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On That Note: A Living Legacy Through Former Students

Courtesy of Robert Cohen

On That Note contributor Robert Cohen often joins Lake Effect from remote locations around the world. But this month, the professional cellist was back in Milwaukee for a concert with the Fine Arts Quartet. 

This was a particularly noteworthy concert for Cohen, because he had a chance to play with a former student. Musicians often inhabit a unique world in which they're both students and teachers at the same time, so it isn't unusual for him to have an opportunity to work with his former students. 

"It's a bit like having sort of children all over the world, really, that have taken your message, have developed it in their own way, and they're also teaching themselves now," says Cohen.

He says one of the "most beautiful things" about continuing relationships with former students is hearing about the ways in which his teaching style truly spoke to them and made them better teachers and musicians.

"Recordings are fine and they are a snapshot of what you did at a certain moment. But this kind of living legacy, it feels more important now as I get on and have more and more experiences of teaching," says Cohen. 

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
For 35 years one of the worlds leading cello soloist, Robert Cohen is an award-winning recording artist, conductor, artistic director and pedagogue who has been broadcast on TV and radio throughout the world. His passionate views on the art of learning, performing and communicating music have been widely published.