Teacher Feature: Cecilia Shehade
We are happy to announce that our wonderful instructor Cecilia is now accepting new students! Cecilia has been an instructor with The Music Abode for over a year now. With a love for piano that goes back to first playing at 4-years-old, Cecilia is very committed to ensuring her students receive consistent growth and enjoyment from their lessons.
Cecilia remembers all of her instructors and the unique impact each teacher made in her music education. She began lessons in Kindergarten in Berkeley with Sister Gemma. Sister Gemma would “tenderly point out to the little pillows on the tips of my fingers and remind me that is where I had to make contact with the keys.” Soon after, she recalls learning from another instructor in the Berkeley hills, Mr. Bardell, who introduced fun music and recitals. At age 11, Cecilia’s family moved to Lima, Peru and spent some time searching for just the right instructor. The first was Senora Clemencia, who taught her how to play “lovely little Sonatinas” would fall asleep whenever she would play flawlessly so occasionally Cecilia would play a wrong note to see if she could wake her up, in which it always did! Cecilia then studied with Mr. Servansky, who was known as the best teacher in Lima, this was who taught her the importance of practice and proper technique. She mentions that she still knows “all the music he taught me by heart today.” Moreover, there was one lesson with Mr. Servansky she recalls very clearly to date.
Perhaps I was having trouble as a teenager finding time to practice and he held up a pencil and explained to me, in detail, all the work that it took to make that pencil, beginning with the chopping of the tree, to the finished product. He really impressed upon me that anything worthwhile in life takes work, diligence and discipline.
After graduating from the American School in Lima, Cecilia returned to the United States and studied music at San Francisco State University in which she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Arts with Music. She studied under Carlo Bussotti and another instructor who taught at Stanford. Bussotti was very serious and strict but occasionally with pieces like Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude, he would soften his approach along with the expression of the piece.
Cecilia’s students appreciate the level of ease and guidance she brings introducing new concepts and techniques. After obtaining her degree, she left the states again to Jubail, Saudi Arabia with her new husband where she taught music at Madinat Al Jubail and later at the British International School in Jeddah. Most recent she taught classroom music at Our Lady of the Pilar elementary.
Music is all in the family now with Cecilia. Her husband is a singer, her son Ray plays the violin and other son Philip sang with the Pacific Children’s Chorale, and her daughter Camille played cello with Patty Hicks in Orange for some years although she prefers to sing.
Cecilia sincerely believes “in the joy of music and is always grateful to be able to share the joy with others.”