You can do it!

Low Shao Suan, Musician, Singapore.

Low Shao Suan, Musician, Singapore.

Low Shao Suan is a full-time piano accompanist with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at NUS. She also teaches piano part- time and enjoys composing in her free time. Her music can be heard on:

“Precious Moments” was composed and performed by Shao Suan LOW. This video is a collection of photos depicting precious moments of her life, as well as those of her relatives and friends.

What made you choose your profession? Were there any particular events or people who inspired you to take this path?

I received a toy piano gift from an aunt (one of my mum’s younger sisters) when I was a toddler . That kickstarted my love for the piano. As I grew older, I knew that I wanted to be a musician. Attending concerts by world-famous pianists solidified my passion in music.

Can you share some musicians that have inspired you through your career? How have they inspired you?

There were a few musicians who’ve inspired me in my career as a classical musician. My favorite pianists are the Labeque Sisters from France (http://www.labeque.com/) and the superstar of all classical musicians, Lang Lang from China (http://www.langlang.com/).
Lang Lang At The White House. Image taken from http://www.langlang.com/

Lang Lang At The White House. Image taken from http://www.langlang.com/

When Lang Lang was young, he was looked down upon by one of his piano teachers who told him that he had “no talent” for music. But thankfully, with his strong will power to succeed, as well as his dad’s support, he is now world famous and a superstar in the classical music field.

Most recently, I attended a piano recital by a blind Japanese pianist, Nobuyuki Tsuji (http://www.nobupiano1988.com/english/). In spite of his blindness, he made full use of his fantastic hearing and memory to win one of the top international piano competitions in the world. Watching and hearing him play, you won’t believe how musically talented he is! His accuracy in terms of piano playing is so much more accurate than many able-bodied pianists out there, including yours truly!

As for composing and songwriting, my greatest inspirations come from:

What are the challenges of your job?

The biggest challenge is to keep myself in tip-top condition at all times so as not to lose out to the young and upcoming pianists. The second challenge is to learn various new pieces at short notice and perform them in public. The third challenge is to perform more than twenty concerts within the span of two months.

I would also like to share some challenges I faced when I was younger.

Back then, whenever I told certain relatives that my dreams were to study music overseas and perform with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, they would laugh at me. These relatives didn’t (and still don’t) think highly of musicians at all. Thankfully, I didn’t let them upset me. I just kept focusing on my dreams.

The biggest hurdle came when I needed to get my dad’s approval and support for me to study music overseas. My dad had wanted me to be a teacher in a government school, like him, but I was totally against it as that was not what I wanted to do. Because of this, I had a few big quarrels with him. Snide remarks from the above-mentioned relatives added fuel to the already raging fire. I didn’t back down. Instead, I was even more adamant to fight for my dreams.

I sent out many applications to music schools all over the world. The first school that accepted me was the school I eventually went to in France. Of course I took this chance to try to convince my dad again that music was my passion and that music was really what I wanted to do in life. In the end, he relented. The price I had to pay was to have the above-mentioned relatives and the entire clan look down upon me, and my family, as failures, and being ostracized by them. We have not had any Chinese New Year reunion dinner with them since then.

Thankfully, throughout my musical journey, I met many wonderful people who gave me immense help, guidance, and opportunities. Without these people, I would not be where I am today. On hindsight, I am very glad that I had the courage to fight for my dreams. I am also very thankful to say that the goals which I have set since young, I have achieved them all, and I have even achieved much more in return. I am now living my dream life and enjoying my dream job, and I have never felt happier and more blessed.

My advice is: follow your heart, and ALWAYS believe in yourself and your dreams. Remain positive and have faith, irregardless of what happens around you. You have only one life. Live it the way YOU want, and not what other people want of you. Lastly, live your life with NO regrets.

What are the biggest rewards?

Getting to study in one of the top music schools in France and winning prizes in competitions there; performing as soloist numerous times with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra; recording a CD with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra; being featured in various newspapers countless times; appearing on various radio programs and on TV; appearing in an issue of Vogue magazine; performing for the late ex-President ONG Teng Cheong, his wife and his distinguished guests at the Istana; holding a number of successful concerts at the Victoria Concert Hall and the Esplanade Recital Studio; having many opportunities to perform with amazing musicians from all over the world; having a few pop songs sung by various Asian pop singers; winning awards at online songwriting competitions; having my compositions performed in countries such as the United States, China and Austria; as well as securing a fantastic full-time piano accompaniment job at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at NUS.

What is something that you wished someone would have told you when you were younger?

“You can do it!”

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