News & Features
Great Performers Can Make Great TeachersTuesday, February 4, 2014
Pianist Susan Tang, assistant professor, music, has taken her love and passion for music around the country and has finally planted roots in Chicago.
“I love Chicago,” Tang said. “I’ve lived in a lot of places, but Chicago allows me to get that Midwestern charm with world-class music and art.”
Tang grew up just outside Vancouver, where she began playing piano at age five. She said she fell in love with the instrument because she could be both the harmony and the melody.
“On the piano, you can be the entire orchestra with just your 10 fingers,” Tang said.
Tang pursued her passion for the piano and moved to multiple places around the country to complete her education and teach. Prior to coming to Chicago, Tang lived in New York City, where she taught while earning her doctorate, then moved to North Dakota to teach at the University of North Dakota.
Even though she has been an instructor in multiple places, her reason for teaching has not changed.
“I enjoy the process and the step-by-step progress,” Tang said. “When you see your students achieve what they have been working toward, it’s very fulfilling.”
Her students agree that she brings out the best in them because of her joy and excitement for the music.
“She’s not afraid to be silly and jump up and down to help us let go and just play,” said music education major Angela Zuniga.
While silliness may be Tang’s technique to get the best out of her students, she said faculty members in the music department work hard to build a sense of community and an innovative learning environment for the students.
Tang said students can expect small classes and a well-rounded music background once they graduate from Northeastern’s music department.
“Our faculty believe the students are valuable, and they take a personal interest in each student,” Tang said.
She explained how some institutions have instructors who are great performers who happen to teach, but at Northeastern the instructors are great performers and great instructors.
“The faculty puts the same energy into teaching as they do into perfecting their craft,” Tang said.