On the Record
by Grace Carmen
Jun 10, 2009 | 18748 views | 0 0 comments | 719 719 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Few could make the transition from Farmington, Maine, to New York with ease. And fewer still pick up the violin at the age of four. But for Sarah Geller, these things just come natural.

After following her older sister around for months, watching her play the violin and study with a private teacher, Geller begged her mother to let her start. Not surprisingly, her mother was skeptical about letting a small child commit to something so serious.

"When it was obvious that I really wanted it, she said okay," remembers Geller.

She never looked back, saying "it was always sort of a part of me." She studied at the School for Strings at P.S. 116 and later attended Manhattan School of Music. A teacher once sat Geller and her mother down and explained that Sarah was extremely gifted and could become a professional if she really wanted it.

And Geller did just that, founding a group called SEGUE, an ensemble Geller said is meant to be flexible "so we can do different kinds of music and work with different kinds of people and incorporate dance as well."

In addition to being director and teacher of the music program at P.S. 116 for a decade, she also established her own studio at Williamsburg Neighborhood Nursery School.

A student of the Suzuki method of teaching which emphasizes the individual and the idea that any child can learn to play in a nurturing environment, Geller is adamant about consistency and continuity with teaching.

"I really enjoy creating something and nurturing a program," said Geller, who currently has 11 families under her wing and hopes to expand next year. The students range in age from 3 to 12 and a private and group lesson each week.

The performer turned teacher said she has "always strived for the balance between performing and teaching. They feed off each other and that balance has helped both sides."

Self-managed, she has performed from coast to coast at prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and Georgetown University. Geller is performing at Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg on Thursday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m.

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