Raffaela Acella was born in Adelaide (Australia) to Italian parents and she has been living in Euskadi for 30 years. She entered the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra as assistant first violin and she was later named Concertino (first violin) until 1995. Since 1996 she has been Violin teacher at the Conservatory and Municipal School of Music of Irun and she is also the Director of the Symphony Orchestra of the same Conservatory.
With a very solid musical background behind her, concurrently to her main career she has enriched her pedagogical knowledge by participating in a wide variety of courses and training related to the world of holistic learning and human knowledge (photographs: F. de la Hera).
You have recordings of violin concerts at the age of 11… How was your childhood?
I started studying the violin with 8 ½ years. Neither of my parents were musicians but both of them loved music, especially my father. My mother bought my first violin. I think she had a strong hunch after watching a girl playing the violin on TV in a national contest for Australian talents. I remember my father wanted me to learn the piano, but my mother won! No one asked my opinion about the choice of violin and I did not object. My parents were very strict and I simply obeyed…
At first, I had rather modest professors until with the help of some musician friends from Adelaide, my parents contacted the one who would later become my main teacher… for 13 years! From this moment, everything began to be very serious. My teacher spent a lot of time with me because, according to her, she sensed something in my potential. I realized I was improving very quickly under her tutelage and this fact motivated me a lot. I started to study many hours right away because I started to give my first concerts at the age of 10-11.
Since then, everything happened in crescendo… concerts, performances with symphony orchestras, contests. I had to reconcile my studies at school with my life as a concertist, which was very intense. As you can imagine there was not much time left for fun.
It was really a very demanding and disciplined lifestyle. However, today I can realize that thanks to my focused way of carrying out everything, I have acquired many useful tools for teaching my students and living my everyday life.
According to your deep teaching experience, how do you think parents influence the musical evolution of their children?
There is no doubt that the parents’ influence is absolutely crutial in the education and musical evolution of children. Many times among teachers we talk about the parent-child-teacher triad. To make things evolve in the most positive way, everything needs to flow in this triad. For example, if the parents do not trust the teacher, something is going to start wobbling.
Children will always be faithful to their parents no matter what happens. They do it because of love and it is impossible to be otherwise. It may happen that the teacher has the best proposals and intentions for the student, but if the parents do not want or are not convinced, there is nothing to do… literally! Over the years I have learned that the best thing we can do as teachers is to advise, because what is certain is that afterwards, each family, according to their experiences, will manage the situations as they can. I have seen and experienced through my life many variants on this subject, so I am able to say that it is absolutely true.
Do your children play any instrument?
I have explained how sacrificed and hard the study of the instrument can be, so my husband (who is a cellist in the Euskadi Orchestra) and I were very sure that we were going to introduce the music in a playful way in the life of our children. Both of them have learned various instruments.
My son plays the drums and the saxophone and my daughter plays the piano and the guitar. They enjoy and have the music integrated into their lives in a natural way… and without pressure.