When I began learning piano 17 years ago, I had no intention of becoming a piano teacher. Of course, I was 7 at the time and was making no decisions on my career at that age. Today, teaching piano and studying piano pedagogy and music education has become my everyday life. So why the change?
My Roots in Performing
I began my music journey by wanting to be a performer, although I was painfully shy in every aspect of my life. I saw a segment on TV broadcasting pianist Yundi Li’s performance and was mesmerized by the command he held over the audience with a single spotlight and a piano. No words were needed for him to express himself, when the music effortlessly spoke for him. This performance inspired me to want to become a performer, and so I asked my parents for piano lessons. For the next 13 years, I continuously engaged in performances. I performed piano pieces at recitals, competed at local competitions, and joined local talent shows. Aside from piano, I began playing the guitar and ukulele, and began singing at local gigs and fundraisers.
Performing gave me a voice, even when I was too shy to say my piece. It let me express myself, when I didn’t have the words to do so. To this day, I cherish performing, even though it still makes my heart pound with nerves every time. When I am on the stage, I remember that I have the ability to create, to be brave, and to share.
The Turn to Teaching
I teach, because all musicians are students, and all musicians are teachers. I learn from my students every time we have a lesson, because they inspire me to think of new ways to explain musical concepts like rhythm and phrasing. I learn from my students when I see them become inspired, and I see what a difference in their playing that can make. While I have been trained for many years in music, I do not think I am at the finish line yet. I am merely another student of the great world of music, trying to tap more into what makes music so enjoyable, so emotional, and so effective. Being a teacher has been a great way to improve myself as a musician.
I teach, because it is a way of keeping music alive, in a time when the fine arts are put on a back burner. Of course, there will be artists creating works and sharing them towards the audience, but most musicians will begin by having someone guide and inspire them. I hope to be that teacher that inspires their students to become artists, to become emotionally aware, and to live a more meaningful life because they can communicate with music. It is the best way I can think of to contribute back to my community.