For Diamond Bar High School junior Eden Chen, his beloved piano is much more than just a musical instrument he practices daily, it has changed his perspective of the world.
“Piano is a change in the kind of daily way of thinking. It gave me confidence in the creativity that I bring to school or anything, since it makes me more confident in any ideas I have and I can present them well,” Chen said.
Chen has entered numerous piano competitions starting in 2007, and has done well in competitions such as the American Fine Arts Festival, the 13th International Russian Music Piano Competition, and California International Young Artists MusicFest Competition. Chen was also invited to play at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
In addition to competitions, Chen applied for a scholarship opportunity from “From the Top,” a national program used to feature the talents and skills of young musicians, in 2013. He sent in a recording and was one of the 20 applicants selected annually for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, which comes with a $10,000 scholarship for studying music as well as being broadcasted on “From The Top’s” nationwide radio station.
His road to success hasn’t been so smooth. Since beginning piano lessons at age six, Chen has been deeply ingrained with his first coach’s teachings, as she taught him to view piano from an emotional standpoint.
Although Chen thrived under his coach of seven years, they eventually stopped meeting and Chen switched to a prominent music school based in Los Angeles.
Chen wasn’t used to the professional setting of the school and found it demeaning. In addition, the teachers didn’t offer any form of guidance, as Chen said that they didn’t teach him efficiently and demanded too much from him.
Chen left the school in 2014 and has been instructed by teacher Rufus Choi ever since. Choi has been a huge influence on Chen as he shares a lot of his experiences with him.
“A key thing he teaches is that you have to experience things in life because if you want to put it into your music, you have to hear it in your head before it goes into the piano,” Chen said.
In addition, Chen’s natural born talent has made a positive impact in the mind of DBHS’ Grammy winning music director Steve Acciani.
“He’s one of the best musicians I’ve ever seen in my 28 years of teaching. He has done a great job mastering the technical abilities of playing the piano and he’s matched that with an innate understanding of music and the ability to communicate the music expressive quality beyond just the technical aspects,” Acciani said.