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#37 Piano & Violin

Posted March 17th, 2008 by YASPY Chick · 56 Comments
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Asian parents always want to refine their children. This includes enrolling them in music lessons at a very young age until about the beginning of high school. But not just any kind of music lessons: piano or violin ‘edification.” (At times, flute is acceptable too.) These instruments symbolize, to many Asians, the epitome of refinement. It isn’t too different from the English during the Regency and Victorian periods when a young middle class woman’s ability to play piano was a sign of her sophistication. This asian refinement is a sign of accomplishment because the asian parents are able to ‘afford” these frills. The children, due to their parents constant struggle to show other parents up, are forced to take these lessons.

The piano is considered by asians as the core instrument that one learns in order to first unPianoderstand the essentials of music. Why? In order to successfully know how to play piano, asians must know how to read both the treble and bass clefs. That means understanding the intricacies of a whole other language at the ripe age of 3, which in turn, allows most asian children to comprehend how to efficiently use their left and right brain hemispheres at an earlier age. Do you ever wonder why asian children are so gifted mathematically and spatially? That’s your answer. Asians will also enroll their children in musical classes to serve the community.

For Asian-Christian families, the ability to play piano means that the child can have his or her turn at ‘performing” during church services. That way, Mrs. Chung can brag (more on bragging below) to everyone that it’s her Jenny out there playing ‘”˜Praise My Soul’ like an angel.” The accolades don’t end in the congregation hall. That’s why pianos are, most importantly, expensive. To have one in the living room is a subtle (in an asian sense) way of telling everyone that the Asians are keeping up with the ‘Joneses” (or the Wongs).

In asian circles, piano is the choice instrument, followed very closely by the violin. The violin is often a preference because it’s small and portable, great for young children. Asian kids start private music lessons as Violinkindergarteners (before they start learning how to use chopsticks, but after they start their introductory calculus lessons), or even while in pre-school (I had my first piano lesson just before my 4th birthday)! The sound it makes is very soft and smooth when playing strictly classical music (a proper Asian kid does NOT fiddle). The violin, like piano, is also more likely to be a ‘star” instrument, which will more times than none draw more attention to the child’s parents.

To Conservative Asians, most other instruments are a no-no. Especially brass instruments and instruments associated with bands and more popular music. To Asian parents, instruments such as trombones, saxophones, trumpets, percussive drums, guitar (especially ELECTRIC GUITAR) are blasphemous. Asian parents don’t want their child to risk becoming evil rock musicians! Asian kids must be proper. They must be able to play the kind of music that can be heard at church or when family friends visit. They must be able to read at a 5th grade level before they are potty-trained. And most importantly, they must learn how to haggle with other children when trading lunches in order to achieve the most economical utility.

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Note from Author: Acceptable instruments other than piano and violin include: flute, clarinet, oboe, cello (only after Yo-Yo Ma became a big star), and vocal ensembles. (At my middle and high schools, the flute sections at ensembles were overwhelmingly Asian while brass instruments were white.) The guitar is allowed after the age of 18, when children are legal adults and want to play sad songs about how the girl in Multi-Quantum Physics isn’t digging their outfit or accepting their invitations to buy boba (but let’s save that for a later post).

Asian parents absolutely love to brag. They like to tell their friends how good their kids are at certain things and this is especially true with music. In Canada, many kids take the Royal Conservatory of Music program. (Levels in the program are divided into 10 grade levels according to difficulty, and completing the program by the time the kids graduate from middle school is the ultimate goal for many Asian parents.) Winning prizes at competitions is another one. It’s not uncommon to hear one parent tell another ‘My Vivian/Christopher won first prize at the Under 12 Sonata competition last week! And he/she is only 8 years old!”









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Asians, in some situations, will even cause scuffles with other parents over how superior their own children are. ‘My child played that song beautifully.” ‘Your child ruined an entire classical masterpiece! Didn’t you hear that A-flat that they played instead of an A Sustained Minor 7 Flat Sharp Skinny Dull Chord with Base Triad? I’m calling the competition director.” Some Asians go as far as recording competitions in order to show other parents how much better their own children are. ‘He sure looks good on camera. His glasses glistening in the sun are so much better than your child’s glasses-less face with non-existent eyes!” The use of instant replay makes its debut at this time (about 8 years old), but is used later on during many other competitive situations by non-relenting asian parents.

Asian parents will allow their children to play only the piano or violin up to a certain age because that is when they are still able to brag about a child’s success as the product of their own perseverance and planning. They will proceed to brag about their children to make it known that their children can play classical works spotlessly. For these reasons and more, Asians love the Piano and Violin.

Note from Author: I have to admit though: taking classical music is great discipline for kids. It keeps them out of trouble, and causes fewer injuries than sports. It must be my Asian-ness showing, because I will definitely be encouraging any kids I have to take music lessons. However, if they want to play an ‘improper” instrument or want to quit because they just aren’t musical, that’s fine with me too. There are other things that a kid is good at. Not all kids are musical.

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56 responses so far ↓

  • 1 kvietgrl // Mar 17, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    I used to be in a choir and really liked practicing in elementary…my dad thought I was gonna become a singer and made me quit! And i was stuck with the piano for seven years! i hated it…then come high school, he realized I wasn’t gonna become a rockstar, so i got to quit piano and sing again. =(

  • 2 M.F. Wong // Mar 18, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I was one of those piano & violin kids. In fourth grade, I wanted to play the cello, but my parents didn’t want me saddled with something that heavy so I got the violin instead. I never actively disliked it, but I did think that all the other violinists in orchestra were boring squares.

    I finally got my fix for something different when I joined the pit section of the marching band. Band was a lot more fun, simply because it was something I chose for myself.

    My kids can play whatever the hell they want. I’ll tell them what I thought was cool and what wasn’t when I was their age, but they’re not obligated to agree. They might even want to dust off my old violin.

  • 3 estella // Mar 18, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    haha, yeaup. i played the piano and the flute, while my sister played the piano and violin. it also helped that she had vocal talent, so she was the bragging rights child…

  • 4 mooo // Mar 21, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    This website is funny.

  • 5 Christopher // Mar 21, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Hey,

    I know why Asian Girls dig White Guys, and why White Guys dig Asian Girls”¦

    From first hand experience”¦. My Taiwanese, Indonesian, Sumatran, Balinese, Chinese, Japanese, and Irani girl friends have revealed to ME, the 35 year old White Guy that”¦. White guys are fun, are big where it counts, and PAY ATTENTION to a woman’s needs.

    Myself, I like the Asian Girls because”¦. they are INTELLIGENT, make sexy sounds in bed, and have the softest skin.

    I love all women, don’t get me wrong, but I had to write a little note, in case the readers wanted some insider info.

    C

  • 6 zimri // Mar 21, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    LMAO! I’ve noticed that white parents who adopt Asian kids also do this… and will invite / guilt other families to attend the recital.

  • 7 Anonymous // Mar 21, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Obviously, the piano/violin thing is also heavily driven by the “Asian prodigy” mentality. Of course, it’s a chicken/egg situation. Why are Asians disproportionately represented in the music competitions and best-known music programs (e.g., Juilliard, Curtis)? Is it because Asian parents push their kids more? Or are the kids themselves more competitive and self-motivated because perhaps they see an area where they have a better chance of succeeding among their peers (i.e., a situation where size may not matter, as it would in sports, and even there, you have the Asian ice skating prodigy)?

    Or there anything to the idea that Asian kids might be innately more talented musically as a class? That is, why should we presume that Asian kids work harder on average than non-Asian kids at being good at their instruments, yet the first violin section in many school programs is inevitably a sea of Asian names and faces. More to the point, when you hear a really good kid (of any race) play, it’s not just the technique, it’s the emotion. Somehow, the kid really “gets it,” managing to convey emotions that are wildly beyond their years, which can only be coaxed out, not really “taught” or “learned” accept by mimicry, which only goes so far. And, among Asians, why do the Korean kids, in particular, seem to be generally more successful at an earlier age, at least anecdotally? It’s an area ripe for theories and speculation.

