Build a long-term relationship with your playing


This week I have been focusing on fixing my students’ technique, more precisely so the hand grip, the attack and the weight transfer. Then it got me thinking, how do I do to help my students understand doing such is of utmost importance in their playing?

The answer is simply: they are in for a long-term relationship with their playing.

Establishing a short-term relationship is like a piano student learning to play pieces for an exam or a competition and keep drilling on them, hoping for getting a result printed on an “official” paper, not caring about improving the technique and expressiveness in the playing whatsoever. That kind of playing does not last. S/he did not actually work on the playing, but rather, work on those pieces only. It is similar to a student rushing to cram in the information before a history exam, took the exam and forgot everything there is to it. Everyone when young has done this. Every teacher during the early stage of his/her career has helped students done this as well. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is just life. We did not know better. But now we do. And we are in for good.

There had been times I was dissuaded enough that I tried to do something that was not for me, try to teach in a way that was not my desired way to teach. But that certainly did not last long, and I figured it out quite quickly. Those were the times I felt lost in my career. And because I did not feel that right in my teaching, I focused more on performance. I was shying myself away from being the kind of teacher I was inspired to be. I did not know how to be the kind of teacher I wanted to be. I was in that trial and error process, feeling in uncertainty my path through that dark tunnel of unknown alone to shape my way of teaching. It had taken me quite some years to build up to what has become of now. While I am certainly most proud of what I have achieved, I at the same time understand that I must continue to improve and go forward, with the hope of passing it on to my students, like what my teachers have done for me.

I believe a lot of piano teachers out there want to do the same thing like I do, educate their students and help them build a solid foundation of playing. But the reality sometimes dissuades them to do otherwise. I just want to say that we all are in this for good, so let us hang in here and work our ways through it, educate the community, the parents, and the students with our knowledge and expertise. We are the ones who know what are in for our students, aren’t we?

As for my students, here I am. I am here to help you build a long-term relationship with the piano and with your playing, helping you understand more about music, build a more solid foundation on piano technique, express yourselves more freely through your hands, communicate better with yourselves and your audience, and most of all, appreciate and love the music the way you want it to be.

It does not matter if you will only study with me for a day or a year or two. I am hoping to stay here for you, whenever you come back to me, or whenever you need my advice. That is what my old teacher has done for me, after all these years I finally see that happening to me. And the feeling and experience has been tremendous. So, thank you, Miss Grace for being there for me. You are not only a teacher on piano, but rather, a teacher on life. For that, I bow to you, I salute you. And I am aspired to do the same for my students as well. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Teachers I have learnt from all these years, those real teachers who are not just in for the job and the money, but for the inspiration, education and the humanity.

I hope you all love the way you play, and love the music that surrounds you every single day, no matter how you play and what kind of music it is.

Teresa Wong

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