Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Asian Americans & Music

I found a children's illustration on the web of an Asian American girl playing the violin. (I had it posted here but the image has been taken down from the artist's website). What came to mind when i saw the image is the stereotype that all Asian American kids know how to play a musical instrument--usually the piano or violin. The more and more people I meet, the more I laugh when I find that in many cases it holds true within my circle of Asian American friends.

I suppose what one learns from music is self-discipline (yes, the hours of daily practice doing piano scales and other methodical exercises), the development of the creative left brain, training in public performance (someone, even if it's just one's family member can't help but to hear one's work), mechanical thinking (understanding measures, time fractions, music composition), and emotional expression (playing from one's heart). Perhaps Asian American parents have been keen on seeing this holistic learning process, or maybe not.

After many years of Bach, Beethovan and Mozart, I finally found my true piano expression through the music sheets of Yanni. Yes, go ahead and laugh, but I think playing Yanni on the piano was when I finally felt like piano playing was for me...not just for the weekly lessons with my teacher. Playing Depeche Mode and church music was fun too, but Yanni was the last thing I played (before getting carpol tunnel) that I truly loved.

I dedicate this post to my piano teacher and Cliff who always had his piano lesson before or after me (no matter what days I changed it to) throughout our elementary school days. Cliff is the only childhood friend who I attended elementary, high school and college with > not to mention all the piano recitals and carpools to algebra classes at MK High School when we were in 7th/8th grade. Years later when I finally went to my first Yanni concert, who did I see sitting infront of me? Why Cliff, of course! Who else would have bought tickets to see (shhh)...Yanni live!

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