EP02: Ya-Liang Chang – The Influential role of parents and practice quality in learning music

The Podcast

Show notes

Ya-Liang’s website: www.changpiano.com

Ya-Liang’s Teaching Philosophy: To teach students how to practice and practice mindfully

CAPMT State Conference Presentation “Music Apps”

Standout quotes by Ya-Liang from the podcast:

“My mother created a very inspiring and musical environment for me. She exposed me to classical music…she bought me CDs, took me to concerts, and I listened to all types of classical music. From piano solo to symphony, to chamber music, to concertos, ballet music, and opera…that really helped to nurture and develop my love for music.”

[on her mother helping her when she was a child]“She helped me to schedule a routine practice in my daily life, so I knew every evening is my practice time. I enjoyed practicing very much because she was my best practicing partner…She would encourage me saying – you sound better than yesterday, you are improving so don’t give up.”

[on her mother helping her when she was a child] “She would remind me what my teacher said. She was always in the lesson with me and she would take notes for me.”

“Parents hold such a powerful and influential role in their child’s learning and you can really turn this learning experience into a lifetime enjoyment.”

“Peer role model is very strong motivation.”

[on how to help non-musician parents to be more involved with music activities and be on the same page with the teachers] “By taking one small step at a time like suggesting watching good performances on YouTube. The second step, you’re starting to say “Oh your child can play on this recital”, then “how about this adjudicated event?

“I always invite the parents to sit in the lessons…they receive education and insights of what learning music is about.”

[On her teachers’ influences and teachings]“Practice correctly and carefully. Hear the rests, which is how I teach my students today…I want them to hear that silence is also a part of the sound, part of the music”

[on practicing strategies] “I constantly drill rhythmic counting with them. When I teach my students, I always ask them to remember one thing…I want them to ask themselves – How Accurately can I play?…Which involves all the details imaginable, phrasing, tempo…everything in playing piano”

[On getting students and parents to develop the right practice habits early on] “In their first lesson I always ask them – Do you have a practice routine?” “When you are learning an instrument…you’re learning how to play. And you really need to make an effort to engage all the activities on a daily basis.”

[On parallels between practicing sports and music]“Learning instrument is like learning a sport. If you want to be good at tennis, you better be practicing…otherwise nobody wants you on their team, because you are not good.”

[On solving the practice quality problem for students]“I want them to deal with the problem, the most challenging sections first, that really is the core of my teaching. I don’t really think of it as a problem that I need to resolve…I just keep nurturing them and guide them into what studying piano should be.”

Resources Ya-Liang recommends

Piano Repertoire and Method Books:

John Thompson’s Modern Course for Piano


Bartok Mikrokosmos



Intelligent teaching by Robert Duke
“This is a very good book for contemplating your teaching methods and styles.”
– Precision in language and thoughts
– Assessment and teaching goals

Practicing the piano By Nancy Breth
“This is a very good book for teachers and parents.”
– Early stages of practicing
– Parents role in practicing

Websites Ya-Liang Mentioned:

Teach piano today by Andrea Dow and Trevor Dow

iPad piano teachers group on Facebook

88 Keys By Leila Viss “Technology-wise this is a very good resource”

Teaching Resources  By Ya-Liang Chang

Follow Ya-Liang on Social Media: