Kara Chuang: Seeing people listen with closed eyes, relaxed smiles and even humming along is the reason I do it


Credit: Courtesy of Kara Chuang

Pictured above is Kara Chuang. She has played piano for 11 years and is a competitive pianist. “Music plays an extremely important role in my life,” Chuang said.

Natalie Hsu

A girl with a black ponytail in a white dress lowers herself onto the piano stool. Her right foot hovers over the damper pedal as her fingers mark their place on the black and white keys. Her fingers begin to hop from one note to another, creating a soothing melody. The audience stares in amazement, eyes following her fingers as they gracefully move across the keys. Then finally, with a quick tap of a note, the song ends, and the final note fades out.

Sophomore Kara Chuang has been playing piano since she was five years old; however, it was not until a year after she started, when she switched teachers, that she began to realize her true passion for the instrument.

“I am a competitive pianist,” Chuang explained. “My mom used to play the piano, so I guess she wanted her kids to study music too.”

Since then, Chuang competes in three to five piano competitions annually. According to her, in the Bay State Competitions, she placed second in the state for her division. She has also placed first in the Crescendo International Music Competition.

“Like every other hobby, there are always ups and downs,” Chuang said, “Instruments such as the violins and clarinets can be played in bands or orchestras with other musicians, but the piano is one of the most individual instruments. I have played piano in orchestras before, but it’s mostly just a solo thing. Still, I enjoy every little thing about it.”

Outside of competitions, Chuang shares that piano plays a significant role in her private life.

“People who know me know that there have been several twists and turns in my life in the past couple of years. During my downs, the piano acted as music therapy and helped me regain control in both my student and personal life,” Chuang said.

She hopes that by playing piano, she can help others share this same experience.

“With music, I want to help others walk through their toughest times like it did for me,” Chuang said. “I’ve played in recitals, parties, birthdays, hospitals and for the senior citizens at Traditions of Wayland. Seeing people listen with closed eyes, relaxed smiles and even humming along is the reason I do it.”

Chuang doesn’t plan to pursue in a career involving piano but hopes to keep it as a hobby.

“Music may not be what I end up pursuing as a career in the future,” Chuang said. “But it will always be my passion.”