Since graduating from Chapman University with a Bachelor of Music in piano performance, Sha Wang ’02, DMA, has built a career as a concert pianist and educator. As a performer, she has traveled throughout the United States and Asia, both as a concert pianist and as a chamber musician. She is also a tenured professor of music and the chair of the music department at Geneva College, the Director of Pittsburgh International Piano Competition, and a private piano teacher for competitive students in the Pittsburgh region.
We asked her about her time at Chapman and how it helped it prepare her for a career in music.
Who was the most influential person for you at Chapman? Why?
Harmon and Nadine Wilkinson, who generously sponsored me throughout my four years at Chapman and graduate school. Also Dr. Joseph Matthews and Ms. Karen Knecht, who provided me incredible mentorship and professional support.
If you could go back in time and experience one moment again from your time at Chapman, what would it be? Is there anything that you would do differently?
I relish all the post-concert dessert outings where Dr. Matthews would take us to a nearby restaurant, indulging in those cakes and desserts (with an ungodly amount of calories… ). It is that kind of personal connection that faculty have with students that makes Chapman a unique and special place.
I’m not sure what I would do differently… perhaps hanging out with friends more? Too much time in the practice room.
What do you wish you knew at the time of your graduation that you know now? What advice can you give to the students and/or recent graduates of today?
Really treasure those friendships you build in your college years. They are some of the most pure, simple and loving relationships. Life gets more complicated as you enter the workforce.
How did Chapman prepare you for your career? For life? How did your experience prepare you for the real world?
It prepared me well for graduate school work. Having attended a liberal art school, with a mindset of becoming a global citizen, helped me think more critically about the world we live in, analyzing events from multiple perspectives, and ultimately navigating through tough courses.
Were there any major societal issues in our country/world that you recognized or faced as a young college student? What was your perspective or how did you get involved? Have your opinions on these issues changed or stayed the same? (Give an example…)
Southern California is such a diverse and multicultural place, that people (including me) tend to cluster in their own bubbles. While it is comforting to be in a community of familiarity, it does promote cross cultural understanding that ultimately bridges our differences. I wish I was more involved in areas other than my studies as an undergraduate.
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