My violin instructor and Master Teacher Brenda Chambers has lived her life with a love of music and has done many incredible things. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and completed studies at the New England Conservatory of Music. She has achieved high recognition for her advanced work in cello performance at Boston University which led to performances with several symphony orchestras in the Greater Boston area.
Chambers developed string programs for the Cambridge Massachusetts School System and served as a master teacher of cello at the University of Wisconsin. Her vast knowledge in the art of music led to an invitation to join the faculty as a master teacher of the Bornoff String Teachers Association where she trained music teachers worldwide. She also served as a string consultant nationally from 1980–92. During her association with George Bornoff, which only ended with his death, she authored and edited six pioneering books of string education.
I interviewed Chambers after violin lessons in May to learn what makes her do what she does. She told me the music is part of her soul, that she sees music everywhere, and when she sees or hears the rhythms, it makes her “feel so good.” Her mother took her to a concert when she was a little girl and she then knew that is what she wanted to do. Her mother and father supported her in this, all their lives. She started playing piano when she was “little tiny, tiny,” but she discovered cello when she was 10 and that became her most beloved instrument.
Chambers played orchestra in grade school and high school, found her master teacher, Dr. Bornoff, when she was out of college, and studied with him for 10 years.
Jascha Heifetz, her favorite composer of all time, was the best in the world and Chambers’ teacher Bornoff studied with him before becoming her teacher.
Chambers plays all the string instruments, including ukulele, and also piano and the recorder. Her favorite instrument is still her cello, but she has also grown to love the violin over the last seven years because of her students. She enjoys teaching because she loves watching what happens to me and all her students when we progress, and how happy it makes me and her other students. Her greatest joy is to see us playing well.
She likes all kinds of music, including the band Queen. Her most memorable moment from her career was the first year of teaching at Cambridge, when she and her co-teacher had 500 string students. Chambers has a student who is currently touring in Europe, and she also has a student who teaches at the UofA. She has countless students who have continued in music.
The Tucson String Choir Academy is offering string classes to children as young as 4, although students of any age will benefit from string education. For more information, call Chambers at 520-404-1950.