Q&A with Nancy M. Schwartz

What inspired you to write Up Bow, Down Bow?

After I saw the photo on our book cover. The picture was taken by Alex’s helper Kristen Culligan and emailed to me that day by Alex’s teacher, Mrs. Gambone. It was the first day of Alex’s first cello lesson. The joy, and beauty of his smile is rare. Alex only smiles that way when he feels it. I knew that this cello lesson journey needed to be shared. I myself had initially thought it would be impossible. After the first lesson, I knew it was possible because of April and how she teaches.

Who should read this book? For whom was it written?

This book should be read by new educators, and educators in the field for a long time, especially music teachers, administrators, parents of children with special needs, parents of typical children, young people, and adults needing hope, and anyone that is looking for a book to inspire.

How does the overall style and structure of the book relate to its content?

The Structure, and Style is a chapter by Nancy M. Schwartz, a chapter by April E. Beard, and ends with an epilogue and technical terms. It is a guide to educators and people on how everyone can learn, and shares the path we are on to learn, and appreciate the beauty of cello music together.

If you could only leave readers with one lesson from the book, what would it be?


When were you sure of Alex interest in learning to play music?

The first day of Alex’s first lesson with April. Alex’s happiness level was off the charts. Alex loves music more than ever after these last four years studying the cello with April.  He loves playing it, and listening to it, live or on the radio.

What advice would you give young parents whose child has just gotten a diagnosis of Down syndrome?

My advice is much like the advice Barbara Bowman gave me. “This baby is a child, a source of joy, and a source of pain like any child.”

 Additionally, Grace Wadell’s advice lives in my heart still,

 “People will respond to him the way you respond to him. He is an addition, he is not taking anything away from Josh and Sam, (my other children), and finally, say the serenity prayer. “G-d, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Alex with his music teacher & co-author, April E. Beard

Nancy M. Schwartz & April E. Beard recording the audiobook version of Up Bow Down Bow (2023)

Nancy M. Schwartz with her 3 Sons (Alex, Sam & Josh) and teacher at Upper Merion Middle School for Alex’s first cello performance

Take a look at Q&A with Nancy M. Schwartz’z about her first book

Up Not Down Syndrome: Uplifting Lessons Learned from Raising a Son with Trisomy 21 (2020)