Getting To Know You: Susie Xu
Susie Xu is our fabulous in-house piano teacher. Her students age between 4 to over 70 and have a broad range of goals. Get in touch if you've been thinking about having lessons as limited spaces remain.
When did you start playing the piano and what are your fondest memories of early lessons?
I started playing the piano when I was four. I was enrolled in a kindergarten that really supported the performing arts and already had individual practice rooms, teachers, and staff to help us practice. So my fondest memory was definitely getting to leave class and go to these lessons! Also a highlight was getting my first piano. My parents aren’t musicians so understandably they were a little unsure about the whole thing at first, and started me off on a borrowed keyboard.
Which composers are your favourite to perform and teach?
I’ve been playing a lot of music by Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev, but Chopin definitely takes the top spot on the list, especially as he wrote so much for the solo piano and all his works are beautiful but technically demanding at the same time. As for teaching, I teach a lot of beginners so it’s more about variety and getting exposed to different styles of music, but the major composers like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven are definitely in the mix. For adult students, the lessons are a lot more tailored towards their interests, whether it’s learning pop songs or classical pieces, or digging a little bit deeper and finding out why certain chord progressions or harmonies sound good.
What is the best part of being a piano teacher?
Definitely seeing the student understand a new concept or nail a new piece and seeing the excitement on their faces. It’s always amazing to watch kids’ eagerness to learn new pieces or adult students finding the missing piece of the puzzle that allows them to see how everything fits together. Plus, it’s always a good thing when your job doesn't feel like a job. I always look forward to seeing my students every week and engaging with them on a one-to-one level.
What kind of music do you like to listen to?
It definitely depends on the mood and what I’m doing! I like listening to pop songs to get me going in the morning, and get me through whatever physical activity I’m doing. I like music by Charlie Puth and Lauv, but it’s hard to name them all because I tend to like songs over specific albums or artists. When I am chilling at night or browsing the internet, I listen to ABC Classic radio. It’s also my alarm, so everyday I get to wake up to something different. Sometimes it’s the brass section of the orchestra that blasts me out of my bed!
What are you up to at the moment?
I’m currently on university semester break after a very hectic couple of months. I am planning to learn a bit of jazz piano and maybe pick up the cello or the trombone again! Other than that, I am definitely enjoying all the free time, and taking advantage of all the things that have been closed down such as dining in and going to the gym. I’ve also joined a soccer club this year, and have been enjoying training and socialising very much. Fingers crossed we get to play matches soon!