stella is my oldest student. well, the one that i've taught the longest. i started teaching her violin when she was 6 and this week she turned 8. stella is the student that has taught me the most. she taught me that every kid learns differently and that i need to cater to each learning style. i have learned the most about myself as a teacher from this little ball of sunshine. she even did a "hero project" on me for her school! stella has greatly improved in her two years with me, and i am very proud of her. i talk about her so much that my friends have started saying "i think stella's my favorite."
every once in a while, stella's mom asks me to babysit. now, stella's mom is quite influential in the entertainment business, shall we say, so it's always an exciting adventure when i babysit. new stories or new friends to meet. and, they live in a beautiful neighborhood tucked away in LA (i love the scenic drive). In the past we have gone for fro-yo dates, she taught me the basics of being a gymnast on the trampoline, i even took her to the zoo once (that was a hoot!). so, when stella's mom asked if she could hire me to help out with stella's birthday party, i said "oh yeah!"
it was mustache-pajama themed. there was a bounce house, popcorn machine, mustache pinata, trampoline, movie theater, the works. i was in charge of painting glitter mustaches on all the little guests (30 eight-year olds. woof.) and giving them mustache finger tattoos. then i helped pass out pieces of the 36-inch pizza to all the girls. it was really sweet at the end of the day when everyone was watching the movie "coraline" and stella specifically asked to sit in my lap to watch the movie. i whispered to her and said "this is an awesome party" and stella grinned the biggest i've ever seen and said "i know!!" and we fist-bumped. ha! before i knew it, all of her little friends were laying on me and i felt like the popular kid? it was a funny sight.
i am very grateful to be a part of this little girl's life. she brings me so much joy. a wonderful reminder that being a violinist/teacher in LA can be more than just business. building relationships is the foundation of music: relationships between you and your instrument, you and your teacher, you and your employers. life is full of possibilities and dreams are never too big.
happy birthday stellie.