Today we’d like to introduce you to Daveen DiGiacomo.
Daveen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It is no surprise that I forged a path to become a music teacher to young children, as music has always been a constant thread in my life. My Italian grandmother was an amateur opera singer who sang my mother to sleep every night with “O mio babbino caro”, even though my own mother could not carry a tune in a bucket! So when I came along after three sports-driven boys, she was determined to carry on that musical gene she missed and had me taking piano lessons at six. I am forever grateful to her for that gift of music. It saved me from those crazy tween years. Music was the one thing I loved and became obsessed with. I would drive my family nuts by practicing piano well into the night and keeping everyone up!
In 2007, I started teaching Music Together® in SF, which is a worldwide, research-based music & movement program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their caregivers. Though I had taught orchestra for elementary school kids, I had no experience with this age group at all. Children at this age are incredibly intuitive and can sense fear like an animal, I was terrified! I saw myself as a serious musician, but here I was trying to motivate sleep-deprived parents to burp like frogs and move around like hairy spiders. I had “imposter syndrome” that first year, but was compelled by the experience. I started to hear two-year-olds matching pitch and seeing parents on the first day feeling awkward and timid, transform to singing with gusto by the end of class, even if they sang out of tune! It was beginning to feel fun and extremely gratifying. I became excited about providing this platform for families to have a little musical escape from the chaos of daily life while helping their children achieve basic music competence.
I eventually moved to North County San Diego in 2012 to open up my own Music Together center in Encinitas. We started with two families and now have two-hundred-fifty. We have enjoyed steady growth with families now enrolling their third child with us. It makes my heart melt knowing that they choose to make our program and music a priority in their lives.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I ended up taking the bumpy fire-road. Beautiful scenery, but not exactly smooth riding. In 2015, I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. When they called with my biopsy results, the first thing I said to the nurse was, “But I can’t cancel my classes!”. I still cannot believe I said that. I didn’t think about my mortality or the fact that I was just diagnosed. All I could think about was the anxiety of having to take time off and keep our music center running. When you own a small business, there is no sick-leave. It was sobering and hard to accept. I didn’t exactly think to add cancer into the annual budget…
After my surgery, I went right back to teaching after three weeks. I wasn’t allowed to lift my right side for months, which posed a big problem as I play accordion in class. I wore an arm sling and told everyone I hurt my shoulder to avoid any questions. I was ridiculously secretive about it. We are essentially joy machines. I was afraid if our families knew I had cancer, it would change the whole dynamic in our classes. I came home every day exhausted and in pain, but I knew I was incredibly lucky since they got it early. After that experience, it filled me with a quiet confidence to handle just about any obstacles that come up with owning a small business.
Please tell us more about your work. What do you do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
Blossom Music Tree is a music center for families! We specialize in the Music Together program, leading our families in music activities, ranging from lullabies to full-on jam sessions with child-friendly instruments.
What sets us apart is that everything we do is rooted in research with a purpose, yet we excel at making it fun and engaging for the children AND the parents. Blossom Music Tree provides a developmentally appropriate environment that supports all learning styles. We don’t expect your child to ‘sit still and listen’, because that is not how they learn at this age. Every session, families receive a new collection of music with an illustrated musical story songbook. All of the music that we sing in class is in the range of children’s voices, giving them the opportunity to learn to sing in tune and keep a steady beat.
I am proud of our center for the community that we create together in every class! Experiencing all of our families connecting through making music is exciting and rewarding. And most of all, for a wholly creative experience, we embrace 100%LIVE singing, no back-up CD’s.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is a loaded word–it has a unique definition for everyone. For me, it isn’t about numbers or how many families enroll into our program. Success is found in sustainability, in creating a quality experience for all of our families. To do what we do every day, we have to love it–authenticity is mandatory with children! I genuinely love bringing music into the lives of our families and as long as they are loving it too, that defines success for me!
- Website: www.BlossomMT.com
- Phone: 323-333-6646
- Email: Director@BlossomMT.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blossommusictree
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlossomMusicTree
- Other: Classes offered in Encinitas & Rancho Bernardo
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