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

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A challenging year of teaching!

Upon reflecting this past academic year, despite my absences due to family emergency and Covid-19 Pandemic that caused most of the lessons to be instructed online, I was pleased with my students' progress. Not only that they continued accelerating their studies under these circumstances but also had many achievements that included:

  1. Contributing more than 30 videos to the “60 seconds music relief" project! I have received many praises about their performances. I recommend that our students subscribe to the studio youtube channel so they can learn from each other's playing. It included many RCM repertoires and etudes!
  2. Many of the students achieved First Class Honors with Distinction, which is 90 points above in both May and Dec RCM exam. Some of them were prized as center and state winners. Here is the full list of everyone's recognitions.
  3. Winning competitions like US Open Music and MTNA California State Music Competition as well as CAPMT music festivals Piano Audition. 

I look forward to the coming academic year, although the uncertainty lies ahead, I am confident that my students are ready and fully prepared for the upcoming challenges and new chapters. 

As always, it's a privilege to embark on this amazing journey with these wonderful and dedicated young musicians!!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

60 Seconds Music Relief Project

In the recent event of the covid-19 pandemic, our society experiences fear, uncertainties, and doubts. However, I also see the strength and dedication of people who are risking their lives to helping others. 

At the time like this, as a musician, we can all contribute to the society by playing music to relieve stress and tension. Hence, I have created this project “60 Seconds Music Relieve” in collaboration with my dedicated students. Because of the current shelter-at-home phase, they have been practicing fiercely and video recording pieces that are ready to perform in our annual Studio Spotlight recital in May, which is canceled due to the pandemic.

Many of the pieces are from the RCM Celebration Series Perspectives, which is the official textbooks for the RCM exam. If you are teaching this program or searching repertoire inspiration, our video playlist would be a good resource! 

We are on three different social media platforms. Hope you enjoy our selections of music :)





Stay safe, healthy, and enjoy the blooming of Spring! 




Friday, February 21, 2020

Highlights From the First MTAC Santa Clara Branch Piano Pedagogy Seminar!

Happy 2020! Here are the highlights of my delightful experience of teaching the first Pedagogy Smeniar for the Music Teachers' Associations of California, Santa Clara Branch from Sept to Nov. 2019. As mentioned in the previous blog, we had a group of ten dedicated teachers and six weeks of inspiring sessions! The seminar covered essential topics from Beginner to Elementary levels.
  1. Fundamental techniques: they are the root of our students' future technical development. In addition to a list of my essential go-to techniques, I also introduced how I use Hanon in various ways! If you are creative, this book can help students to achieve effective results!
  2. Musicality: students shall learn how to listen to the melody and understand the phrasing from the very beginning. We have discussed developing musicality through dynamic shading, rhythm, and pedaling. I also introduced some highlights from Peter Mack's inspiring "The Art of The Phrase" workshop.
  3. Musicianship: sight-reading, rhythmic counting, ear training, and theory. Shouldn't our students have all these techniques instructed in their lessons? However, with the time restraint of each lesson, teachers will surely need organizing and creative strategies. We had vivid discussions from using the computer lab and apps to making the theory books more appealing by using color arts!
  4. Students learning patterns and behavior: This helps teachers to better identify students' learning processes and design a more effective teaching approach! I have talked about the visual/aural/kinesthetic learning styles as well as the Four Temperament by Dr. K. Golay. It is beneficial and educational to see how we can apply these theories to teaching.
  5. Method books and repertoires survey: when assigned appropriately, they can significantly inspire and motivate students' learning. We have covered both mainstream teaching methods as well as rote teaching and innovative approaches. Best of all, some teachers performed their favorite recital repertoires!! 
In addition to these topics, we shared conversations on various teaching subjects and concerns including ideas on teaching preschoolers and improvisations. I learned so much from this group of brilliant teachers, who reminded me how much I love teaching music!

I look forward to our next seminar, which will focus on the Intermediate level in Sept 2020. The content of the Intermediate level will be posted in May. I will also offer this same session again to accommodate teachers who didn't get to attend this time.



Thanks to Music Exchange and its Manager Gordy Martin who provided us their spacious recital hall for the seminar.












A lovely "thank you" bouquet from the branch and the teachers!! Thank you so much for your participation and friendship!!