My Piano Biography for the Los Angeles Moments of Music Piano Competition for Amateurs and Teachers
I had almost forgotten about the piano until one day, while settling into our home in Modesto, my plastic-surgeon-wife announced that she was going to buy herself a piano. She figured since I was a violin playing general surgeon, she needed her own instrument. Due to space constraints, we had to decide between dining table or piano. Well, I figured worse case scenario, a grand piano could double up as a very expensive dining table. Embarrassingly, as a small child, I had been fired from piano lessons (totally my fault) before I could even reach an octave with my fingers. Fortunately, leaving the piano gave me an opportunity with the violin which led to a highlight of my life: performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Brown University Orchestra. And that led to somehow impressing a girl who later became my wife. Funny how getting fired could lead to wonderful things; I even think that the violin helped me get accepted to all the great colleges I applied to which included Harvard, Stanford, and of course my Brown University.
Being clueless as to how to pick out a piano, we were introduced to a Modesto piano teacher, Dr. Yan Yan Chan, who helped us. However, being from New York and being an only child, I ended up hogging the piano we purchased; my poor wife barely gets time to play. On the piano, I found that one of the hardest things was bass clef and the way that the fingering markings for piano and violin are off by one digit (pinky = “4” for violin). I took a few lessons from Yan Yan to help me get started and also had pointers from a close family friend Dr. Kung-Chin Lin, an university piano professor in Taiwan. Then I was pretty much on my own due to my somewhat unpredictable schedule as a surgeon. Yan Yan and I got reunited recently when we heard about the Los Angeles Moments of Music Piano Concerto Competition through another genius piano teacher in our area, Janisse Foresti. I have since acquired a separate dining table but I still have trouble playing octaves.
Tchaikovsky VIOLIN Concerto 3rd Movement:
The second picture (above) is Yan Yan Chan at the piano!