By Samantha Iniguez
Growing up with a family of musicians, Shan Jiang was quickly drawn to the silk keys of the piano.
East Los Angeles College Applied Music Major and pianist, Jiang is working toward becoming ELAC’s third student to win the California Professional Music Teachers Association Honors Competition.
After studying music for many years in China with guidance from her family of musicians, Jiang transferred to ELAC to continue her education where she met music professor Lucy Nargizyan.
Nargizyan said she quickly recognized Jiang’s talent and worked closely with her to help her reach a higher artistic level.
“Our goal was to make her into a real artist. Not just a student with good technique, but a musician that can stand out and really show something special when she plays,” Nargizyan said.
Although Jiang had originally planned on sticking to music education, with the support and teachings of Nargizyan, she started working on her performing skills and participating in more competitions.
To her surprise, she won first place in the 19-26 age group at the California Professional Music Teachers Association District 9 Honors’ Auditions Competition.
She performed two pieces: Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 31 No. 3 and Chopin Scherzo No. 1. “Everyone there was really good, and I’m honored to have won first place,” Jiang said.
She also said every piece of music she’s learned to play had its own obstacles and each required a lot of practice.
She’s inspired by Chinese pianist Lang Lang because of his dedication to his craft. He devotes long hours to perfect his art, and she emulates that. Jiang currently teaches a class of 20 students and encourages them to also study as much as possible. She considers practice the key to be a successful musician.
“I practice every day. I have to,” she said. She is working toward perfecting her performance for her upcoming state competition on April 6 at the California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley.
She will be competing against the 8 other CAPMT District Winners. She dedicates between two and eight hours a day to playing the piano, depending on what her schedule allows. Nargizyan hopes they can reach a level in which Jiang can effortlessly perform a very complex piece of music.
She hopes for Jiang to perform in a way where the audience is not thinking how hard the piece must be to play, but instead get lost in the beauty of its composition. Jiang applied to transfer to the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music where she hopes to continue studying music as well as working on her performance skills. Jiang will also be performing at ELAC’s Festival of the Arts on March 21-23 at the Plaza of the Arts.