    Let’s start with the Korean whiz kids. (Full disclosure, I’m of Chinese descent, born and raised here in the U.S., who trained at one of those well-known music schools, but music is not my current profession.) I am sure there are those of Korean descent who will back me up, but I can tell you from personal experience knowing the overseas Koreans who end up here as youngsters for professionally-directed musical training, it can be argued that they did work damn harder than others to get here. They’ve been winnowed through local and national competitions, coached by other talented Koreans who studied overseas, so what we see over here are the cream of the crop. It’s a ticket out of the country for the kid and/or the parents vicariously or actually. On the other end of the spectrum, you get the really well-off Korean parents who can afford the best training for their kids, and will even buy them an orchestra appearance. For other Asians from elsewhere(China/Taiwan, Japan, etc.) not as big an incentive for economic or other reasons; they’ve got other opportunities to succeed over there.

    But that still leaves the broader phenomenon of Asian kids in general being more highly represented among the musical prodigies, or at least filling the ranks of those first violin sections, even they will never be Yo Yo, Lang Lang, or other double-named phenoms. Perhaps we only think that relatively more of them are Asian because we Asians simply notice them more, and want our kids to be just like that, so our view is simply distorted. Or it could simply be that more of them are enrolled in music programs on average, which probably explains a lot, and they stick with it because their parents want them to, or they want to. (I think that’s what one comment implied about white parents perpetuating the stereotype with their own their Asian adoptees.)

    I am willing to entertain the idea, however, that there may just be some natural intellectual affinity or predisposition towards musical talent in Asian kids, if it is linked with other stereotypically Asian “talents.” (Let’s leave aside the legions of tone-deaf Asians like my dad, who nonetheless spoke perfect tonal Mandarin Chinese.) How surprised would we be if the Asian-American kid who plays Bach well is also likely to be good at chess and/or math. Of course, they may be mutually reinforcing talents, sort of like kids who are good at one sport are likely to be competent at others, not to mention enjoying those others.

    Whatever the source of Asian kids’ musical successes, I agree the parents’ involvement and own interests and expectations are probably among the strongest factors, regardless of the child’s talents or lack thereof. Is this a bad or good thing? Well, I suppose, nothing intrinsically wrong with success earned honestly and with hard work. Although whether those kids are missing out on something else as a result is another discussion.

  • 8 Nana // Mar 31, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    One other often disregarded or, more likely, forgotten reason is that the perfection of classical instruments requires hours of practice… hours of practice ALONE… hours that free up Asian parents from having to spend quality time with their children and putting in the considerable cerebral effort that comes with say, teaching your child about world history, or concocting a fairy tale, or setting up a painting studio, or simply holding a discussion with a child about the ways of life.

    With piano, or violin you can get quick refinement without too much else besides money for the instrument and money for the tutors.

  • 9 sy88 // Apr 3, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Anonymous, your speil made much sense, but I couldn’t bring myself to read thru the whole thing. :)

    As for me, I’m of the piano, then flute (I wanted trumpet, but I got them mixed up *shrugs*), but then hit the jackpot with saxophone. Haha, how’s that for un-Asian-ness! Sax was a very cool instrument, so uncharacteristic of me. Thought I could attract some girls that way, pity 1) I sucked at it and 2)I went to an all-boys school, lol. It’s unfortunate I haven’t picked mine up for years though…

  • 10 foxwithcpu // Apr 7, 2008 at 8:09 am

    I sucked at piano, but loved ballet. So my mom pulled me out of ballet so that I “would have more time for piano.”

    I sucked at piano so much that I even had a separate piano tutor on days when I didn’t have piano classes… or math tutoring of course.

    Sucks for them because now I’m a journalist. And that piano is still sitting in their living room gathering dust.

  • 11 YASPY Chick // Apr 7, 2008 at 8:47 am

    I wanted to do ballet as a kid, but my grandparents and my parents thought that I’d grow up with really big thighs from all the muscle, so I stopped doing it (along with figure skating) after a year or two. I did do ballet on and off for “fun” in by the time I reached my teens though. Still do it from time to time now in my late 20s.

