Jane Barsumian provided a remembrance of Musician Norman Black

Jane Barsumian

“I came to my violin teacher, Norman Black, as an adult of thirty two years old, referred by his friend, Henk Schram, who had been my teacher for two years when I lived in the Netherlands! Henk played in the Concertgebouw orchestra and they had been visited by the Philadelphia orchestra in which Norman played.

How fortunate I was that these two, along with their wives, had become friends!

At first, I could travel to Norman in Jenkintown from my home in Wayne, Pa, but within less than one year, we moved to Harrisburg, Pa. Norman was an excellent teacher, a combination of compassion and strictness, which is a good balance for any teacher. I was determined to keep studying with him; so, every other week, I made the trip down the Pa. turnpike, about two hours, for my lesson. Needless to say, I practiced faithfully.Norman’s wife, Brenda, wouldn’t have me drive the two hours back without feeding me lunch, and we had some lovely conversations during that time. I wish I could have studied with him longer, but a “life situation” created the necessity for me to return to graduate school in counseling education.

As a result of my lessons, I was able to audition for the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, and played in the first violin section there for four years before once again leaving the area. I was also concert master of a small orchestra funded by C.E.T.A. (Comprehensive Education and Training Act) which visited schools and nursing homes in the Harrisburg area. Today, I am able to teach violin as a result of the excellent foundation given to me even in my adult years! I have so much gratitude that these wonderful violinists would devote time to a more mature student.” To see more of Jane’s work click here.

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