Sean and Lyla Lo are fulfilling personal pledge to never miss a single day of piano practice. Courtesy photo
Two young piano students in Los Alamos — brother and sister Sean Lo, 11, and his sister Lyla Lo, 9, — are making great advancement and earning well-deserved awards in their chosen study of classical piano by fulfilling a personal pledge to never miss a single day of practicing.
Both students take part in a national “challenge” to continually practice the piano without ever missing a single day of practice.
At the suggestion of their parents Hanju Tsai and Chienchi Lo, as well as their teacher, Dr. Madeline Williamson, both students enrolled in the national program shortly after beginning their formal piano study. Sean has just completed practicing piano 1,189 consecutive days and his sister Lyla has accomplished 1,059 of uninterrupted days of practice.
To participate in the national program sponsored by the student magazine, Piano Explorer, a student’s practice must be for a minimum of 30 minutes daily, the practice must be supervised by a parent, then recorded by the parent online, with the log book of practicing given to the student’s piano teacher.
Together, the duo has now achieved more than six years and two months of daily practice, without fail, even when going on vacation or international travel. When traveling, their parents take a full-size keyboard and when on an international flight, a “dummy” keyboard travels with them.
Sean is in the fifth grade at Mountain Elementary School while Lyla is in third grade. Both young pianists say that once committed to the program, it becomes a daily habit that you never consider breaking. Both think that this regimen is “a great way to get a lot better”, with Sean adding that due to this daily commitment he has “improved much faster” and has “learned about goals and responsibility.”
Both young pianists perform publicly and compete in piano competitions (in-person pre-COVID-19 and in 2020-21, by virtual competition).
Sean has been a First Prize Winner in the Santa Fe Sonata Contest, in the District Honors Competition, and was awarded Second Prize in the State Honors Competition.
Lyla has achieved awards at both the Santa Fe Sonata Contest as well as at the Dennis Alexander Competition in Albuquerque. Not only was she the First Prize Winner of her level of the District Honors Competition, but also was the State Honors First Prize Winner. Currently, Lyla is preparing for the annual Santa Fe Sonata Contest and both pianists are preparing their individual programs for the state-wide PEP (Piano Evaluation Program) of 12 advancing levels; and at the end of this term, they will each participate in the International Guild Auditions, also a selective and graduated certificate program.
In addition to their studies in piano, both are involved in swimming; Lyla is an avid reader, especially enjoying fantasy; as well as writing her own stories; and Sean’s creativity also is applied to Lego creations and working with interior design programs on the computer.
At the present time, Chopin is the favorite composer for Lyla and Sean enjoys composers of the Romantic and Contemporary eras.
Their teacher Dr. Williamson said she is proud of the Lo family students and attests that they are both outstanding students making a great deal of progress, always well-prepared, and bringing both preparation and a positive attitude to their weekly lesson. She said she hopes that their dedication to practicing continues and that by example, they may inspire other students to do the same, regardless of which instrument they study.
Dr. Williamson also stresses that essential to any accomplishment on an instrument, is the key ingredient is the involvement and continual support from a student’s parents. Like the practice challenge, their parents, Hanju Tsai and Chienchi Lo, never miss either a lesson or a practice session.
Definitely, “Practice does make perfect”.