Chiyan Lai


What do you teach at WollCon?

Piano (for all ages).

What genres do you teach?


What is it that you love about teaching music – particularly at Wollongong Conservatorium?

I think Music is a beautiful language that is difficult to be replaced. It is also about humanity. 

Please share a particular career highlight and why it’s special to you.

For me, I do not have a particular career highlight but there are two stories in my music career that sit in my heart. I remembered this happened in one of my volunteering experiences at SAN (Sydney Adventist Hospital). I thought it was just going to be one of those normal piano playing days and I begin with J.S.Bach’s Prelude in C major. After I finished a patient walked towards me with tears in her eyes. The power of music brought comfort to her during her difficult time. I was touched by this occasion.
The other story was when teaching one of my students who had lots of unpleasant moments in his journey of learning music. Initially, he showed little interest in piano class. I communicated and worked with him slowly, week by week, taking small steps and one goal at a time. He eventually brought his favourite music to the class and asked me to assist him in learning the piece. This is one of the moments that I was truly happy for him and I felt rewarded as his teacher.

What’s one piece of music that you’d recommend people listen to?

There are so many different pieces to listen to. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Bartók, Ligeti, Kurtág, Yuyuma and many more. But if I really need to recommend a work, I would probably be going back to the roots: J.S. Bach – The Two-Part Inventions. I picked the following video as the young performers at the harpsichord speak volumes on their learning journey in music as well as their teachers who teach and nurture the musical seeds.