Dr. Christina Tio

Suzuki Piano Faculty
Academy Piano
Program Area: 
Private Instruction
Suzuki Education
Group Lessons
With Music Institute of Chicago since: 

Doctor of Philosophy in musicology, University of Southampton (UK)

Master of Music in piano performance, University of Reading (UK)

Bachelor of Arts with honors in piano performance, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (UK)

Significant teachers and mentors: 

Frank Wibaut, Malcolm Wilson, Peter Donohoe, Anne Queffelec, Renna Kallaway, and Venessa Latarche.

Teaching philosophy and areas of expertise: 

I seek to nurture the developmental skills and character of young students by providing them with a structured and well-rounded musical education, to guide them to the sense of accomplishment that can come only after genuine challenge, dedication and effort.


I specialized in Suzuki Piano, which is by far the most effective approach for nurturing and developing the musical ability of a child from a very young age. Based on Suzuki's "mother language" philosophy, very young children learn to play the piano through their senses after listening to recordings and observing how other children learn. A cooperative relationship between teacher, parent, and student is essential for a successful learning process. A parent is expected to be present at the child's lesson and receive training as a practice partner to the child. As a result, Suzuki parents and children are often known to build strong parent-child bonds, which would be treasured for a lifetime.


Beginning lessons focus on the fundamentals of piano playing such as posture, sensitivity to good pianistic tone, phrasing, and rhythm, as well as developing a routine of daily home practice. More experienced learners will be guided in developing technical tools musically through a wide range of repertoire. By integrating technique and musicality, they will be encouraged to strive for brilliance and craftsmanship while connecting with the imaginative and emotional content of their music. Emphasis is also placed on the intelligent use of tonal color and the shaping of musical phrases by relating with personal life experiences so that, creatively and imaginatively, the students may be fully engaged in communicating music that is both exciting and inspiring.


My students and parents are also immersed in a studio culture characterized by praise and encouragement. As a close-knit community of learners, everyone will be encouraged to listen, practice, and perform for each other so that music may be integrated into a significant place in the students' life. The ultimate goal is for each student to bring the mind, body, and soul to music making, an experience which will be meaningful and rewarding to students and listeners. The students may also come to know and enjoy the instrument as an effective vehicle for self-expression, as well as a means to connect, to bring joy and beauty to the world around them.

Awards and achievements: 

Suzuki Piano Registered Book Trainings (Bks 1-7)

Suzuki Piano Practicum

Suzuki Piano Teaching Strategies

Suzuki Principle in Action

Certificate of Achievement (SAA)

Music Mind Games Units 1 and 2

Professional affiliations & activities: 

Suzuki Association of the Americas

Music Teachers National Association


Favorite practice tip: 

This is a short video clip from a Parent Roundtable at a virtual Suzuki Piano Institute with a group of teachers and parents in Singapore in August 2020, where some of my studio families offered to Zoom in to share their experience of Suzuki piano lessons. Alex (age 15) and parents have been a family in my studio at the Music Institute for the past nine years.


(Video courtesy of Nurture with Love Suzuki Music School, Singapore and with permission from Alex and parents.)

Favorite musical moment: 

Some of my most memorable musical moments involved the picturesque English countryside. I had lived in the UK for more than a decade as a student. Being with my piano after spending a few hours on the hills in Kent, Canterbury, or Lake District, my mind and spirit often felt awakened and sensitized—to become better in touch with my sound, regardless of the repertoire. To experience that which is bigger than myself at the piano, to be lost in wonder, awe, and love in performance, when all striving ceases, those were some of my most amazing and unforgettable musical moments. That is also what makes the study of music worthwhile. I have tasted something so good and so profound; it would be selfish of me not to share. I consider it my calling and life mission to help others come to experience the power of music – which is capable of transforming life, both our own life and of those around us.