He’s sold out great concert halls around the globe, made Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People,’ and, at just 33 years old, Lang Lang is the most popular concert pianist in the world. We were beyond honored to get the chance to ask Lang Lang about his astounding professional career, including his latest venture, Piano Academy, featuring a series of books that are sure to influence the next generation of piano virtuosos in the making. (Enter to WIN your own copy of Lang Lang’s Mastering the Piano series, a $70 value, at the end of this post!)
What’s been dubbed the “Lang Lang effect,” watching and hearing the exuberant, virtuosic pianist has created a surge in the number of youth interested in music. More than 40 million children in Lang Lang’s native China are now learning to play piano due to his influence. Lang Lang has made music education a personal mission, taking every opportunity to highlight the importance of learning to play.
Get Your Free “Rondo alla Turca” Download
Experience the “Lang Lang” effect for yourself by watching his stunning performance of Mozart’s “Rondo alla Turca,” and then download sheet music for the song for FREE as our gift with coupon code (add the sheet music to your cart, then enter the coupon code at checkout).*
*One coupon use per customer. Coupon may be redeemed for “Rondo alla Turca” only. Coupon expires at 11:59 pm CDT on November 30, 2015. Coupon code is MELANGATURCA
About Lang Lang’s “Mastering the Piano” Series
Given the inspiring nature of both Lang Lang’s musical prowess and exciting personality, it seems only natural that he would partner with a major music publisher to develop and distribute an educational series, thus Mastering the Piano was born. Mastering the Piano features a great and varied array of repertoire for the developing pianist, but what really sets the series apart are the personalized studies and technique memos found throughout the five volumes.
Separated into progressive levels 1-5 (corresponding with grades, starting at early/intermediate), Lang Lang has taken great care to provide advice and exercises that speak to the importance of diligent and earnest practice of each technical area. For example, Level 1 contains 8 units with unit topics ranging from exploring the keyboard to playing chords and dynamics. Subsequent levels target scales, hand independence, advanced ornamentation and style. All the lessons are punctuated with personal anecdotes and lessons from Lang Lang, and each book starts with a series of beautiful full color photographs and inspirational quotations.
The greatest asset of the series is Lang Lang himself. The same exuberant feeling you get while watching or listening to him perform translates into clear, easy-to-follow lessons that excite developing pianists. Younger players will enjoy using Mastering the Piano as a supplemental tool to their method studies, and the series will no doubt help them advance their technique.
Q&A with Lang Lang
We could go on and on about how valuable and exciting this new series is, but why not hear more about it from the legend himself? Lang Lang was generous enough to take time out of his packed schedule to answer a few of our questions about Mastering the Piano, his dedication to music education and what it’s like to be the most famous pianist in the world.
Musicnotes: What inspired the launch of Lang Lang Piano Academy? How did the Lang Lang/Faber Music partnership come to be?
Lang Lang: It first started back in March 2012 when Faber Music and I had our first meeting. Music education has become such an integral part of my life and this was an important stage in my career. For me, Faber Music was the perfect partner to help me on this journey. We explored different possibilities and approaches for the books, but it was clear from the start that through the Lang Lang Piano Academy, we would inspire the next generation of pianists.
Was there a certain aesthetic or emotion you had in mind when creating the Mastering the Piano series?
What I want this series to do most of all is develop children’s imaginations alongside their technique. And so I have included art that evokes certain emotions, ideas and anecdotes that help to bring the pieces to life – I think they are a perfect balance of technique, study and fun!
How did you go about choosing repertoire for Mastering the Piano?
I love a wide range of music and wanted to include music from all over the world in these books – there are pieces from North America, China, France and Korea. My editor helped me by suggesting pieces that were right for the level and technique being explored. I also wanted to include studies and repertoire which I had studied as a child.
You’ve made inspiring and supporting the next generation of musicians an integral part of your professional career. Why is it so important?
I believe that music is a powerful tool. It can heal and unite us and it makes us better people. My passion is the piano and I want to share that and inspire today’s kids to explore classical music and the piano, just as it has inspired and helped me. Seeing the effect that music has on those kids motivates me to spend more time and energy creating unique experiences to reach even more children.
Can you speak to the importance of including classical music in modern piano repertoire?
Growing up, I learnt a lot about Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach in particular, and also Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov… I learnt about the events in Europe around that time and so it felt natural to play the music of that time, knowing the historical context. There is so much range in the classical repertoire and to have the knowledge of that repertoire and the ability to adapt to the style is essential in becoming a good pianist.
Do you have personal favorite songs to perform, or do any performances come to mind as highlights?
I have so many, it’s difficult to choose. One of my favourite pieces to perform by Liszt is the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6. I started to play this piece at a very early age and it helped me build confidence at the keyboard. It also helped me enormously with my technique, especially because of the famous octaves, and is a good way of teaching students how to play rubato. I’ve also particularly enjoyed playing Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower) from Mastering the Piano Level 1!
You’ve sold out great concert halls around the world, played for countless dignitaries, inspired millions to embrace music… do you still experience the same joy now while playing?
For me, playing the piano is like a musical world – it takes me to a place beyond reality and I can’t tell you how amazing it feels every time I step out onto the concert platform. I feel so privileged to bring live music to different audiences all around the world, and wherever I go I am met with such enthusiasm and kindness – that is a great reward!
Enter to Win!
We’re so grateful to Lang Lang for sharing his thoughts and insights with us. Now it’s YOUR turn to share what music education has meant to you.
Leave a message in the comments section below telling us what music education means to you, and we’ll choose one response at random to WIN your own copy of Lang Lang’s Mastering the Piano series (a $70 USD value). Leave your comment by 11:59 pm CDT on August 31, 2015 for your entry into our drawing.**