Lang Lang Shares A Tale Of Two Teachers

A great art teacher can make a huge difference in a young life — and a bad teacher can be a great discouragement. Concert pianist Lang Lang tells us about a bad teacher he had and a great teacher who led him to discovering the music of many different cultures.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A great art teacher can made a huge difference in the development of a young artist and a bad teacher can be, well, really bad. Concert pianist Lang Lang had one especially bad teacher. He's just going to call her Professor Angry.

LANG LANG: Unfortunately, Professor Angry, I wouldn't say she's a bad person, but once she start teaching, she make you really scared. And so I started to afraid of playing the piano instead of bring the best of emotions toward the music. I start to hate the piece I am performing. So for six months, I lost interest in music. I lost my direction in music. Basically, I lost myself.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LANG: I think great teacher should have abilities to open the imagination world of a child. My great teacher, Gary Graffman(ph), he helped me to open my mind toward so many different styles of piano playing - Russian music, German music, French music, Spanish music, American music. And he encouraged me to do more Chinese music. He really opens up the music world and from that point, I'm not afraid of learning different cultures.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: That's concert pianist Lang Lang. He has an international music foundation to bring music and music education to children. He's currently on a world tour and plays in Venezuela next week.

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