Sunday, March 12, 2023

Winter updates for students' achievements 2022

We have had a good season so far, and I am proud to see many of our students accomplish so much in the mid-academic year! Dr. Chang Piano Studio: Studio (

Many students have been studying with me for years, and I have enjoyed seeing them grow. Most of them are now pre-teens or teenagers!! Here is a little tribute to each one of them. 

Sanyi Yao: 1st Place Winner, Outstanding Gold Medalist and special scholarship. This was the third time that Sanyi won the Gold medal in the Sat Winner Concert, in which all the first-place winners will compete again for the best performance and the gold medal. Previously, she also received Grand Prize Showcase Award in the Pelican international music competitions. 

Cindy Liang: 2nd Place Winner. Showcase Piano Solo Category 12, Junior Division; Cindy has previously won first and 2nd places in other categories. This is her first time competing in the Showcase category, a 7 min free program with age limitation. This category is intended for "exceptionally talented" students, according to USOMC. 

Evan Qiu: 2nd Place Winners the Treasury of Romantic and Contemporary Composers Category 4 and 5, Junior Divisions. This is Evan's first time participating in the USOMC! 

Rishi Ranganathan: 3rd Place Winner the Treasury of Contemporary Composers Category 5. Rishi has previously won 2nd place in various categories in the USOMC.

Maggie Sun: 4th Place winner Showcase Piano Solo Category 12, Junior Division. Maggie has previously won first and 2nd place in the USOMC. She was also a 1st place winner in the 2021 CAPMT Honors competition and Pelican international music competitions.

Nov-Jan 2022 RCM EXAMS
First Class Honors with Distinction 90-100
Veronica Zhu Level 2, this is Verionia's first RCM Exam!

First Class Honors 80-89
Shari Walczak, Level 6, has previously achieved First class honors with Distinction and the Royal Conservatory of Music State and Center Certificate of Excellence twice!

Judy Liang Level 2, Judy has also completed level 1 with first-class honors. 

Congratulations to these students, and I will keep updating other students' achievements in the next quarter!  

Students winning competitions 2023

In Feb, my students won top prizes in the 2023 United States Open Music Competitions. It is an annual competition in a recital format and offers multiple categories for elementary to advanced-level students. Although the competition will only award one Gold medalist, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places are given to more than one student depending on the judges' discretion.

USOMC also gives special scholarship prizes to the Outstanding Gold medalists who competed against all other gold medalists in the Sat winners concert. My student Sanyi won this particular award four years in a row!! 

Congratulations to:

Sanyi Yao: view her video (Ginastera Danza Argentinas III)
1st Place Winner, Outstanding Gold Medalist and the Special scholarship in Showcase Piano Solo Junior Division

Reina Lin: 
Gold Medal in the Treasury of Contemporary composers Junior
Third Place in the Treasury of Romantic composers Junior

Larry Pham:
3rd place in the Open Solo 4B
4th Place in the Treasury of Contemporary composers Intermediate

Monday, August 22, 2022

MTAC Santa Clara County Branch Piano Pedagogy Seminar 2022

It is exciting to resume the Piano Pedagogy Seminar for our branch this coming fall 2022. This seminar will be both online and in-person and focus on the INTERMEDIATE level, approximate CM levels 3-7!! Topics explored include:

  • Techniques for Tension-Free Playing: This topic is in high demand and the most popular one among the workshops I presented. It provides a systematic approach that enhances your teaching and your students' playing! It has been featured in both the MTAC convention and the CSUEB piano pedagogy symposium. I will discuss challenging techniques such as ornamentations, balance, pedals, and coordination that target the intermediate level of playing. 
  • Musicality
  • Standard repertoire literature survey
  • Teaching demonstration: explore and share teaching approaches on specific challenging pieces or sections.
  • Practice skills and habits
  • Performance preparation and anxiety issues
  • Group discussion: great for deep diving into individual concerns
  • Online lessons and studio management

Date: Sept 20 - Oct 25, every Tuesday, six sessions
Time: 10:30-12 am
Location: Lincoln Glen Church San Jose, 2700 Booksin Avenue, San Jose,  CA 95125

The zoom link and recordings will be available to the participants.  

