zara chan

Instruments: Piano

Area of specialty: Classical RCM Piano, Beginners/Intermediate/Advanced Piano, Theory, Harmony, RCM Exam Preparation

Zara began her formal piano training at the age of 5 after she taught herself to play some pieces her older sister was learning at the time. From there, she progressed to complete her grade 8 piano certificate at 9 and obtained her ARCT diploma in Piano Performance at 15. She participated in music festivals such as Kiwanis Music Festival, Markham Music Festival, and Peel Music Festival, and consistently placed among the top in her class. During high school, Zara attended Earl Haig Secondary School as a piano major in the Claude Watson Program for the Arts and was introduced to classical voice, choral singing, accompanying, and composition. She has composed numerous pieces and has won awards for her works, including the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects’ Patricia Elliott Scholarship and the Barry Gosse Award for Music Composition. Her Piano Trio was selected for performance by the critically acclaimed Gryphon Trio in the fall of 2007, and was praised as “compelling” (The Toronto Star) and “precocious” (The Globe and Mail).

Zara began teaching piano and theory after graduating from high school and continued to advance her pedagogical skills by pursuing her ARCT diploma in Piano Pedagogy and attending professional development workshops. She obtained her ARCT diploma in 2011 and was awarded the Adelmo Melecci Scholarship for her achievements on the practical component of the exam. In addition to her music education training, Zara’s background in psychology contributes to her approach as a teacher. She holds a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Psychology from Ryerson University and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A. Spec. Hons.) in Psychology from Glendon College, York University, and is excited to combine her two passions to provide an enriching and rewarding experience for her students. Zara continues to further her music career through her work as a pianist, accompanist, composer, and vocalist, and often performs with her sister, a fellow musician and teacher, at private events.

questions & answers

Top ten albums (In no particular order):

Emanuel Ax – Chopin: 4 Ballades
Vladimir Ashkenazy – Rachmaninoff: Piano Concertos 1-4
Glenn Gould – Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier
Itzhak Perlman – Bach: Sonatas & Partitas
Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto
Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
Coldplay – Parachutes
Coldplay – A Rush of Blood To The Head
Muse – The Resistance
John Mayer – Continuum

Best live music experience

Favourites include seeing Opera Atelier’s production of The Magic Flute in 2006, hearing the Toronto Symphony Orchestra play Rachmaninoff selections in 2011, and seeing Muse in 2013.

Favourite Restaurant / Food

Chinese, Italian, sushi

Favourite scale

Formula Patterns in any key

List all the instruments you can play

Piano and voice, with a bit of violin, guitar, and recorder

First musical experience

Exploring the piano before I started taking lessons

Most influential artist

Frederic Chopin, Claude Debussy, Sergei Rachmaninoff

I like to teach because…

To me, music has always served as a form of expression, pleasure, and discipline, whether I am playing it or listening to it. Music has been a driving force throughout my life and it has provided me with many years of enjoyment; it is difficult to imagine myself not being immersed in music!

Favourite movie

Inception and Crash

Why is music important to you?

I enjoy teaching very much because I love to work with people of all ages, I get to share my experiences and insight with students through music, and I get to engage students in music in a way that is both enjoyable and motivating to them. I also learn a lot from my students about teaching and being a mentor, which is a bonus!