V.com weekend vote: Do you keep in touch with your former teacher(s)?

May 4, 2012, 3:13 PM · When Eastman Violin Professor Zvi Zeitlin passed away earlier this week, I was moved that so many of his current and former students came forward to memorialize him.

What a difference our teachers make in our lives! Mine have been so important to me, and I do believe I've visited every one of them, gone back for lessons, gone back for classes, gone back for advise, sent holiday cards and written a few letters (and blogs!) of gratitude.

How about you? Do you keep up with your former teacher or teachers? Pick the answer that seems to describe it best, and then tell us about it below.


May 4, 2012 at 10:10 PM · Three of my six teachers have already passed away. All six gave me valuable guidance -- I could quote memorable pointers from each of them. The one I'm especially thinking of today is my first teacher -- a real inspiration to an impressionable kid like I was.

In December 2005, I re-established contact with her. On January 6, 2006, she wrote back:

"I was so surprised, and very pleased, to get your great newsy letter! … I remember the days when I taught you and how very talented you were (and still are). What an interesting life you have had, both musically and otherwise. … I'm so impressed that you play several hours a day [since I don't earn my living in music]. I think that's great!"

I've already started drafting the next update to send her.

May 4, 2012 at 10:31 PM · I see one of mine every year at Interlochen. Some of the others, we are FB friends, but considering that they live on either the other coast or overseas... well, that's the same way I keep up with some of those friends also.

May 4, 2012 at 11:46 PM · I have not seen my boyhood violin teacher since 1982 or so, which is 30 years ago, but he is still alive at the age of approximately 92. He is a WWII veteran, having served in the Navy in the Pacific theater. He was the founding concertmaster of the Allen Park Symphony, which is now called the Great Lakes Symphony. I keep in touch with him with "some frequency" where that frequency is approximately 3E-08 Hz. (In other words -- approximately annually -- not enough.) I had another teacher briefly with whom I did not keep in touch.

May 5, 2012 at 11:50 AM · I had the experience of phoning up to arrange next lesson only to find that my teacher had died

May 5, 2012 at 02:47 PM · A few years ago I contacted and spoke to my high school era teacher. He was key to my ability to continue playing without a teacher for many years. I was glad that I had a chance to thank him. He had moved away from my home city nearly forty years ago and I moved away a few years later Two weeks ago I learned that he had passed away that week. His wife found me and contacted me through v.com.

May 5, 2012 at 08:30 PM · My piano teachers died many decades ago and, I regret to say, are now but dim shadows in the distant past, but the cello teacher of my youth, Arthur Alexander, although he died deep into retirement about 20 years ago, leaves memories and an influence that is with me still (and with many others).

May 5, 2012 at 11:33 PM · @Trevor, that's interesting. Somehow I'm able to remember all of my piano teachers (also from my school years) quite vividly, including how they spoke, where they lived, etc. They all influenced me in a variety of ways. (Same is true of violin teachers but I did not have as many of those.) But as far as piano teachers I've only been able to get in touch with one of them.

May 6, 2012 at 09:14 AM · A long time ago I bumped into my superb teacher, who was leading a well-known London orchestra at a concert. My lessons had finished seven years before when I moved away to university. I had already begun the long absence from violin which lasted for many years before I started playing again, he asked me whether I was still playing, and he was disappointed to learn that I was not. I'd like to be able to tell him that I have resumed playing but I don't know his whereabouts if he is still alive. He was such a good teacher that I haven't had one since - I remember so much of what he taught me.

May 6, 2012 at 09:59 AM · My high school era teacher passed away in 1996. I did keep in touch with him through the time I spent in Germany and in college, though. His wife, who was my 3rd grade schoolteacher, is still living, and my mother sometimes sees her in the grocery store.

My teacher when I started playing again after graduate school isn't on facebook, but he's still quite active teaching and soloing, and I'd like to get back in touch with him.

My current teacher isn't on facebook either, but we do email each other.

May 6, 2012 at 10:43 PM · Both my pianist-wife and I are fortunate to have studied with teachers who were, essentially, the last of their generation to pass on. My teachers were Howard Boatwright, Joseph Fuchs (8 years), Ivan Galamian and Arthur Grumiaux. Even my chamber music teachers are gone, except for Robert Mann, with whom I studied only a little bit, since the Juilliard Quartet went on tour and I was re-assigned to Hans Letz, a Joachim student who was brought out of retirement. Needless to say, he is long gone. My other ensemble coaches included Artur Balsam, Louis Persinger, Lillian Fuchs and Louis Poulet (in Brussels). I consider myself lucky to have studied with these representatives of a generation that is now gone. I have seen and talked to Robert Mann, but not recently. He is my only living former teacher. I admire his tenacity in continuing to occasionally perform into his 90's. I'm trying to emulate him by continuing to occasionally perform at the (almost) age of 75, albeit with some physical handicaps.

May 7, 2012 at 11:26 AM · I lost track of my teacher, and tried to track her down several years back. I found a lady by the same name whose picture looked just like her. I tried to contact her directly and through the organization on whose website the picture appeared. No response. The organization contacted me to make sure I'd heard from her, but when I told them I never heard anything the correspondence ended. My high school had an all-year music reunion about 3 weeks ago. They also went through the process of trying to contact her, but received no response. The chorus had teacher(s) there, the band had a director as well. The orchestra was evidently not represented. (I live 1500 miles away, so I didn't make it. I can only speak from reading FaceBook posts, which I do daily.) So sad.

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