As a teacher, my role is to help students search for the hidden oasis within the desert: to realize their undiscovered potential.

Qing Jiang

Professor Qing Jiang could read musical notes before she could count. That speaks volumes about the indispensable role music plays in her life.

Jiang was just 2 years old when her mother, a choir director, began to teach her to read music at the family's home in China. By age 3, Jiang was taking piano lessons every day. At first, she struggled with the discipline required for daily repetition, but after moving beyond rudimentary pieces, Jiang found new inspiration in Haydn and Chopin, whose rich works reinvigorated her passion and commitment to piano.

Though serious about music, Jiang hadn't initially considered it a career. That changed during a high school exchange trip to Tempe, Ariz., at age 17. While she was living with an American host family, word of Jiang's talent spread, and she was invited by the city's mayor to give a concert as a symbol of cultural diplomacy. Arizona State University piano faculty in the audience offered her a full scholarship on the spot.

After moving to the U.S., Jiang received her bachelor of music degree in piano performance from ASU. She then went on to get her master's from the Juilliard School and a doctorate from the New England Conservatory of Music. Jiang became the first Chinese-born Jack Kent Cooke Arts Scholar and has served as guest artist, lecturer and clinician at a number of universities, all the while receiving stellar reviews for her performances at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, England's Aldeburgh Festival and elsewhere.

She remains passionate about music education, remembering the tremendous impact that mentors played in her own life. "While performance is a huge part of my career, I want to pass down what I've learned to the next generation. That's the most valuable thing that teachers do," says Jiang.

In addition to working with music majors who study piano, Jiang wants to influence others. She takes pleasure in working closely with students of varying musical backgrounds, abilities and interests and helping them to uncover their passions and strengths.

"Every student has unique talents, but it's easy to feel lost during a larger process of self-discovery," she says. "As a teacher, my role is to help students search for the hidden oasis within the desert: to realize their undiscovered potential. At Bucknell, the emphasis on personalized education really helps achieve this goal."

Posted Oct. 7, 2016

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