Several years ago, Lang Lang told the Tiger Moms of the world to relax. There is a time not only for hard practice, but also for producing beautiful music with passion. Apparently some of China’s parents were listening.

After adjusting a stool to reach the grand piano in front of her, 8-year-old Wang Keyi takes a deep breath, sets her hands on the keyboard and starts to play the instrument. Swiftly and gracefully she performs to much applause from an audience in the thousands at the city’s Ningbo Grand Theater.

Wang is the top prize winner for the group (9 year old and below) at Steinway & Sons International Children and Youth Piano Competition, held in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, in December. She looks like any other girl her age when she softly pats her dress during media interviews after her performance.

“I feel happy, and I will continue to work hard. I enjoy music,” says Wang, smiling. Her shyness comes across, too.

Wang’s early success signals a change in approach to piano education among the country’s more than 5 million children and young adults learning music, many teachers say.


As parents increasingly realize they need to expose their children to different instruments and enable them to imbibe a greater understanding of music, they take the children to concerts for “immersive learning”, says Wu Ying, dean of the piano department at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music.

Instead of forcing knowledge through traditional methods, parents are now more keen to be seen as their children’s learning partners.


Here’s the video of Lang Lang’s interview with the Wall Street Journal: