This Teacher was from Beijing and a graduate from the Central Conservatory of Music. She, unlike the previous teacher (whom no one knew her accreditation for sure), was kind and compassionate. She knew how to Teach. Now I come to think of it, that was the true beginning of my piano playing: before that I was just playing notes and making sound; with this Teacher I started to make music.
We were working on the grade 8 pieces. Sometimes my Teacher would arrange for me to have lessons on the grand piano positioned in the middle of the lobby area. It was marvelous: the sound was completely different from the upright pianos I used to play on in some tiny rooms in the other piano company or Shanghainese teacher’s home with four walls closed in so tightly!
My first Teacher also taught me about the different sound quality (or “nuance”) one should be able to produce on the piano with respective kinds of touch. She talked about the different colors in the music, the emotions, the imageries etc. One time she asked me to draw a picture to describe a piece by Schumann. I did not know what to draw: I was terrible at arts and crafts! I struggled to draw a picture with color pencils (I was around Form 1 or 2). It was a drawing about the scenery at the countryside: bright sun, blue sky and green mountain. I thought it was pretty nice, but my Teacher chuckled and teased me that it was quite ugly! Anyhow, that was a lesson I remembered quite well.
Eventually, I received distinction from my grade 8 exam (144 marks). I was thrilled! I never thought I could get such high marks with great compliments from the examiner, who wrote that I should keep up with my good work to proceed to diploma levels. The wife of the great Chinese pianist, who was the owner of the art center, even called my Mother and persuaded her to let me continue my piano lessons there. As an encouragement, she also offered a big discount on my monthly piano tuition fee, which was quite costly. I therefore continued to learn from this Teacher at the first diploma level, dipABRSM.
(To be continued…)