By Paul E. Kandarian Globe Correspondent January 18, 2015
Ellyses Kuan’s world is all about music. She started piano lessons as a 3-year-old growing up in Hong Kong, and at 11 she earned her grade eight certification from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Now, at 37, she runs EKS Music School in Quincy, which she opened in September, after offering lessons at her home studio for 10 years.
Q. Why did you open the studio?
A.I was a librarian for 10 years before, teaching music on the side, and realized from my own education there was a big gap. You take lessons but don’t usually get to play with other musicians. Teaching students at my house, I saw them repeating what I did, so that’s why I started the school; it’s a place where students can perform with other students and collaborate with faculty and do live concerts.
Q. That makes you different from many other music schools?
A. Yes, and all our teachers have at least master’s degrees from music conservatories and actively perform. Being in performance is part of how we make our living, and so we like to bring that inspiration to our students.
Q. How often do your students perform?
A. Students are given once-a-month performance opportunities in the studio performing class, in a master-class format, where parents and other students are welcome to attend. We also give two recitals a year, such as in the public library in Braintree, one around the holidays and one at the end of the [school] year in June.
Q. What challenges do you face in opening a new business?
A. Getting the word out. We’ve been doing faculty concerts to get people in, and also performing in local coffee shops and open houses. On the personal level, it’s a challenge balancing teaching and performing with running a business.
Q. What brings you greater satisfaction — performing or teaching?
A. Both, but they’re different. As a soloist, I get to do what I love and have the chance to collaborate with great musicians in Boston. On the teaching level, we’re part of the students’ learning and growing. Music becomes a lifelong passion for them, and there’s nothing to compare to that.
Paul E Kandarian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview source: The Boston Globe