Now that her children are grown, Bagaturian practices singing in Armenian, but is looking forward to learning new songs in English.
Glendale News-Press news assistant Ani Amirkhanian sat down with Bagaturian and asked her a few questions.
How did you get into teaching?
I went to London and I got a teaching certificate to teach English. I was teaching at the Iran-America Society.
People wanted to learn English. It was very popular. Persian people would see a lot of cowboy movies and films made in America. There were a lot of American films coming to Iran so people wanted to learn English or come to America.
Did you face any challenges teaching English to Farsi-speaking students?
I had my own system. For me, it was easy.
In Iran, there was an old teaching system. The old technique stated that you had to read and write first to learn the language. But I said they had to learn how to talk first. My technique was very new and productive. First, I would teach them the alphabet — I would have pictures on the blackboard. In six months, they would start understanding everything.
When did you know you had a talent for singing?
When I was 16, I was singing in a choir. The conductor said, ‘You come here and sing for me.’ He said, ‘You have a good voice.’ I was a soprano, and they would give me the solo parts.
Did you ever perform with your siblings?
No, but in my family, all the children could sing. My brother had a good voice. He could sing anything, but he didn’t like singing in front of people. My sister got into opera and she took it seriously.
What kind of songs are you singing now?
Classical. I like Armenian songs, and I want to buy a book of American songs so I can start learning them.
When you sing, your soul opens up. It’s good for the soul. Everybody should sing even if they don’t have a voice. Music is very important for the soul.