On Saturday, May 23, Jack Fang performed in his last piano recital as a student of his mother, Xiaoyu Zhao. He performed Revolutionary Etude Op. 10, No. 12. by Chopin, Flower Dance by DJ Okawari, and Military March by Franz Schubert as a duet with fellow Jefferson senior and Zhao’s student, Erik Song.
At the end of the recital, Fang, Song, and two other seniors were congratulated for graduating from Zhao’s studio with trophies and a touching speech by Zhao. Although he has never entered a piano competition and merely plays piano for fun, Fang has grown to become a beautiful musician, and performs at his mother’s annual piano recitals.
Since his birth in 1997, Jack Fang has grown up in a house full of music. His mother, being a piano teacher of over 30 years, filled the room with beautiful music whenever possible. She trained Jack from the young age of five to play the piano. Countless days of hurt hands and mistakes led to the final product on Saturday, May 23.
After Fang’s last recital ever, he has been enjoying his time as a graduate. He has been learning songs that he hears from movies and video games, and likes to impress his friends at parties.
Q-and-A: On May 31, tjTODAY interviewed Fang for completing 13 years at his mother’s piano studio.
Q: What is your favorite part about playing the piano?
A: My favorite part about playing the piano is being able to interpret the piece. I think it’s really cool that even though music is set notes on a page, a musician’s interpretation can completely change how it sounds.
Q: How does it feel to be graduating from your mother’s piano studio?
A: It’s really bittersweet. On one hand, it feels relaxing knowing that I don’t have to practice to be a role model to some of my mother’s younger students. On the other hand, I’m really going to miss it. It was really fun to be able to relax through playing music with my mother and being able to play duets with one of my best friends.
Q: What are you going to miss the most about learning from your mother?
A: I’m really going to miss her ability to teach me how to interpret songs in different styles. As I was saying before, the interpretation of the song is really what makes it stand out, and I was able to learn good interpretation through the instruction of my mother.
Q: Are you going to carry on your mother’s legacy as a piano teacher?
A: Although it’d be cool, I don’t think I have what it takes to be a teacher.
Q: What do you hope for your future career in regards to piano?
A: I really would just like to casually play piano. I think it’s a great skill to have and I’m extremely thankful to my mother for teaching me. It’ll be great to pick some new songs from pop culture and again, impress my friends.