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Young Los Alamos Pianists Set 100-Day Record

on December 1, 2017 - 9:21am
Sean Lo, 7, of Los Alamos. Courtesy photo

Charles Cai, 12, of Los Alamos. Courtesy photo


How many adults can truthfully say they have done some challenging activity—sports, chess, fitness training, learn a new skill set for 100 consecutive days without fail?
Probably most would have to answer “no”. However, two young piano students in Los Alamos have accomplished just that. Sean Lo, 7, and Charles Cai, 12, have both completed a national “challenge” to practice the piano for 100 consecutive days. The practice must be for a minimum of 30 minutes, must be supervised by a parent, and then recorded by the parent online, with the log book of practicing given to the student’s piano teacher.
Lo, a second grader at Mountain Elementary School, began the 100-Day Challenge after he and his parents read about it in his monthly music magazine, Piano Explorer. He had been learning the piano for only one year and he thought it would be “a good way to get a lot better” in his playing. Cai, a Los Alamos Middle Schooler who studies in the same piano studio, learned about Lo’s goal and decided he, too, would take the challenge.
In honor of their accomplishment, both students have now had their names published in Piano Explorer for the first level of their challenge. If desired, the “challenge” continues with 200 days, 300 days, etc. and the top entrant nationally has now compiled more than 2,300 days of consistent practice.
Their teacher, Dr. Madeline Williamson, said she is very proud of Cai and Lo and attests that they are both outstanding students making a great deal of progress, always well-prepared, and bringing both preparation and a positive attitude to their weekly lesson. When asked “why” he was doing this, Lo said “because it’s fun” and “I could see how much better I was getting.”
Williamson says that’s quite unusual for someone at the age of 7 to take such initiative. She also likes that Lo’s example really inspired Cai to do the same. What she hasn’t shared with either of them is the premise by psychologist Malcom Gladwell that it takes “10,000 hours of deliberate practice … before one becomes really good.”
Williamson hopes that Lo and Cai continue their great commitment to developing their natural ability with continued hard work and that by example, they may inspire other students in the studio to do likewise.
Both students are now well into the “Second 100 days” of practicing and have established a well-developed work ethic for practicing. They are both looking forward to demonstrating their accomplishments at various piano competitions and state and national adjudications in the spring term of their piano study. Lo’s parents are Hanju Tsai and Chienchi Lo and Cai’s parents are Yong Tao and Chunming Cai.