When I read about Amy Chua’s daughter and her piano recital at Carnegie Hall at the age of 14 from her famed book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, I was a little taken aback. No, I was not shocked or superbly impressed by her daughter’s performance at the famed hall; instead, I was irked by the way Chua treated her daughter, torturing her mercilessly to practice everyday for hours. For me, music should be something to be enjoyed especially by a child. So when Chiara first started to learn piano, I used this belief as my guiding principle. I wanted her to enjoy the whole process of learning music and not simply focus on competitions and recitals.
The first music studio where Chiara took piano lessons sent their best students to Carnegie. The mediocre students were treated like stepchildren. Not liking the disparity in the way this studio favors more competitive students, we decided to change music school. At the time, the music studio where Chiara (and Ines) takes piano lessons now did not send their best kids to Carnegie yet. I love their current music school with staff and teachers who are quite dedicated to their students’ growth and learning. I also like the fact that competing was not the focus of the school but individual progress.
Fast forward a couple of years, the current studio decided to send their best piano, guitar and voice students to perform at Carnegie. Chiara auditioned and got in. We are extremely proud of her for having the discipline to practice and work on her pieces diligently. Personally, as a mother, I was impressed with her quiet poise and grace onstage, which does not come easy for an introverted child. God knows that I would have probably lost my cool either before or during the performance if I were in her shoes!
As I mentioned on another blog post about recitals, I think the most critical takeaway for Chiara from this whole experience is the process and not the just the end result. While it sounds great to say that she performed at Carnegie, I think that what’s more valuable is that she learned to apply herself toward a goal, working toward it and reaping the fruits of her labor afterwards. It’s a key life lesson that I hope she carries with her through her adult years.
Photos are not permitted during performance at Carnegie Hall so all the pics here were taken before and after