  • 12 Paula Yoo // Apr 7, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Hi! Really enjoying this website after a friend sent me the link. LOL at the violin/piano entry! I wrote a whole novel about it, if you are interested. It’s called GOOD ENOUGH and it was published this year by HarperCollins. I poke fun at the music/overachiever stereotypes and yes, my character plays the violin and yes, I too played violin in real life. You can go to my website at http://www.paulayoo.com to find out more about it. Now, instead of writing, I’m gonna procrastinate some more and read the rest of your website! LOL! (I will also link you to my site, too!) Best wishes, Paula

  • 13 Justin // Apr 8, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Thanks for leaving us the kind comment! =)

  • 14 tony van // May 26, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    i’m too cool for the piano and violin…
    that’s y i moved on the the real instrument, guitar!!!

  • 15 Cathy // May 28, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Yes, but piano and violin are only acceptable as after school activities not to be pursued professionally. That’s right…after winning numerous competitions all your life, you abandon that violin and prepare for med school when you’re in college. haha!

  • 16 Anonymous // Jun 22, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    I agree with this one… I’m Asian and I play both the violin and piano (learned piano first, then violin). My parents, especially my dad, did not allow me to play any other instruments such as the clarinet.

  • 17 Song hye Sun // Jun 24, 2008 at 12:53 am

    I am Asian =]…for me being Asian is nice =]..and working hard isn’t such a bad thing..so what if they push their kids to their limitations?they won’t lose anything..actually they GAIN SO MUCH from it.. i play piano and violin and i wish my parents PUSH ME MORE instead of pull a little behind towards laziness and be a couch potato for the rest of my life.. no single set of parents would want to harm their children by GIVING them “sufficient education” right?that would be REALLY IRONIC and nonsense!XD

  • 18 Regine // Jul 13, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    I am an Asian mum. i let my son plays piano 3 months ago (he is already 12) because he starts interesting in it. We have great fun at home with those songs. However, my other asian friend who teach their children like what the above author describes start teasing us, because my son not yet able to play those classical music and we do not plan to send my son to sit for examination. Piano, for them is not for fun or enjoying music, but passing the examination to tell people that what grade your children are in. And probably because my son start from a grade one book – not the beginner book, obviously because he is older and having practicing clarenet for a few years – not like their children starting from very young. I mean, my boy is definitely unable to do better than them (we don’t care) and these people are just help- jealous as long as their children are concerned (they are all kind and caring people in general).

  • 19 Jin // Jul 14, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Oh man, I took piano, violin, and flute lessons when I was younger. I actually still only play piano…

  • 20 Taylor // Aug 7, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    This is absolutely hilarious but there should definitely be a post about asain tourists and their fascination with squirrels.

  • 21 Helen // Sep 10, 2008 at 12:33 am

    I’m in a youth orchestra, and the strings are overwhelmingly asian, and there are like cults. the winds are all white.

    but when it’s time for auditions, no one talks to anyone becuase they’re all at home secretly practicing 6 hours a day (no exaggeration), but then telling other people “oh I haven’t even started the music yet”

  • 22 Coolness // Oct 3, 2008 at 3:13 am

    DUDE THIS IS PRETTY biasED.. i play piano.. and cello.. and violin hahahahah… cool eh??? distinction piano grade 8 … distinction grade 6 cello… pro eh??? I AM AZNNNN AND I M PROUD OF IT

  • 23 themusician // Oct 6, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    What isn’t mentioned is that fact that most Asian parents want their children to play classical instruments, but in most cases they are FORBIDDEN from considering it a career choice. They must become doctors or engineers… It has to be a social activity and talent that they can put on the college application… nothing more. You can enjoy it, but don’t get too comfortable.

  • 24 Kvietgrl // Oct 6, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    haha i totally feel ya, in my case it’s singing, my dad made me quit because he was afraid i might pursue it for a career

  • 25 Cympl // Nov 30, 2008 at 12:59 am

    I found this post to be quite sad – the idea of using children as a tool to stroke parents’ egos, and spending money to somehow ‘refine’ children, really is an archaic idea from the 19th century. These kids turn into mindless drones, that do whatever they are told by the visionary people who grew up learning how to work with people and think creatively (through playing, team sports, unstructured group projects).

