Name: Yu-Ting Wu (nickname: Ting)
Location: Washington, DC
Taiwan-born and Maryland-raised, I started violin lessons at the age of 4. My father, a seasoned violinist and instructor, was my guide and mentor in those early years. By the time I was 10 years old, I was already performing with orchestras, and at 12, I decided to take up the piano, further expanding my musical knowledge. As I progressed through high school, I began to mentor some of my father’s students and learned his pedagogy, even helping out as a piano accompanist for his younger students.
In 2008, I was granted a full scholarship to Towson University, where I earned my BM in Music. From there, I went on to attend the California Institute of the Arts on a half-scholarship, where I earned an MFA in violin performance. Throughout my studies, I taught non-major lessons as a work-study to hone my skills and later embarked on a teaching career in schools and music academies throughout Los Angeles. I have also performed as a freelance violinist in various studios, venues, and prisons worldwide.
Performing in prisons sounds very unique. Can you tell us more about that experience?
Between 2019 and 2020, I went on tour with a composer as part of a 3-piece ensemble. We visited various prisons with the mission of bringing music to those who needed it most. The process was intense, but very rewarding. First, we’d submit our identification for clearance. When we arrived at the prison, we’d be briefed on rules/regulations, and go through security. Other than our instruments and sheet music (which were thoroughly checked), we were not allowed to bring anything else. Then, guards would escort us to the performance location. The location was either in the chapel, inside the building of those in solitary confinement who could see us through tiny windows in their cells, outside in the yard with inmates on the other side of a fence in 90°F heat, or in a small classroom within a couple feet of the audience at a women’s max security prison. Some of the inmates would make snarky comments, or look unphased when they sat down. However, when the first few notes of the piece would start, we would almost always hear the crowd exclaim and cheer as if they were attending a rock concert! The crowd’s energy and emotions could be felt, and oftentimes it would even move us, the musicians, to tears, because we wanted to give all our efforts into the music for them.
Here is a sample evaluation/feedback we’ve received from an inmate:
My father for being my first violin teacher, and my teachers that have supported my learning journey, and taught me what it means to be an honest musician.
Favorite place to perform:
Staples Center in Los Angeles – I could feel the crowd’s excitement the moment I stepped out!
What’s great about teaching on Forte?
Teaching on Forte means I can continue providing quality care to my students without having to break the consistency in their learning. I think students are more comfortable, and they take less time to acclimate to a new teacher. The option to record and go back to a lesson asynchronously on their own time is helpful too.
Tell us a bit about your teaching style:
“I’m just not talented” is a phrase that does not apply in my lessons. Anything can be learned and acquired with a little problem-solving, pattern-spotting, practice, and patience. I truly enjoy helping students discover their potential, using music to cultivate life skills and motivating students to build community through a shared love of music.
It’s my mission to give students resources and tools to create a healthy emotional outlet while providing the vocabulary to express themselves. I adapt my teaching to various learners and use technology to assist me.
Tell us what you like most about your experience as a music educator:
Seeing a concept click and start to make sense for students is an extremely fulfilling experience.
A piece of repertoire I love to teach:
As I specialize in teaching younger students, the piece I enjoy teaching is Jasmine Flower – a well-known folk song from my childhood that I can share with my students.
A piece of repertoire I love to play:
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto is a never-ending learning journey and forever a favorite because of the 2002 Chinese drama “Together” directed by Chen Kaige.
On a musical note, I’ve been cooking up an EP. Outside of music I am also a user-experience designer!
In the artist’s own words:
As told to me by my teacher, “Be an honest musician.”