Tickling the ivories
When the sounds of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise seeped through the house, I would jump onto my father’s lap as he was playing piano and “finish” the songs by banging the keys. I was three years old and had just started taking piano lessons. Two years later, I was introduced to Shu-Hao Pao, who guided me through local, state, national and international competitions but also taught me the joy of giving back to the community. As part of the Houston Young Artists Concert, I have performed at hospitals, nursing homes and other outreach concerts in Houston.
Commitment is a must in the piano world. I practice 4-5 hours a day normally, and 7-8 hours when preparing for a competition.
In 2006, I applied for acceptance to the pre-college division at The Juilliard School in New York City. My acceptance there opened a different chapter in my life. For the past 3 years, I have flown to Juilliard every Saturday, studying music theory, solfege (ear training), chamber music and piano performance. My private studies and the healthy competition that is hosted at Juilliard have helped me develop as an artist.
This past summer, I was a participant at the Aspen Music Festival and studied with renowned pianist Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky. I have begun 2010 by participating in the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ YoungArts program in Miami as one of only three piano finalists in the United States.
People ask how I can practice for so long, and the answer is simple. What glues me to that piano bench is a desire to improve, an endeavor for perfection and mostly a love of music. As a universal language, music is what can always bring diverse groups of people together and touch their hearts.
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