Nadja Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

my thoughts

    This page is...I've decided, where I get to spew and share my opinion. I'll change it as often as my schedule allows and sometimes maybe, even sooner depending on how I am feeling about "stuff". I'll tell you now that it will rarely be about music or playing the violin except for the times when it is. I invite you to spew and share as well. For an archive of my previous opinions, click here. Email


    Dorothy DeLay died. She was my teacher. I am just one of a thousand violinists she taught. Probably more than a thousand...of course more.

    We are everywhere. In orchestra's, playing chamber music, soloists, teachers, influencing and passing on what she gave to us.

    What she gave to us very simply....was a life. A life in music, a life with the violin, a passion, a vocation, a hobby, a carreer, a job, a way of sharing something, a way of giving something, a reason to be, a life. There are so many of us scattered all over the planet doing all of this because of her.

    Well, she gave me my life anyway.

    And now the feeling in me is one of a collective. As if I can hear all the voices of all her students mourning her all over the world. We are one in our loss and it is a great, great loss.

    Let me tell you something. Dorothy DeLay was the best thing that ever happened to the violin.

    You have to understand that this woman loved the violin with a passion. I mean she loved everything about it. The details of the instrument itself, the mathematics of technique, the mastering of it, the understanding of it, the results you can get, and the beauty and passion of the music it creates. She had her methods to be sure, but she knew enough (more than any other teacher) to know any one method will not necessarily work for every student. And so, she taught us individually. Thousands of us.

    Think of that.

    And the moment in the lesson when the student figured it out for him or herself was the big reward for her. She taught us all how to teach ourselves. And I at least never walked out of a lesson without more knowledge of playing and even more importantly, more knowledge about life.

    I would talk to this woman for hours and hours. About playing yes, but also about the psychology of playing and the emotion of growing up and learning to live with it all.

    She called all of her students sugar plum...and we all called her Miss DeLay. Wether you were 6 years old or 50 years old, you called her Miss DeLay.

    She was a great teacher. And she was a great mother.

    I mourn her so deeply now......and it is ironic to me that at this time, she would have been the only one who could help me understand and accept this.

    I am so very grateful that I had her all those years. Those golden, innocent, vibrant years.

    I wish ....I wish... that I could have....just one more lesson.


    © 2001-2005 Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg