phyllis pan

The Sound of Music

Meet senior Phyllis Pan. Jazz Band piano player for three years. Winner for numerous international competitions. Hardcore piano player who practices for six hours per weekday and even longer on the weekends. Class of 2019 for Jacobs School of Music and student of famous pianist Menahem Pressler.

Pan has been playing piano for 12 years, and she first started playing at the age of five due to her father’s influence. Pan’s father is an amateur player who first nurtured Pan’s love for piano. When Pan faced troubles with piano, he was the one who helped her through the lows.

“[My dad] would practice with me and push me. He would sit with me, practice together, and tell me what I was doing wrong. He’s just been a big influence on my life. He made me hard working, persistent and determined in achieving my goal. He made me into a really strong musician and pushed me very hard because he wants the best for me and he loves me very much,” Pan said.

Pan’s parents have supported her in her decision to major in music, especially her father. Because Pan’s father did not have the chance to take piano lessons, he has always supported Pan wholeheartedly.

“They have always been very supportive of me pursuing music, and they are really happy that I got into the top conservatories, especially because I got almost three full [scholarships]. They are really excited because I got a full ride for Jacobs, so they don’t have to pay for anything. But they are mostly happy because I’m going to be in a good environment with a good teacher. That’s the most important thing,” Pan said.

In addition to her family, Pan’s teacher Elena Makarova also impacted her piano career. Instead of focusing on just the mechanics of piano, Makarova pays more attention to the details and the musicality.

“She’s a Russian teacher, and she brought her Russian culture and values into her music. She really emphasizes on the beauty of sound and touch, and it’s just really great,” Pan said.

Pan received a full scholarship to the Jacobs School of Music where she will be attending this coming fall to major in music. Although her first choice was the Eastman School of Music, she chose Jacobs because of an opportunity to study with pianist Menahem Pressler.

“Eastman is actually my dream school, but when I got noticed that I will be studying with Mr. Pressler at Jacobs, I was very humbled and excited for this opportunity because he is so famous all around the world. He still gives concerts [worldwide], and it’s a really big honor to be able to study with him,” Pan said.

By Emily Chen, Staff writer

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