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Having a stellar 50-year career as a leading cellist with some of the world’s most famous orchestras is a phenomenal achievement. However, for Dave Loew, his passion for music was a source of torment throughout his childhood which still haunts him to this day.

The 73-year-old recently released his 14th album entitled For the Love of the Cello: A Fifty Year Career Celebration.The 24-track album features some of Dave’s most popular recordings including beautiful ballads Unchained Melody, Annie’s Song and Candle in the Wind.

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Famed for his stints in the prestigious Sydney, Melbourne and London Symphony Orchestras, Dave’s talent for the cello emerged when he was just six years old. However, by the time he landed at a boy’s boarding school in Nairobi, Kenya, he was cruelly branded a ‘sissy’ for playing the instrument, and bullied unrelentingly.

Daily torments by school bullies

“There were prefects in the school who tormented me every day about playing the cello,” Dave admits. “It was a sports mad school and I was considered a wimp. Whenever I was in the music room boys would crank the guitars up so I couldn’t hear anymore. Other times they would ride their horses into the dormitories expecting the weaker boys to clean up the mess with their toothbrushes. I used to lie in my bed in fear at night as they’d sometimes come looking for me with cricket bats.

“Back then it was a different era. You were just expected to man up and get on with things, even though I was ringing my mother everyday begging her to come and get me. I was so traumatized that I couldn’t concentrate so my studies suffered. Luckily, I always had my cello to fall back on. I’m not sure what would have become of me if it weren’t for music. I did my best to cope, but it really set off a chain of anxiety within me which has lasted my whole life, leading to PTSD and depression.”

Is your child a bully?

Now a staunch anti-bullying advocate, Dave says it’s important for parents to not only ask their kids if they have been a victim of bullying, but also to quiz them on whether they are the ones doing the bullying.

“Parents really need to question how their child relates to other kids. How do they treat others? Are they kind and respectful to other kids? Do they ever say hurtful things?

“When a child is getting bullied there are often signs – perhaps a child is withdrawn or sad. But if your child is the one doing the bullying, you might not have any idea.”

Dave says it’s important to try to get a sense of who your child is, and to put a stop to any harmful behaviour. “The effects of bullying can be so long lasting if you suspect your child is being unkind to someone you need to sort it out immediately. I’m just glad I never gave up on the cello despite all the teasing about it. I’ve ended up having a fabulous 50 years in music.”

Dave’s album For the love of the Cello: A Fifty Year Career Celebration is available to stream. For the CD or a copy of Dave’s autobiography I Am Cellist visit www.daveloew.com.au

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  • So so so sad. The effect of bullying reaches far into the adult lived of many children. It’s just devastating

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  • bullying is something that scares you for life. You need to find things that make you happy to ensure that the scares are not permanent

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  • Great story. Sad to hear of people treated so bad. Hope it no longer happens.

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  • I’ve always been vigilant in how my children viewed bullying. Always made sure they were aware of not oppressing anyone. great article

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  • This is a really great article and makes an important point to be keeping a look out if your kid is being bullied or being the bully

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  • I’ve always taught my kids that being kind is THE most important thing and I can honestly say that they’ve always made me super proud in the way that they treat others.

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  • I think he is so correct in saying we should be aware that our child may be the bully. So many parents wear blinkers.

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  • I have listened to David Loew play the cello. His music is beautiful.

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  • Such an inspiring story! I hope this can help others

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  • What a inspirational story and yes music is magic

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  • I remember I read this story before, I’m glad his cello helped him through !

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  • What an interesting story, I always love hearing when the bullied becomes more successful

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  • Heartbreaking but moving story.
    Bullies are awful, buy I can see how the behaviour must come from somewhere. It has to be learned

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  • Bullies and how they treat you can really stay with you for life. It’s a good reminder to teach our kids kindness early on

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  • I’m glad he pushed through as look where he is now.
    There are always going to be bullies, people just need to teach their kids to stand up to them no matter what. I know it is hard at times but I think they need to be called out so that something can be done about their behaviour.

    Reply

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