Writings About Music

First Music Teacher

Letter from Michael Robinson to his first music teacher, Ben DiDia, Camp Avenue Elementary School, North Merrick, NY

June 29, 1967

Dear Mr. DiDia,

I have been one of your many musical students for 2 years. During those 2 years I have worked with the most talented, understanding and funny music teacher I ever had or will have. You taught me all I know about my instrument and made it easy to learn.

I regret moving mainly because I will miss you as a great teacher and friend.

Your friend forever,

Michael Robinson

* * * * * * * * * * *

I still remember clearly the day Ben DiDia came into my third grade class to give us a music aptitude test, which would determine if we were qualifiied to be in the band. I was one of the students fortunate enough to be selected, and I next recall our first meeting with Mr. DiDia in the band room where he examined my hands and decided that I would do well with the trumpet because they were large.

DiDia, who I later learned was a fine clarinetest, gave me an excellent introduction to the art of music because he was highly enthusiastic, disciplined, and had a good sense of humor too, though I cannot recall any specific jokes he told.

Fortunately, the band teachers I had after moving to Wantagh, NY were also excellent. They were Richard Baffa in Junier High, and Rollan Masciarelli in High School. I remained oblivous to the fact that they were all Italian-American until well into my college years.

Details about my early musical life are discussed in an Autobiography originally published by electronicmusic.com in 1997.

- Michael Robinson, August 2011, Los Angeles


© 2011 Michael Robinson All rights reserved

Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).