The registration form will be distributed to our members via email or you can contact me directly. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Celebrating Students' Achievements

We had such a fruitful year that worth celebrating. Although the online lessons were not as ideal as in-person, it was amazing how students progressed and became more independent throughout this test of time! Not only they have speeded up through their RCM exam levels, but they also had quite a victory in the competitions, both video submission, and in-person. For those students who are not yet ready to take the exam or enter a competition, they have worked hard and performed well in the virtual recital. 

Here is the summary of their achievements for the recent US Open Music Competition and Pelican International Music Competition for Young Musicians. Everyone scored a winner place!! Some of the students have advanced to the open category for the exceptionally gifted students, and hard-working :) For a complete list, please check out our studio page.

Sanyi Yao: 
Grand Prize Winner Pelican International Music Competition Grand Prize Showcase Award
1st Place Winner, and Outstanding Gold Medalist and the special scholarship: Showcase Piano Solo Category 12, Junior Division, USOMC

Jeffery Wang: 1st Place Winner Open Solo Category 1, Classical, level 4; 4th Place Winner Treasury of Classical Composers Category 3, Intermediate, USOMC

Cindy Liang: 2nd Place Winner Open Solo Category 1, Romantic,  level 4, USOMC

Erin Tiangnaka: 2nd Place Winner Treasury of Classical Composers Category 3, Intermediate, USOMC

Claire Tiangnaka: 2nd Place Winner Open Solo Category 1, Romantic, level 2, USOMC

Maggie Sun: 3rd Place winner Showcase Piano Solo Category 12, Elementary Division, and Open Solo Category 1, Romantic, level 5, USOMC 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A great honor to present a session entitled “Eight fundamental techniques for tension-free piano playing.” at the California state university East Bay 3rd Piano Pedagogy Symposium! I have adventures into the 2nd installment of teaching "Fundamental Techniques." which focus on intermediate and early advanced techniques. We had a great turnout and thanks to many teachers who are on my contact list for joining this virtual symposium!

Session Content: Do your students struggle with techniques and have trouble playing at fast tempi? This session provides eight tension-free fundamental techniques that help intermediate students move freely on the piano. I will use Czerny op.599 to demonstrate how to apply these techniques to playing trills, jumps, repeating notes, and more.


Monday, October 26, 2020

Highlights for 2020 MTAC SCB Online Pedagogy Seminar

Here are the highlights for another wonderful time of teaching the 2nd year of Pedagogy Seminar for the Music Teachers' Associations of California, Santa Clara Branch in 2020. Because of the recent  COVID pandemic, we had the seminar via Zoom. Nevertheless, we had a group of diversifying and enthusiastic teachers and engaged in vivid and inspiring conversations weekly! The seminar covered topics from Beginner to Elementary levels which can be used for all levels of teaching. 
  1. Online Teaching during the pandemic: We shared insights and tips on how to teaching online effectively. Discussions include sound improvement, using Zoom for group class and recitals, teaching strategies on communication, demonstration. and more. 
  2. Fundamental techniques: In addition to a list of my essential go-to techniques, I also introduced how to use Hanon and Czerny to reinforce these techniques in creative ways! We also shared insights on how to apply these techniques to all levels of playing.
  3. Musicality: We have discussed developing musicality through listening to the melody and understanding the phrasing, dynamic shading, rhythm, and pedaling. 
  4. Musicianship: I have introduced some Hall of Fame apps and my favorite sight-reading series that are helpful to both studio teaching and home practicing. 
  5. Students learning patterns and behavior: This helps teachers to better identify students' learning processes that can lead to a more effective teaching approach! We talked about visual/aural/kinesthetic learning styles as well as the Four Temperament by Dr. K. Golay. 
In addition to these topics, we also discussed choosing methods books and reporters, how to motivate students, and what qualities will make the best teachers! Overall, another productive seminar of exchanging teaching ideas and inspiring each other!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Teaching Online Resources

Due to the recent covid pandemic, many teachers need to adept online teaching. Areas like sound and image projection as well as communication via the internet are all different from the in-person studio instruction. Hence, internet speed and tech equipment, like webcam or mic, have all played certain roles in this form of teaching. 

If you are an MTNA member or teaching RCM comprehensive curriculum exams, their websites provide many beneficial webinars. There are also tons of other resources such as Zoom's live training that are free to teachers.

Tech 101 by Noreen Wenjen 

Online teaching/communication by Stephen Pierce and Sara Ernst

Here are additional pedagogy websites:

Frances Clark Webinars: "Teaching in the time of Covid-19," need a subscription to access