I grew up in Vienna immersed in classical music. I loved dogs but was not allowed to have a dog because my mother didn’t want the extra work which she was sure would eventually fall on her. But I loved dogs!
In fact, I have two favorite memories, one a wirehaired dachshund named Grendi who bit me in the face..I don’t remember why but I still loved him anyway and my violin teacher’s poodle named Bibolette. Bibolette always wanted to listen to the lessons but she was always removed from the room.
I spent years perfecting my skills as a musician and soon after, I moved to the United States. I finally decided to get a dog. I was “afraid” the dog would keep me from practicing but I sort of made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t let that happen.
As it turned out my violin teacher moved to France and, as I was preparing for a special recital, I went to Burgundy to play for him and get his critique. In the small hotel I stayed in, there was the cutest hairy black dog I have ever seen in my life. She was a small Briard named Penelope and she “worked” in the reception area. Penelope changed my life!
So this was really when I got into dogs. I got my first dog Daphne, a Briard. From then on I have always taken classes and rejoiced in teaching my dogs. I found teaching dogs more interesting than teaching humans to play the violin, but I didn’t really pay attention to those feelings. However, I did become fascinated with the teaching process and breaking down the technical challenges of acquiring more technique and tools for my students to play more and more difficult pieces of music. My violin teacher had a very analytical eye and ear and so instead of saying stuff like: this needs to be more expressive he would give specific instructions like: place your bow closer to the bridge, or move it faster, or lift your fourth finger higher when you cross that string. It helped invariably.