Tag: Teresa Wong Music

Focus on The Good

Recently I did a concert at a private residence my friend so graciously hosted. I had never done a concert like this before. I actually really loved it: an intimate setting for a closer connection between the performers and the audience.

I played some classic pieces such as Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Piano Sonata and Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor, as well as a couple compositions of mine. I also played a couple chamber pieces with my friends, including Brahms’ and Dvorak’s piano quintets. I had a few of my piano students perform too. It was a lot of fun.

After I finished the concert, I had a reception in which I got to interact with my audience and friends. I felt pretty good about how I played in general. There is always room for improvement. But this time I tried not to focus on that.

I recorded the whole concert (video and audio). Usually I don’t really want to watch or hear how I played after the concert. I would just leave the recordings there until I gather up the courage to look/listen to them. But this time I might watch it soon to see what I did good and what didn’t work.

I find, as most of us musicians and piano students do, that we focus on how bad we did, or how we could have done better. “I could have played that phrase more clearly”, “I could have controlled the left hand line better”, “I could have made less mistakes” etc. Often we forgot to think about what we did right: “I played it with good control”, “I did great dynamic contrast there”, “I have improved so much!”.

I am not saying we should not improve ourselves, not at all. But we need to shift our focus to what we have done right more. It’s the good part that keeps us move forward, knowing that we did something good, so that we can continue on our journey to play more and do better next time.

If we keep beating ourselves up, we would feel frustrated. “I’m not good enough”, “I would never do better than this”, “this is a waste of time”, “I don’t have talent/what it takes to succeed”, or simply, “I’m not good at the piano!”.

Focus on what you’ve been doing good so far. See what you’ve done to do those right things, and how you can apply that to the not so right things. Focus on the accomplishment. Then comes the improvement. There is always room to be better next time, whether it be in a piano lesson, piano exam or piano performance.

Do the best you can, and move on to the next (lesson/exam/performance).

Of course, you can always consult someone on where you are at and how you can improve.

Now would you excuse me, but I am going to do some brainstorming on the next project.

Teresa Wong

Music and Self

Today I had a rehearsal for my upcoming concert. After the first run for one of the concert pieces, a member in our group jokingly said to me, “are we good enough to play in the concert?” I was a little startled by her comment.

After I got home from the rehearsal, I thought about what she said. I remember long time ago when I was still studying, I realized one thing, and I believe it was one of the most important ideas I needed to play better. And the idea is,

“Music before me.”

If I am to explain it, I would say, “I have to put away my ego to better the music I make at the piano.”

The “me” is not important when I am playing music. Not in the way we usually think.

Of course there is self expression when we play music. But, when we focus on ourselves, we worry how well or how bad we play, and then how great or how embarrassed we feel accordingly.

Instead we need to focus on how to make the music better. So we do all these things (learn the music, practice, go deeper, and repeat the cycle) and hope we are worthy of the music.

We, when we play the music, are the servant. We are the tool. We, are not important in the music. The music itself it.

So when we play bad, it’s not us that are bad. The music is bad now. We should feel bad about playing the music badly, but not feel bad about ourselves.

When we play well, the music is great. It’s not us that are great. We should feel great about the music, that we have done the music justice.

Taking away ourselves, our ego, is a huge step towards making great music.

I almost forgot about it. I was experiencing it again lately but I was grateful that my friend reminded me today.

This would make me a better musician, to make better music.

Teresa Wong

Piano Technique Transformation Course

This course is designed to drastically transform your piano technique forever for the better. With the aid of videos and exercise book, you will be able to not only learn at your pace but also practice efficiently to improve your piano playing in a short period of time

Course includes:

My technique exercise book (pdf copy): “Technique Transformation Piano Exercise Book” (USD$25 value)

Section 1: Demonstration videos on various techniques with reference to Gyorgy Sandor’s “On Piano Playing” (USD$150 value);

Section 2: Demonstration videos on ALL exercises from technique book (30 exercises) (USD$250 value).

Do you want to teach music?

“You should give up now – it doesn’t pay well.”

“You should get a real job.”

“You can’t make money being a musician/music teacher.”

“You should just get a teaching job at school or a government job.”

“You can’t make stable income teaching (enter any music instrument name).”

“You should study something else than music.”

 

Have you heard these questions – or insult – before?

