By Mary O’KEEFE
It was an orchestral world tour that included Budapest, Vienna and Prague. Any musician would feel honored to be part of such an exciting tour but for an 11-year-old girl the experience was especially awe-inspiring.
Eyla Najafi, a local violinist, performed for these European cities with students from her music school Classical European Music Academy Los Angeles [CEMALA] under the direction of Magdolna Berezvai.
When asked how a young person gets to tour Europe, Najafi answered, “Focus, listen and practice, practice, practice.”
Najafi said she had never experienced the beauty and culture found in Budapest, Prague and Vienna.
“It was interesting to see the different cultures and [have] the amazing musical experiences I had,” Najafi said. “I am very thankful to my teacher Magdolna Berezvai [with whom] I couldn’t have done this tour. She helped me and, without her, this tour wouldn’t have been as successful.”
Najafi added the tour was a unique experience to visit the countries where “classical music was born,” following in the footsteps of masters of classical music.
Najafi has a history of playing impressive venues that include a performance at the White House when she was 8 years old. Berezvai was her teacher then and explained her method of teaching.
“These are talented kids,” Berezvai said. “I make them work. I give them a system and, if they follow it, they will be good.”
Berezvai offers her pupils incentives. If they practice they get musical points, which can be used like funds to purchase toys from the Academy’s store. Berezvia said this teaches her young students discipline and offers a high return on investment. She added the teaching begins slowly and then matches the child’s learning pace. To be a soloist, like Najafi, though, the student must be ready. A soloist has to know the music well enough to play from memory.
Najafi is aware of the dedication required to continue her musical career.
“I had a friend who went to the violin for one day then decided, ‘No, it hurts my shoulder,’” she said. “And it does hurt your shoulder – but you get used to it.”
Additional content contributed by