Playing it forward Music teacher Faith Alessio shares ways she finds fulfillment besides performing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Salisbury Symphony staff was overjoyed to receive news that a Suzuki-trained musician and teacher had moved into our area and was interested in working with the after-school strings program.
Faith Alessio began the first Suzuki class a year ago and has not looked back. This year, those students are continuing, and a brand-new class of Suzuki beginners has formed.
Faith explained why she “plays it forward” this way:
“For me, the idea of ‘playing it forward’ began when I was 12 or 13. My family would take weekly trips to a local assisted living home where my siblings and I would play and sing for the residents. At the time, it was a chore, although I always enjoyed seeing the smiles that we brought to their faces. Now, I am preparing my own students to share their talent in the exact same way.
“For some musicians, professional performance is their career. This is a wonderful and fulfilling path to take, but it requires a certain set of talents, resources and priorities. I know that not every child I teach is going to become a concert violinist. What I don’t want is for my students to become the ones who say what I hear so many parents say today: ‘Oh, I played violin in school. Can’t remember a thing now.’ This, however, will be their fate if they are not shown ways to find fulfillment in making music and given opportunities to ‘play it forward’ themselves.
“A couple of months ago, I saw a student ecstatic because he finally overcame stage-fright by playing for a room full of elderly patients. Just last week, I spoke with a mother who was nearly in tears because her daughter had finally played a ‘real’ song on a recital. That performance was filmed and put up online to be shared with family and friends back home in India who would never be able to hear her play in person.
“Moments like these remind me why I pour so much time and effort into these young players. I only hope that these opportunities are just as inspirational for the students who are learning how to share their lives with others in the same way.”
For more information about After-School Strings classes, call 704-637-4314, or visit the symphony’s website at
Note: This is the fourth in a series of short stories submitted by the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra to spotlight its teachers.