I have, many times, directed towards me or towards my teaching staff and music friends.

At one point I thought that’s not working for me either. So I thought of doing something else or doing it differently. But I always came back to it.

I don’t give up easily. When I want something, I make it happen.

So I started playing piano, I studied abroad in piano performance, I worked as a pianist, I taught piano, I started my piano studio, and then piano school. I wrote books about piano teaching and playing. I consulted piano performers and piano teachers and music teaching studio owners online. I ran an online music teacher training platform, etc., etc. The list was endless.

And I made money teaching music and piano while enjoying my work. I love teaching, I have immense passion in helping people, I do.

When I get exciting and joyful feedback from piano students/parents/piano teachers about how much they’ve enjoyed my lessons/courses and how I’ve changed their lives for the better, I become so touched sometimes I would even cry with joy.

But hey, this is not about me, this is about YOU.

Being successful in music teaching requires hard work, in some ways more than having a regular job. Especially when you are teaching freelance or on your own. You don’t have the benefits that most people do: you don’t have the paid holidays, the health benefits, the regular time off (because you perform/teach piano on weekends/holidays). People think it’s so great to have your own work! Yes but they don’t see how hard it is for you to maintain your own students, plan your own work schedule, annual student concerts, piano exams, competitions, lessons, fees, parents, the list goes on and on. Wait, did I say no paid holidays so every time you take a vacation you cringe on how much money you didn’t earn on your trip to Japan/Thailand/Italy? And you can never take the same days off to hang out with your family and friends who have a regular job schedule? Heck, you sometimes even forget it’s public holiday because you are working on that day! And if the weather’s bad and everyone gets to stay in and cheer for the extra time off, you are upset because you don’t get to work and get paid?

Ok, that may have gone a bit too far and too much details – I personally had thought about all of the above and that’s why I can write them out easily in one minute.

But still, I love teaching, whether I am teaching piano students or piano teachers or other music instrument teachers. I simply love sharing knowledge and helping others, from teaching piano students how to play better, to teaching piano teachers how to teach better, then to teaching other music instrument teachers on how to build their music teaching career. It is important for the piano students and piano teachers and other music instrument teachers know how they too can be successful in their piano playing and piano/violin/flute/cello/erhu/singing/guitar teaching.  

When I teach a piano student, I influence one person (and perhaps a little on the family too). But when I teach a piano teacher or double bass teacher, I influence someone who can influence many students of their own. I really like the idea of that.

So if you are out there still thinking about my training program “How to Build a Successful Music Teaching Studio”, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me today. I am giving away a very special offer with some freebies on my online training program. Contact me now and get the gifts already!

Teresa Wong

Words of Encouragement for You

I just want to write a quick note for all of you out there, who might be feeling a bit down or frustrated because you didn’t have the better result than you expected in your lessons/exam/concert/teaching/building your studio. Please read this:

You didn’t fail.

You tried your best and it wasn’t the result you wanted.

You can try again. But before you take that lesson/exam/performance/the next project, think about what went wrong.

Looking into yourself is very important, but most people don’t want to do it. Because it’s hard. It can be embarrassing to see why you made that mistake.

And, you are only human.

What you can do now is to think how to move forward and be better next time around. And to reach that goal you need a much better planning this time.

Because most likely, what didn’t work last time will not work next time either. And if you are just going to do the same thing again, you are simply setting yourself up for error and mistake one more time. Who does that? Some people do. You don’t want to be one of them.

Now, get up and tell yourself, you are setting up for success this time. And you are going to do your best you know how for it – this requires very careful and detailed planning and execution of what your plan is.

Stick with your plan is very important, second to having a great plan. But even if you have a great plan, if you don’t do what you plan to do, nothing will work for you, so remember that.

Great reward comes from great effort with persistence and time. Nothing substantial is achieved within a very short period of time. Teaching and playing is building knowledge, that’s very similar to building wealth, no one can do it in one day or even a year. It’s constant work and struggle. I have had my fair share of work and struggle. I get frustrated myself sometimes. But every time I get beat up by life and I get back up faster and faster. Because I know deep inside me there’s no point wasting more time on anything even slightly negative and unproductive, that is not contributing to my growth and success.

So here I encourage you to just step back, relax, take a deep breath, and get back up on your feet. I know you can do this and you have that power within you to make this work.

Stay motivated,
Teresa Wong