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Teacher Spotlight on Dr. Jeong Min Lee, piano

Teacher Spotlight on Dr. Jeong Min Lee, piano

Interview by Erin Cano, violin 


Dr. Jeong Min Lee joined MIC in 2019 as a Suzuki piano teacher.


What led you to become a Suzuki teacher?

I was fascinated when I first saw my daughter's Suzuki group performance. It was the beautiful performance with ease that I had always wanted to see in my piano students. At the time, I had an interview with Dr. Susanne Baker at DePaul, and she introduced me to Suzuki piano. Since then, I have taken Suzuki teacher training. Each training session has led me to find many valuable and meaningful ideas in Suzuki teaching and to become a Suzuki teacher. 


Which of your teachers inspired you the most? What aspects of their teaching have you integrated into your own style?

It is difficult to tell who inspired me the most because all my teachers helped me to grow in different ways. 

Haesun Paik led me to understand music as an expressive language, Haewon Song helped me to explore physical movements and sharpen them for effectiveness, and Alan Chow encouraged me to dig into the sonority of the piano. Those ideas always guide me in my own teaching and playing.


What is your favorite Suzuki piece to teach?

Cuckoo is my favorite Suzuki piece! I enjoy the amazing moment when students begin to play with their hands together and hear harmonies for the first time.


You have performed in numerous concerts around the Chicago area. What is one of your most memorable performances?

Since I became a parent, I have thought deeply about what classical pieces would be the most attractive to children so that I can help them to love music and inspire them to practice. I was beginning to develop the ideas into a concert program when I met three musician friends who are also moms. We worked together to choose pieces for a recital. My most memorable performance was made with them as the Klesis Chamber Ensemble at DePaul right before music venues closed due to the pandemic. The program was for young listeners, and it was not easy to rearrange the pieces for our ensemble. However, it was rewarding to see the young audiences, including my children, listening with curiosity and excitement and to hear them whistling the tunes in the lobby after the concert. 


Do you have any upcoming performances, about which you would like to share some information?

My next performance will be an outdoor concert for neighbors before the weather gets colder. We plan to send invitations to our neighbors and ask them to RSVP so that we can control the size of the audience. For this exciting event, we have rehearsed in a backyard or a sunroom with the door and windows open wearing a mask. The concert will be composed of the pieces heard very often in movies.


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