KIDS WITH DREAMS

W I T H   E L I A N A   Y U B I N   C H A N G  ( H A W A I I , U S A )

My daughter’s name is Eliana Yubin Chang. She was born on August 24, 2012, in Honolulu, Hawaii. I am Korean, and my husband is American born Chinese. She grew up in a hybrid household of both Asian and American cultures. Eliana enjoyed music since very little, she loved musical toy instruments as well as listening to a variety of music, including classical. She already had a feel for music when she was one year old when listening to slow, melancholy classical music she tears up with a sad face.

Eliana started playing the piano when she was five years old —first starting at Masaki School of Music, here in Honolulu.

She picked up her skills fast, and within a few months, she was practising Carmen by Bizet. That year we entered her into her first competition where she received 3rd place in her age group. Later after that, she was able to get in with a University of Hawaii professor, who continued to build and fine-tune her skills.

Practising the piano as a kid has many benefits. Since being parents, my husband and I agreed that learning music is essential. Music develops both sides of the brain at the same time, especially with piano, since both sides need to work together to have one synchronized melody.

By learning the music you are also building your brain to be better at math, art, science, and cognitive thinking.

Disadvantages of playing the piano are that it is not portable, unlike other instruments where you can pack it up and take it anywhere with you. With piano, you are bound to just one area at a time.

Personal skills that we are seeing in her is that daily practice develops persistence. Allowing her to have that “never give up,” attitude, even though things are hard now, the final product will be very self-gratifying and achievable if you keep working at it.

What has been her proudest moment? What has been her most challenging moment?
Eliana’s proudest moment was the year when she was six years old, and she learned a variety of RCM grade 8 pieces —drawing many compliments from her professor, which made her feel the proudest.

Eliana’s most challenging moment was preparing for her first international competition, where she only had one month to prepare with her professor before the competition. She was able to finetune Carmen, as well as play Bach’s invention 13 very well.

Is she shy?
Eliana is the shyest, and quietest girl we have ever met. I encouraged her to focus on her music and not think about the situation. I educated her that music heals people physically and mentally, so you are doing an excellent service to someone. She agrees and is happy that she can provide this for someone that wants to listen to her play. Continue to compliment and give a lot of encouragement.

"Everyone grows at their own pace. Be patient with them, even an inch of growth is an inch closer."

How often and long she trains?
“Quality over quantity.” Eliana has a toddler brother who loves playing with her and takes up a lot of her time. We also try to focus her on other subjects besides piano. My husband and I always agreed that the piano shouldn’t be her whole life. We want her to be well rounded and be good at other things as well. I try to teach her the fundamentals and therefore, she can train herself. With that being said, we try not to skip a day of practice, even if it’s just once playing a piece or technique.

What was her most tremendous success?
Eliana’s most tremendous success was finishing each level of lesson books per week, developing her reading skills tremendously. By doing this, she can self learn and practice much more challenging pieces.

Eliana’s dream is one day performing in front of a broad audience, which she tells me it means she has conquered her shyness. I teach her to dream big and shoot for the moon. I show her a variety of people who are the greatest at their craft. Such as pianist, cellist, skaters, giving her a sense that if you dream big, you too can achieve it.

Eliana does want to be a professional pianist, and she has also mentioned she wants to be like her piano professor. Her favourite pianist is Seong-Jin Cho, the first South Korean to become the winner of the International Chopin Piano Competition.

She gets motivated by compliments and encouragement. I also play a lot of different classical pieces on the videos for her so she can comprehend the different styles of classical music. I keep telling her many success stories, hoping she will find them inspirational. 

As parents, we hope the best for our kids. Keyword being “hope,” we can only do our parts in providing the best for them. Eventually, it will become their choice to make the proper decisions. By encouraging and motivating our kids, we provide the guidance that’s necessary to pilot them in the right direction. In hopes that they become the best,
they can be and beyond. 

I hope in the next few years Eliana continues on this current path, self-motivated, makes the right decisions, and develops herself to become everything she dreams she can be.

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