  • 26 Ming // Nov 30, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    I feel ya. My friends used to call me Jing Mei (from Joy Luck Club) because my mother forced me to play piano. Of course, my math skills being as sucky as they are, I was pretty bad at the instrument. No, maybe not *bad* — I just saw it as pressing keys to make sounds, a tedious chore with none of the joy and passion attached to it. My mother, well, she loved gossiping with her co-workers about my latest exploits with Mozart, coming home every night to keep me on task for my daily 3 hour practice. After more pressure built when I was in middle school, it got bad. I have pages and pages of childish angst in my old journals about “pain-o”; I couldn’t bear the instrument. It took ten years of passive aggressive parenting and loud arguments before I had the guts to quit when I was 16.

    My goal as a parent: let kids find music on their own. I was shoved into playing piano, and it has taken years for me to enjoy classical music again. Learning a few Italian words and being able to type faster is not worth the hellish relations I had with my mother (nor the crappy piano recitals I dreaded each Christmas).

    Insofar as being an Asian stereotype, yes, I took college-level Calculus in high school. I’m better at English because I love books, something that’s only marginally accepted in my household because English counts for school grades — but it isn’t math or science-related, which makes reading a hobby that I have to do in my free time (that includes my homework).

    And… btw, Cympl, I’m not quite a mindless drone yet. I’m unique from my parents’ “ego-stoking”, and my upbringing certainly doesn’t bar me from being a “visionary” person. Thanks for not over-generalizing.

  • 27 jj // Jan 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    im asian and i play trombone and drums

  • 28 M // Feb 4, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Ah, my two (main) instruments. After reading some of these, I’m starting to think I’m more Asian than White. :p

  • 29 Im asian // Feb 14, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    and too busy flirting with girls to play piano and violin. :P

  • 30 snoopy // Apr 9, 2009 at 8:11 am

    nice post =D
    well i’ve been playing violin since i was 11..
    started off playing cornet when i was 9 but didnt like it much.
    it wasnt my parent’s decision..i wanted to play the violin..and now im in first year of 6th form..studying music as an A -level and doing grade8 violin :)
    if my parents had pushed me to pursue an instrument..i dont think i ever would have done well in it

  • 31 Anonymous // Jul 1, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I’m Asian, and I play three instruments, although completely of my own will. I’ve been playing piano since second grade, I have to say, it’s definitely not my favorite instrument, mainly because pretty much ALL other Asians I know play it, so the competition gets really boring. My other two instruments were chosen completely by me, without my parents’ urging at all, which might add to the fact that they are very non Asian: viola and bassoon. Okay, viola is similar to a violin in structure and technique, but the idea behind it is completely different. And bassoon? I bet no Asian parents have ever heard of such an instrument. When I brought home a school bassoon, my parents were like, “What the heck is that THING?” Hahaha. I do love music though, but I know people who loathe their instruments, and only play piano/violin because their parents want them to. My parents won’t forbid me from pursuing music as a profession, but they have been really against it, until I made second chair in county orchestra against high schoolers when I was in 7th grade, where they finally admitted I was “not bad”. Enough said on that topic.

    Oh, and my mom almost made me quit piano, because I didn’t want to be evaluated on level, or participate in competitions, and therefore wasn’t producing results she could brag about (Quote: “Well, what’s the point of playing if you don’t have anything to show that you’re good?”). It took me 2 years to convince her that competition and evaluation weren’t that important, and I should play just because I liked playing.

    Sometimes, though, I think they choose to completely ignore the fact that I play bassoon for school, because? 1. I’m not really good, because I don’t take private lessons. 2. They think it sounds atrocious. 3. They don’t even know what it is, or what it’s called.

    And I think Asian parents push their children because they see their Asian friends’ children doing well, and they think their own children would be happier if they persevered. Although this is true for my case, because in 4th grade, I did loathe piano, but I love it now, I don’t think we should be forced to excel at something we don’t like.

    Oh, and studies show that musically talented people are good at math. I don’t think they really relate to each other THAT much, but rather through the fact that many Asians are forced to be good at both. Hmm.

    Sorry about my long rant. Heheh…

  • 32 Asian // Jul 30, 2009 at 2:04 am

    I’m Asian. I only play piano. I never really have to compete becaus I know I’m better. (I know I sounded like an idiot there). But I am one of the few that are good at piano not because I was forced into playing. I practice only 40 minutes a day but believe me… I definitely have emotion in my pieces. When I was in the 7 th grade I tested for level ten in piano. LOL yes when I say I practice forty minutes, I really do. That was during my middle school years.

