Ever since I was young living in China, I have always wanted to learn to play the piano, However, I didn’t have the chance to learn to play the piano until later in life. Here is my story….
My very first influence that made me wanted to take up piano studies came from French Pianist Richard Clyaderman.
Richard Clayderman was born in Paris, France (1953), and he first took lesson from his father, a piano teacher. At the age of 12, he was admitted into the Paris Conservatory.His life changed dramatically in 1976, when he recorded a single “Ballade pour Adeline” (Ballade for Adeline), composed by French composer Paul de Senneville. The single became an instant success, selling 22 million copies in 38 countries. The moment when I heard his piano recording, I loved them instantly, and amazed how anyone can play such beautiful music, and I dreamed of being able to play his music one day.
Even nowadays, Clayderman’s music continues proving be popular in China. Some Chinese music teachers attribute the popularity of his music to the increase in the number of piano students since the 1980s, and some even believe it’s the other way around: it was due to the popularity of Clayderman’s music that the number of piano students have surged.
I also love Chinese pianist Lang Lang’s piano playing. I am a great fan of him. He is one of my favorite pianist and really awesome. Although his performance style can be controversial, however he certainly has conquered the classical world with dazzling technique and charisma. Lang Lang’s father also played a great role in helping Lang Lang’s success. He was just like a tiger Dad, When Lang Lang was very young, his father pushed him very hard on practicing the piano. His father had set up a daily routine for him that didn’t allow much time for recreations.
The practice routine goes like this:
“5:45 a.m.: Wake up and practice piano for an hour
School start at 7:00 a.m.
Home at noon for lunch: 15 minutes for eating and 45 minutes for practicing.
After school, two hours of practice before dinner.
Dinner: 20 minutes, during which he watched cartoon.
Two hours of practice after dinner
Later when Lang Lang had to get ready for the prestigious Central Conservatory’s entrance exam in Beijing, his father gave up his job as a policeman and moved with him to the Beijing from his native city Shenyang. In Beijing, Lang Lang had this new teacher call “Professor Angry” to tried help him get into the conservatory, however she didn’t like Lang Lang and always gave him a hard time, one afternoon she told Lang Lang she shouldn’t play the piano and he should go home, so she basically fired Lang Lang before he could even get into the conservatory. When Lang Lang’s father heard the news, he went really mad, and demanded Lang Lang to kill himself. A big argument broke out between father and son. To cut story short, later another teacher from the music conservatory named Zhao Pingguo took Lang Lang as a student, Professor Zhao really loved Lang Lang’s playing and later helped him gain entrance to the prestigious conservatory in Beijing, Lang Lang got No. 1 on his entrance exam. His father was thrilled. 😉
How Lang Lang has influenced me on the love of piano playing.
Lang Lang is a great influence. He inspires many people from around the world to learn to play the piano and love for this beautiful instrument, and I am one of them, ever since I was very young living in China, I wanted to learn to play the piano, however, I didn’t have the chance, because my parents preferred me to concentrate on my academic studies instead of learning to play the piano, they thought playing the piano would waste my time disturb my study. It wasn’t until I came to New Zealand that I have the chance to learn to play the piano. I bought myself a piano in 2007 and started teaching myself first. I started having weekly piano lessons from March, 2008 until I moved back to China in 2012. At the end of 2011, I sat Grade 6 Trinity Guildhall Piano Exam and passed it with Merit overall, and my piano teacher was very pleased about it.
As the saying goings, practice makes perfect. From his book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell suggests that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. He studied the lives of extremely successful people to find out how they achieved successes.
I try to practice at least one hour a day every day. Whenever I practice, I always started practicing Scales and Arpeggios first. I believe those exercises are very important in laying your foundations on Piano playing. For other technical exercises I also use Hanon and Carl Czerny’s materials. I don’t find practicing those exercises are boring, I grew to love it. After practicing those exercises, I then started practicing different pieces. As time goes by, my piano playing has gradually improved, and sometimes I would get complements from my listeners, praising my playing. It makes me happy when I hear those comments, and also made me practicing harder on the piano. As the saying goes, a little praise can go a long way. ;d
From my point of view, I believe that once you have the passion for doing something that you love, and you put lots of effort into it, surely you will be very good at it in the end and maybe achieve great success.