Piano Student, 2000-2005
Owner, Athletic Massage Seattle
"Using much more than just skilled piano pedagogy, Selina Chu was talented at translating emotional and symbolic worlds from life to the piano and from the piano into life. My capacity for imagination and emotional expression multiplied during those years, facilitated in direct part by her teaching! Piano technique greatly progressed, too. Satisfying local accomplishment in piano performance came with this growth.
"Selina encourages consistent, successful progress and practice without being overbearing or judgmental. Nor does she give up on people, even amidst all the competing pressures of modern student lives. Above all I feel she shares a *love* of the instrument and the music -- and of the individuals behind the music.
"Selina brings great understanding, creativity, commitment, experience, and a knack with young people. I strongly recommend her as a private piano teacher!"
Currently at Brigham Young University
Piano Student, 2002-2009
"Selina Chu is without a doubt the best teacher I've ever had the privilege to study with. Besides being an incredibly gifted musician, she has an uncanny knack for customizing your learning experience according to your personality, inclinations, and abilities. She taught me great practice skills and habits that came to redefine my learning process, but she was also flexible enough to let me grow at my own pace. I always felt like my opinions and feelings mattered to her, and that encouragement made me want to live up to my potential. I became more confident about my musical abilities and better able to tackle challenges when they arose. I attribute a large portion of my success not only with piano, but in all areas of my life, to Selina’s careful guidance."
Music Publisher and Musician
Piano Student, 1999-2005
I first started taking piano from Selina Chu when I was 11 years old. She has continued to be an amazing teacher, mentor, and friend to me as a young adult who graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Music, and now works in the music publishing industry while simultaneously fronting the Brooklyn, NY-based indie-pop band, Little Anchor.
Selina's warm personality paired with her extensive and varied experience as a pianist and teacher provides an encouraging environment for students to learn the technicalities of playing classical piano, while challenging them to reach their full potential through her studio recitals, "piano parties," and the many adjudication opportunities she makes available to her students. Through my private lessons with her, I came away with wisdom applicable to piano performance as well as my life outside of music that has continued to shape my creative expression to this day."
Alice Bassler Sullivan
Director, Eagle River Ballet
(Alaska Dance Theatre, Founding Artistic Director 1982- 2009)
"As the first principal accompanist in the quickly growing School of Alaska Dance Theatre, Selina took the helm in leading, training and inspiring musicians to provide live ballet accompaniment. She clearly understand how to interpret the particular needs of ballet exercises so that the music supported the movement.
"As a concert musician, Selina welcomed opportunities for true collaboration between choreographer and musician. Her performances supported the choreography without sacrificing artistry. With complete commitment, she delivered nuance, detail, and breathed with the dancers."
currently at Stanford University
piano student, 2000-2009
Above all else, the one thing I am most grateful for is the lifelong appreciation for piano that Selina gave me. I grew up playing piano with my eyes on the clock, waiting for my allotted hour of practice time to finish. But in high school, when many of my friends and peers were quitting piano lessons, I began to realize that piano, for me, had become a stress reliever instead. To this day, there's nothing that I look forward to more than immersing myself in some old pieces and losing track of time. The ability to appreciate the music I make has been an invaluable gift - it keeps me afloat and invigorated especially amid a busy college schedule. Selina was the driving force behind all of that. From the very first day I set foot in her studio as an eight-year-old, she emphasized that having fun with the piano was far more important than the ability to play as perfectly (or as imperfectly) as a robot. Instead, creativity and expression take a strong precedence in her studio. Selina often has us perform a series of exercises that may seem almost silly on the surface, but I've realized in hindsight that I've learned the most from them. A few examples: she's had me envision a movie script of an adventurous young boy chased by sharks (for a Khachaturian Sonatina), march around her studio singing a section off of the sheet music held in front of my face (for a Chopin Polonaise), dream up a love story replete with forests and dragons (for Debussy's Clair de Lune) and learn to play piano while balancing on a yoga ball (for my favorite Rachmaninoff Prelude). Needless to say, refining piano techniques that would otherwise be repetitive were a lot of fun under Selina's guidance - over the years, I built up a set of techniques that allowed me to tackle pieces of increasing difficulty. These piano fundamentals that Selina taught me of technique, listening, and creativity came hand-in-hand with other lessons I was unaware that I was learning at the time. Upon reflection, Selina was much more than a teacher - she was a mentor. She's taught me patience (in the form of almost a year spent learning one piece), kindness (through her own example: always willing to help others even on a short notice), and how to harness imagination (by encouraging her students to think and rethink of stories and scenes to accompany the sheet music). Although the college schedule no longer gives me the time to take regular lessons, Selina's lessons have stayed with me and given me the skills to learn new pieces on my own. Every once in a while, other students in my dorm will hear me practicing the piano and come to listen. Some play a few pieces of their own, and we enjoy sharing the pieces with each other. More often then not, I'll hear stories of how some stopped playing the piano and came to regret it. On my part, I usually give them the answer I think Selina would if she were in my place: sometimes, playing the piano is just as easy as closing the sheet music and listening to your imagination.