  • 33 Meghan // Jul 31, 2009 at 9:42 am

    I play both the piano and flute :)
    I always wanted to play the drums but my mom said “NO, You crazy go get the flute”
    My sister wanted to be a singer and she really had a good voice but my mom got so mad when she wanted to join chorus instead of band.
    My mom tried to make her play the piano but that didn’t work and now she wants her to play the flute or clarinet. haha
    My brother plays the clarinet.
    We are such a musically talented family haha

  • 34 Barron // Aug 23, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I play skin flute and horn.

  • 35 Roxzane // Aug 24, 2009 at 2:16 am

    I’m allowed any instument I want ^^
    I play:
    Violin (When I was younger for a year and a half)
    Piano (Since 2yrs old and now)
    Flute (Since gr.6 and now)
    Clarinet (One year now)
    Ukelele (For about a year at school)
    Recorder <-Everyone does it at school
    Guitar (For about 6 months to 8 months)
    Saxaphone (I can play because I can play clarinet)
    I sing in Choir (Since gr.6 and now)
    :P I think that is about it, but my parents never pushed me, it was all my choice XD
    *** I’m starting drums when school starts ***

  • 36 Vladan // Aug 28, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    imaging an asian playing bass guitar wow…. that is unreal much better than the typical string instrument –violin/cello or boring piano–or play das horner.

  • 37 ... // Nov 16, 2009 at 1:54 am

    dude…dont u think ur pretty biased?
    i mean, yeah, some of ur stuff does have its points but i think ur goin a bit ovaboard…lyke, some azn parents dont actually make their kids learn instruments. i kno a whole heap of azns who dont. im azn, i play the piano and violin – so wat? i chose to, and im glad i did cause i love them.

  • 38 Jolie // Dec 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    God I hate these blogs. They’re full of generalisations and provocative, offensive statements.

    I’m Eurasian, and a pianist. I did play the violin for a little while, as well as the electric guitar, drums, recorder and ocarina. My mother is Asian and never pushed me into anything – my dad, being 100% white German however, did.

    In any case, I’ve won several first prize trophies every year that I competed in competitions so, in fairness, I am a good musician. I’m really bad at maths, to the point where teachers have wondered if I have “dyscalculia”.

    Good musician does not necessarily equal good mathematician, or vice versa.

  • 39 Jian // Jan 14, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Haha, my two brothers and me all started piano at 4. these blogs are hilarious

  • 40 Ley // May 19, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    How about traditional Asian musical instruments? Is it because the parents see Western music as superior to their traditional music?

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  • 46 Alvin Tsao // Apr 30, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Why the freain violin, I always wonder. I mean piano is basic and good path to other instruments so that’s understandable? Violin though, I never understood why. Personally, I LOVE playing my erhu (or Chinese ‘violin). I also like chicks who play Guzheng, or Pipa. SEXY. Asian girls with violin are just normal and average now. So lame.

  • 47 Damein // Jun 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm

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  • 48 Jian Wen // Jul 18, 2011 at 5:07 am

    I’m one of those Asian parents who have kids who study the piano, yes, before one child even became a kindergartner. It started when we went visiting another Asian household one Christmas break and my kids saw other Asian kids playing the piano. When we got home, they asked if they could study the piano (so when they meet next time, they can join the fun — the children in that party were taking turns on the piano to “show of” their skills”, and the adults were like, “Wow, very nice”. No pushing or bragging. Heck, if you took years to learn a skill and you’re good at it, show it. That ain’t bragging).

    That was years ago and my kids still study the piano. Once a week music lessons — and I drive them and wait for them. I have to plan my work so I can pick them up and drive them. Price for the lesson is negligible (like a restaurant meal). Before buying the piano, I made sure they will stick with it for a semester (they did), and we bought the piano. They use it almost daily. The teacher (Ms. Emily, who is white) gives them homework and tell us which piece needs to be practiced. All we ask of our kids is they practice their piano (before they play video games or watch TV), so they will not be embarrassed with Ms. Emily.

    I don’t see it as “pushing” but giving them opportunities.

  • 49 jennifer // Jul 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    wtf! this is so racist!

