Happy Birthday, Cello Daughter!

I wrote, in a previous post, In Which I Introduce the Love of my Life that “the cello has been…my synchronistic entree, one way or another, into every major relationship…of my life.” Here is the story of one of them.

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Me, (in comments on the picture):
What a GORGEOUS baby. Genevieve has been a huge huge blessing in my life, since age 2! Thank you Johanne…for making this relationship possible!

Genevieve’s Mom, (who posted the photo on Facebook, yesterday):
Jo-Anne, I still clearly remember our first conversation (on the phone). Who could have imagined that 28 years later, we would still be at it (with new technology however). Thanks for being her cello mom.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is the piece with which all Suzuki students, regardless of instrument, start their studies. In their very earliest days as music students, the tiny players who do not yet play any pieces are called “pre-Twinklers”. At one point in my cello teaching career, I offer what is referred to, in Suzuki circles, as a pre-pre Twinkle class. Three or four tiny children, between 18 months and about 2 1/2, too young to begin the formal study of a musical instrument, come twice a week to the very small class. The kids sit on the floor with Mom or Dad and do useful and fun musical activities, centred around the Suzuki approach. A child can take the class as general musical enrichment, or continue on violin or on the cello. It is a lot of work, and the majority of my tiny students do not continue with me after the classes are over. I stop offering this after a few years. However, three of the kids who have taken the class do begin cello with me at age 3. Today, one is a quite prominent Canadian composer, one the principal cellist of a professional Canadian symphony orchestra and the third is Genevieve.

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When Genevieve is 8, several of my cello families attend a four day family music camp in Michigan. I go as well, not as a teacher but with my own three kids, all string players too. That year, and for several subsequent years, Genevieve has her birthday at camp. On her 8th birthday morning, she seeks me out and wonders, Where is her present from me? I sneak off to the gift shop and hurriedly remedy the situation. Even then, Genevieve considers me her cello Mom.

At age 10, I happen to be driving her home from a cello event. She loudly and enthusiastically informs me from the back seat that she plans to be a Suzuki cello teacher when she grows up.

Age 12, she phones me one evening to ask where a cello rehearsal is being held. and oh yes, she knows I have five cats, so do I want to adopt a dog? Her Mom has rescued a puppy and the family has too many pets to keep him. She brings the four month old dog along to the rehearsal, where we all exclaim and fuss over him. That puppy is our dear, dear Frankie.

When Genevieve is a teenager, for several summers I run a small, week long day camp for just my own cello kids at the rural home of one of them. The Suzuki Dad owns a pool installing business. We play cello, hike along the river and swim all afternoon in the salt water pool which has huge natural rocks set into the side for jumping in purposes. It is the best music camp ever! Genevieve is one of the counsellors for the little cellists, and teaches her first group lessons at that camp. (Another cello daughter features in this event too, but it is not her birthday!)

After her undergrad degree (majoring in cello, of course) she earns a Master’s in Suzuki pedagogy at a US university.

She starts team teaching group classes with me six years ago, commuting to the new town where I have moved. Now running her own program in our original city, she also teaches many of my former students’ private lessons and will teach more, next year, commuting between our two locations. While in my town, she has been using my home studio one day a week to teach. When I dismantled my studio earlier this month, she took about 95% of the teaching materials home, a win-win for us both. We speak several times weekly, by email, instant message and Facebook. We talk cello teaching of course, but also about everything else. As I said earlier, she is a huge, huge blessing in my life.

Happy birthday, dear cello daughter!

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(An unrelated note: I tried to post links in this post but cannot tell, until I publish, if they have worked. If they do not, and anyone knows WordPress and can help me out, I would be grateful. Thanks.)

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One thought on “Happy Birthday, Cello Daughter!

  1. What a sweet sweet post. Totally made my day. You have been such a big part of my life, I really can’t imagine what it would have been without you (and needless to say cello). Thank you 🙂 – Genevieve

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