Greenwich’s Felicia Feng Zhang has received the prodigious 2020 Teacher Distinction Award from The Royal Conservatory of Music. Ms. Zhang is the only one to receive this distinguished award in the northeastern region of the US.
Every year many public-school students begin an instrument through their school’s music program (if a music program exists). Not long after, more than 50% of students quit; unable to enjoy all that music education has to offer for the rest of their K-12 schooling, if not beyond, according to Music Parents Guide.
Felicia Feng has students as young as 3 years old learning to play the piano. It is all about how one is taught and the learning process. Felicia’s own, unique quick sight-reading method makes students feel that they are able and capable to play the piano well; this helps to build confidence and motivation from the very first lesson.
Ms. Zhang has been quite successful and accomplished in her own right as a pianist and as a teacher. Born in Qingdao, Shandong, and raised in a professional music educator’s family, her mother, Professor Wenju Sui, and her brother, Professor Jin Zhang, are both well-known piano educators in China. Felica Feng’s daughter Clara played piano at Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden at the age of 6. And her young son Alexander has also played at Carnegie Hall and other venues.
She now lives in Greenwich and is Founder of The All Talent Academy, focusing on teaching her students and providing a holistic education that goes far beyond what traditional music schools offer. Ms. Zhang believes in training the whole mind while developing multi-intelligent skills, building confidence, and fostering good habits.
“Education is not just for learning, knowledge, but for learning, thinking. Coming to learn piano is not just to know the notes and rhythms, but to develop good habits of thinking and behavior through music notation, and to further feel the beauty of music and its effect on the beauty and power of our lives,” says Ms. Zhang. Felicia Feng’s students learn to build important skills used in everyday life; creativity, attention to detail, observation, persistence, good manners, time-management, listening skills, problem solving, and the ability to focus. By identifying and developing children’s natural talents, and in using the piano as a tool for life- skill development, the academy helps individuals learn to remain poised and confident in all of life’s situations, even from the very early stage in a child’s development, as young as 3 years of age.
One of Felicia Feng’s students said, “The relationship started off innocently: a five-year-old fascinated by this giant instrument. But harsh criticism and terror at the hands of my first teacher meant that fascination was replaced by fear. I once dreamed about playing the piano, but now I dreamed of never touching it again. After five excruciating years, my second dream finally came true. At fourteen, my mom convinced me to try again, but I was reluctant. The bad memories still felt fresh. I am glad I finally agreed because my new teacher, Ms. Zhang, changed my life.”
“Thank you so much Ms. Zhang! We are grateful to have you as our daughter Brigitte’s piano teacher. I can see Brigitte is improving and surprising me every day. I didn’t think Brigitte can make it at the age of 3 and I didn’t think she had such capability, both physically and mentally, to
learn piano yet. I was so deeply moved the first day she sat in front of your piano and you taught her to play the first piece. And now, with less than 3 months, she has played more than 50 tunes and finished three CLEF series books. She also enjoys your lessons and loves to see you every week. This is something I could not imagine in September. Not only with the piano skill, but also her attention span is much longer than she used to be. Your unique method and 5 core training approach has continued to develop my daughter’s learning behavior and habits. She is growing her abilities every week. I believe this will also benefit her in all other areas throughout her life. Again, thank you so much!” — Xie’s family
Felicia Feng’s philosophy and methods must be working; in 2016, twenty-six of her students won international piano competitions with first and second prize awards, and were invited to perform in Carnegie Hall. She and her students have been featured on NBC Today Show with Matt Laurer, Fox News of Connecticut, NBC in Connecticut, Connecticut News Channel 12, The New York Times, World Journal, National Music Magazine, and other media. As Ms. Zhang has passed on these many talents and disciplines to her own family, she is now helping students of all ages to discover and a have confidence in their own abilities, helping to shape their futures. She is changing people’s lives as reflected in the many awards she has won including the Teacher Distinction Award from the Royal Conservatory of Music.