  • 50 Christina // Aug 6, 2011 at 1:37 am

    “To Conservative Asians, most other instruments are a no-no. Especially brass instruments and instruments associated with bands and more popular music. To Asian parents, instruments such as trombones, saxophones, trumpets, percussive drums, guitar (especially ELECTRIC GUITAR) are blasphemous. Asian parents don’t want their child to risk becoming evil rock musicians!”

    I’m 100% Asian and I play electric guitar. I play heavy metal very loudly and my parents know all about it and fully support me. In college (I’m going to UC Santa Barbara so I’m not a dumb Asian, but I’m not extremely smart either) I plan on joining a hard rock or metal band. Time to be an evil rock musician.

    And also, if so many parents don’t want their kids playing the other instruments, then why are so many smart, well-behaved marching band geeks Asian? .

    “Asian kids must be proper. They must be able to play the kind of music that can be heard at church or when family friends visit. They must be able to read at a 5th grade level before they are potty-trained.”

    I’m not ‘proper’, but I’m well-behaved (not super innocent/clean though) and am respectful, and don’t cause trouble. My parents did start me on piano so I would have talent so I could impress others and feel better about myself.

  • 51 Kathie // Oct 30, 2011 at 11:55 am

    lolz, my parents actually never mention anything about me having to play an instrument, but at a young age, I really wanted to play the violin but they said no cause I was wayy to young, I finally had the chance in 4th grade and I had so much fun! And I’m still continuing!

  • 52 eL-Oh-eL // Feb 25, 2012 at 6:00 am

    And to add;

    - for a most of these kids learning violin/piano, they would hardly (if ever) play one again after entering college
    - the list of songs are limited to Bach, Strauss, Mozart, and long dead European composers… and long-dead European composers only. It is forbidden to play modern pieces from artistes like Elton John, Ben Folds, Patti Smith, The Corrs, Regina Spektor, Queen, or Lou Reed.

    Richard Clayderman is an exception

  • 53 Cool Asian Mom // Apr 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Hehe, I am second generation piano playing AA and now my 8yo daughter plays violin. I don’t care if we sound like a cliched stereotype, everyone is missing out! Nothing beats coming home from a long crappy day at work, pouring a glass of wine and then listen to your kiddie belt out a concerto! We practise and play duets together as well. I hope when she is older, she has nice memories of our time together learning and making music. I emphasize the “Learn” but also the “Joy” as well. I don’t plan on making her do exams or competitions. (I know she’s good, I don’t need a sheet of paper to tell me that.) I do want her to have a solid classical foundation though. Let’s face it…..after a solid handle on classical, all pop music is laughably easy. and PS, I don’t make her perform in front of other people to show off. I do ask her to play for me though, and she always looks really proud of herself that she can play “grown-up” music and make her mama happy. I am so lucky. What a great kid I have.

  • 54 Cool Asian Mom // Apr 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I would also like to add, why are people so mad that their mothers insist of learning classical music and not, for example, pop? Pop music is so easy. Do that on your own time, no one is stopping you. Sheet music’s mostly free nowadays online. If the parents are coughing up $2500/year for lessons you better be learning the hard stuff which is classical. You don’t need to spend that kind of money just to be playing some Justin Bieber tune, c’mon.

  • 55 Stefani // May 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    I live in Malaysia. I am of Chinese, Indian and Spanish descent. I am a piano major and also play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, drum, cello, clarinet and recorder.

  • 56 christineka // Aug 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I know this is an old article. I just came across it in a swagbucks search. My 9 year old son has been taking piano lessons for a year. His teacher says he’s amazing and a prodigy. We went today and yesterday to a piano competition. We were shocked. Almost all the other kids are Asian. (We live in Utah- a largely white community.) They are amazing! I think we may as well quit the competition thing now because my son doesn’t have a chance. I make him practice an hour and a half a day, but I won’t make him do any more. I had googled just because I was really curious how come all the amazing young musicians are Asian. I grew up in a large community in a big city in California and it was a given that all the best kids at academics and music were Asian. My husband tells me it’s because Asian kids are disciplined. I guess so, but I don’t want to torture my kid or have him write unhappy blogs about what I did you him.

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