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Manhattan School of Music Orchestral Composition Award (2019)
American Academy of Arts and Letters, Charles Ives Scholarship Award (2018)
New Juilliard Chamber Ensemble Competition (2017)
Gina Rapp String Quartet Competition, The Juilliard School (2017)
ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2015)
I find my greatest joy in life in music and sharing it with others. I am a composer and performing pianist who has discovered music as my most comfortable language for communicating with the world. I have benefitted from studying with some of the world's foremost composers at Juilliard, Bard and the Manhattan School of Music, and am enthusiastic about imparting all that I have learned from them. I have performed my own works with the American Symphony Orchestra, and in such venues as Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center), Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, Aspen, and all over Europe.
I have been teaching beginning to intermediate piano students since I began my conservatory training. I am currently teaching piano and ear training pedagogy as part of my doctoral studies at the Manhattan School of Music. I admit that I instinctively rebelled against the hypercompetitive structure of the music conservatories, and focused instead on composition. I found that sidestepping this most stressful performance environment allowed me to keep my love of just playing intact. Performing my own compositions has kept me in the joyful world of ensemble and orchestral playing but on my own terms. This is how I want all of my students to approach their music. It must arise from within, and organically so.
My approach to teaching is student-centered and based in learning to practice "smart," not "hard." I never loved practicing myself, so I have learned to get the most out of my time at the keyboard. Younger students and busy adults generally appreciate this approach! Of course, there is struggle, and that's all a part of it, but it needn't be arduous or painful. I focus students immediately on what they would most like to accomplish, and together we map out the steps to get to that place. I create a customized lesson plan for each student based on this, and we check in periodically with our Big Picture goals. As soon as makes sense, I will look to encourage students to write their own short compositions so that they can get a sense of the more interior life of the music.
I am a very, very patient teacher, and have a particular affinity for shy and otherwise withdrawn students. I share some of those attributes, so I know instinctively how to work with them. For some of us, music becomes our native language, and it affords entry into the more difficult worlds of social interacton. For more advanced students, I can offer many years' worth of advice on how to prepare for auditions to music academies, conservatories and summer festivals. I make use of recording and video so that students can have some real-time feedback on their progress as well as the particular impediments standing in the way of being the best musicians that they hope to be.
My son has been taking lessons with Sunbin for the past 4 years. We were not sure he would respond well as he has other competing interests (sports!) and is very shy. But Sunbin has made the whole experience very rewarding for him. He now talks about becoming a musician and wants to audition for an after school program. Sunbin is a very kind, patient teacher who has helped our boy flourish. We are very grateful. We cannot recommend him more highly.
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