Meet Barbara Tamburro: Music Teacher and AuthorFebruary 23, 2011
One of my favorite parts of my job is interviewing inspiring AAUW alumnae who have dedicated their lives to pursuing their passions. Barbara Tamburro, a 2009–10 American Fellow is an excellent example of one such woman. She dedicated her life to music and proved that you can continue to do great things even when life does not go according to plan.
Tamburro’s love of music started when she learned how to play the violin at 8 years old. She participated in her school orchestra, and at the encouragement of her music teacher, she also took private lessons to further her education. People in the community recognized her talent, and the principal of the elementary school in her town asked her to be the strings teacher when she was still a high school student. After spending time working with elementary school children, Tamburro realized that she wanted to dedicate her life to teaching music.
After graduating from high school, she attended Montclair State University, where she majored in music education. She continued her studies at New Jersey City University, where she earned her master’s in music performance. Tamburro spent time playing professionally both in the United States and Europe before she took a job as a music teacher in Livingston, New Jersey. She dedicated the next 31 years of her life to teaching in Livingston, bringing both her performance and educational experience to the classroom.
Unfortunately, Tamburro was recently involved in an accident that left her unable to use her left hand. While she tragically could no longer play the violin, she decided that she still wanted to remain active in the music community and share the knowledge that she had gained from years of performing. One way she is able to do this is through writing. In 2009, Tamburro applied for and received an AAUW Summer/Short-Term Research Publication Grant to help her finish a book on string orchestra music that she had started writing several years before. “This fellowship gave me the opportunity and the confidence to finish my book. … It changed my life,” she said.
While Tamburro is currently retired from teaching, she is still actively involved in the music community. She is working on ideas for a new music book and will be speaking at several music clinics this year. Additionally, she is being honored by both the Center for Italian and Italian American Culture and the American String Teachers Association of New Jersey for her contributions to music education and her years of performance around the world.
Tamburro’s story is a testament not only to her passion for music but also to her perseverance. “When faced with adversity or unexpected change in life, never become the victim,” she said. AAUW congratulates Tamburro on the completion of her book and wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors!
This post was written by Fellowships and Grants Intern Mia Cakebread.