team of wonderful people

I never knew I could have a job where the leaders set aside hours of everyone's calendar to promote exercise, by encouraging the employees to go for a run, take a walk or exercise.  

This is just an example that shows the honest concern that exists in Musiversal to ensure a healthy and happy working environment. For me, this kind of gesture is what makes all the difference. Engineers may have the same role in distinct companies and perform similar tasks, but what we get in return at Musiversal is very special. I personally feel that my work matters and that the team recognize it. 

I feel very grateful to work with a group of kind people that is so eager to continuously achieve even amazing things! Each member of the team is extremely committed to growing the company. This kind of involvement is very rewarding, because the success of Musiversal is felt with much more depth.


Breaking the distance barriers with Musiversal

I would say that the main and most important life lesson I learned with Musiversal is that no matter how far apart people are, music still manages to bring out the deepest emotions in us. 

I came to this conclusion when I had the opportunity to attend a full day of sessions with the Prague Orchestra. Being the first time I was watching an orchestra performing remotely, I didn't have many expectations. 

In fact, I thought it would be a strange thing, sitting at my home, in Penafiel, 2010.89 km away from Prague (yup, I Googled it!) and being able to feel a connection with the music that was being played. 

Well, I couldn't be more wrong! I think I felt more goosebumps during the sessions than I had ever experienced when listening to live orchestral music…


Empowering music creators all over the world

I strongly believe this is where Musiversal plays a pivotal role. By bringing together some of the best musicians from around the world, music creators now have a chance to bring their music to life, even if they are thousands of miles away from the studios where their music is being created! 

Providing this to people is such a motivation booster! And how exciting it is to be a part of the process! 

Let’s keep improving and help more and more creators to unleash their creative skills with the help of Musiversal’s hard-working and talented team! 💪

Leave a Comment