To Top

Life & Work with Ruby Wang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ruby Wang. 

Hi Ruby, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Being a working musician is not only about working hard but more about being in the right place at the right time. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to do what I love – perform and teach music – and make a living doing so! 

I started out as any average toddler who loved randomly tinkering on the keys and especially while my older sister was having her weekly lessons. Eventually, right around four years of age, my sister’s piano teacher suggested to my mother that I could be ready, and it was time to let me give piano lessons a try. And so, I did. Those formative years were mixed with love, joy, and passion for the art, along with tears and frustration with practicing and defeat. As a child, it is hard to be disciplined on your own and enjoy practicing long hours. For most kids, sustaining focus and a long enough attention span to practice, not just to simply achieve a certain amount of time, but to do so efficiently and effectively is difficult and I was no exception. Throughout the years, and through the training of many prestigious teachers and the grooming of various competitions, big and small, I eventually learned the craftsmanship of this art – the never-ending journey of perfect and meticulous practice and what it takes to master the technique of piano-playing and attain the highest form of artistry. 

I stumbled into teaching inadvertently. When I was sixteen, I was practicing one day in the summer and a neighbour came knocking on our door asking who was playing the piano and wanted to learn. I had never given teaching any thought but thought, “Hey, why not?” From then on, I began my teaching journey of working part-time and traveling to teach private in-home lessons and transitioning to now having my own private studio. 

It is not easy juggling being an educator and concert pianist (and being a full-time mom recently!), but in between teaching, I manage to still squeeze in time for practice and perform in as many solo and collaborative settings as possible as well as solo recitals and faculty concerts at the institutions I teach at. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Ask anyone in the field, and they will tell you it is never a smooth road being a working musician! Everyone’s struggle is different. Unfortunately, as much as I hate it but believe it or not, a lot of it boils down to luck! Often times you just happen to be in the right place at the right time and know the right person(s) – whether it be having the right connections for a teaching/performing gig, to being asked last minute to sub for someone, or being invited on-the-spot for an event simply because you made a great first impression, both personally and musically. Quite frankly, I have been very fortunate to have experienced all of the above. Especially since I have had to uproot and move to new places many times – from Toronto, Canada where I grew up to Utah, then South Carolina, and finally here to California. Each time, I was on my own and had to start over from scratch because I didn’t know anybody and just had to slowly work my way up to gain recognition and success. To have no money and zero reputation takes a lot of faith and love for what you do! This made my last move to California the hardest because California is such a huge metropolis brimming with talent everywhere, and one must not only have passion, dedication, and work ethic but something very special to offer in order to make his/her mark here. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I currently serve as piano and music theory faculty at multiple institutions, including Pasadena Conservatory of Music and California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley teaching piano and music theory, as well as teach privately in my own studio. I am also a board member of the American Liszt Society Southern California chapter as well as a member of other professional associations such as Music Teachers’ Association of California and California Association of Professional Music Teachers, just to name a few. 

I get to work alongside gifted pianists and musicians from all walks of life, which is such an honor and privilege. It inspires me to see and hear my colleagues and constantly meet new musicians. It humbles me and keeps me on my toes so that I can hone my own playing and teaching and continue to learn and grow and be the best version of myself on a daily basis. As a musician and pianist, it is crucial to be well-rounded and versatile and to never stop learning and perfecting one’s art. In the words of Sergei Rachmaninov, “Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.” 

In addition to the fulfilling work of music-making, I get to educate and train the next generation and meet young new talent which is also extremely rewarding as I get to pass on the valuable music, and sometimes life, lessons I’ve learned from all my teachers. I really try to cater my teaching to my student’s individual skills and needs. My students make me most proud when they succeed and do well at local, state, national, or international festivals and competitions. As a teaching artist, I could not think of a better job where I get to do what I love and am most passionate about. 

How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
Most of my work comes from word-of-mouth, so people often contact me directly to inquire, support, and/or work with me. I also have a website with a communication portal for people to reach out to me for any inquiries regarding lessons or collaboration. The greatest way people can support me is through acknowledgment of and attendance to concerts featuring me and/or my students. Recognition of my or my students’ work and accomplishments is always very rewarding as well! 

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Gary Leonard
Mike Bull
Erin Clendenin
Vivian Wang

Suggest a Story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in local stories