Bill Chen – Tisch School of the Arts

‘It’s his capability to read a student, define and balance the necessary amounts of fun, freedom and work load required for a student, but taking note that each person is different with external emotional and physical loads, that separates him from not just piano teachers, but all teachers.’

I don’t really know where to begin when it comes to Michael Low. It’s hard to explain, how or what he’s able to do, in words. I can’t remember, in school, having a class that I actually enjoyed, except for Michael’s lessons. He brings this enthusiasm to the class that doesn’t overwhelm anyone- ranging from students looking into music as a only a hobby to professional colleagues who are looking for advice. He’s never too much to deal with, but is still able to keep pulling new creative and technical capabilities out of each student.

I remember the first class I had with him, I was 11 years old and accustomed to being lead or told what to do when it came to everything- including my 2 years in piano. When I met him, it wasn’t the regular formal introduction, but rather how a young boy met a new friend. It was like this bewildering mutual discovery. The first thing he asked me when it came to the piano lesson was, “How would you like to learn your pieces?”

I couldn’t say, way back then, that it had any significance on me, but looking back I recognize it as being the beginning of an remarkable relationship. It is revealed, in that single line, that he didn’t lead bureaucratically- without creative input, and at the same time he knew that I wasn’t ready to have the total liberty of choices in the contents of what I wanted to learn.

Sure, he has the technical abilities of teaching a student the necessities in being a good pianist and sure, he has the empathy to bring out the passionate and emotional side in every student without being over self-indulgent, but it’s his capability to read a student, define and balance the necessary amounts of fun, freedom and work load required for a student, but taking note that each person is different with external emotional and physical loads, that separates him from not just piano teachers, but all teachers.