TANAKA: Okay. I think this is recording. My name is Keiko Tanaka. I'm doing this
interview with Dr. Cecilia Wang. Today is December 20th, 2022. This interview is
for AAPI project. Okay, Cecilia, first thing I'm going to ask you is, will you
tell a little bit about yourself, including your full name and then
00:00:30if it's possible, can you tell us about your Chinese name as well?
WANG: Okay. Sure. Okay. My Chinese name, because that was the one I was born
with is Chu is the surname. Hoimee, H O I M E E. Yeah. And my English
00:01:00name is Cecilia, C E C I L I A. And it was given to me by my piano teacher. Um,
because they find it easier to say your English name than the Chinese name
(laughs). And so, and then, and I go by that now.
And my married name is the Wang, W A N G.
TANAKA: So, you said that piano teacher gave you... So, was that in Taiwan or
where were you?
WANG: Actually, I was born in Hong Kong. My husband is from Taiwan, but that's
why it's Wang. But uh, I grew up in Hong Kong. And my piano teacher
00:02:00actually came from Quebec, Canada.
TANAKA: Oh, wow.
WANG: Yeah. And she, she was a nun and she was in the convent from Quebec, Canada.
TANAKA: So, how old were you when you started your piano lesson?
WANG: It was a fashion at the time. Uh, my mother was a elementary
00:02:30school teacher then. And in Hong Kong, you know, singing and music is a very
popular daily thing. Uh as a teacher for first grade, at that time, my mother
would be able to just pick up songs and play on the piano. And then, um yeah. It
was a popular thing to do also.
TANAKA: Is it popular for both boys and the girls for taking a piano
00:03:00lessons or just...
WANG: More for girls.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay. So, you were first grade when you start piano lesson?
WANG: More or less, yes.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay. Wow. And then so your teacher was from Quebec, Canada. And
she was nun. And she is the one who gave you Cecilia?
WANG: Yes. (laughs)
TANAKA: Okay. (laughs) What did you think?
WANG: Well, Cecilia is really actually a thing in old music, you
00:03:30know, a Catholic church thing (laughs).
TANAKA: So, when you were growing up in Hong Kong, do you have any sibling?
WANG: Sibling? I have one brother.
TANAKA: One brother.
WANG: His name is Gregory, Gregory Chu. And uh--
TANAKA: So how did he get his Gregory as a English name?
WANG: That I don't know. I think maybe because of Gregory Peck. (both laugh)
TANAKA: (laughs) That's funny. Okay. So, when you started taking a piano
lessons, um what was it like? I mean, was it something you enjoyed doing from
WANG: Oh yeah. Um, it was a privilege, you know for, to take music
00:04:30lessons to start with. Um, and I enjoy the music, of course. And learning it
early was good. It was easy. I think anybody can start music early.
TANAKA: (laughs) Yeah. I took piano lessons. I studied probably, I
00:05:00don't know, uh at six? It didn't last that long though (laughs). My hands was
too small. Yeah. So, tell, tell me about your um, you know, you are a professor
in music education, am I correct?
TANAKA: Yeah. Um so tell us about your journey with the piano, I guess. You
started at first grade and what had happened with the music training?
WANG: Well, um, okay. So I was, um, fortunate, uh, to grow up in Hong
00:05:30Kong. And, uh, as you know, Hong Kong was a British colony then, you know, until
1997 anyway. And, um, so I had this... Actually, I had several piano teachers
and they were, they were all trained overseas. Um, one was from
00:06:00Czechoslovakia. One from, um, one was a Chinese, Hong Kong Chinese, but she
studied in England, um, and Hong Kong was a British colony, as you know. So, uh,
we followed, um, the British system. At least the school I went to,
00:06:30people had a choice to go to either Chinese school or English school. And the
school I went to, uh, was the government school to start with. And in Hong Kong,
government schools and the best schools. And, uh, the Chinese
00:07:00tradition is such that education is a very important thing, you know. And when
the parents could be poor, they still pay money for the children to go to
school, no matter what. But government schools charge the least. But they also
are more selective. So you have to be pretty good to stay, to get in
00:07:30government school. And if you don't make the grade, then you have to pay more
money to go to a private school. It's different, it's just opposite than here
(laughs). Here, you have, uh, free education. Now, uh, Hong Kong, when I was
born, at that time, uh, whatnot. And especially because it was right
00:08:00after World War II, my parents had, um, endured World War II. So, my mother
always said that I was lucky because I was born after the World War II. And, um,
so at that time, uh, China was in a civil war, you know, a very, um,
00:08:30chaotic time. And so, after the war, a lot of people came to Hong Kong. And
actually it was... For us, it was a good thing because a lot of the people who
came, uh, all kind of merchants --------(??), but also musicians, you
00:09:00know, artists and who wanted to have a safe place. Uh, a lot of them, the best,
came to Hong Kong.
TANAKA: So, when you were doing the piano in Hong Kong, were you planning to
become pianist or some kind of musician? Was that the goal initially?
WANG: Not really. Uh, not when I started. And, uh, so if, so in the schools, we
have uh standardized exams, okay, for sixth graders. And if you're good, then
you go to a good school. If you're not so good, you go to other choices. Um, so,
and as a secondary school, I chose to go to, uh, English school. And
00:10:00that was actually, it's called Queen Elizabeth School. And it, one of the
several government, um, secondary schools. And, um, so we, and I continue taking
piano lessons. Although, you know, nobody had really much time to
00:10:30practice at the time. You know, the education was very intense in Hong Kong. You
do homework or you go to school. You know, you don't have much time to play at all.
TANAKA: So, the subject, like a music and then arts there weren't that valued in terms...
WANG: Well, no. Okay. Uh, in the individual lessons were expensive.
00:11:00But all schools have music and art all through the grades. So, um, we had, you
know, one of the thing we did was choir and, uh, our school actually had an
orchestra. That wasn't a band, but when I was in high school and that's when
they started the orchestra. Um, but the music was a very important
00:11:30thing. We, in elementary school, we had music every day. In high school, maybe
once or twice a week. You know, um, but, uh, people love to sing. And even now
when I meet my high school friends, we just sing.
TANAKA: Oh, so were you in a choir as well?
WANG: Eh, yeah.
TANAKA: Okay. So, so, let's, let me ask you about how you end up in Kentucky.
So, from Hong Kong to Kentucky, what happened between that journey?
WANG: Um, so, I went to school and I was one of the lucky one to have private
music lessons. And so, at the matriculation, um, we have to take,
00:12:30like, the University of London entrance exam, the general English exams, GCE
certificate, whatever, GEC. So, so, one of the area was music. You can take an
exam in music. So even though I wasn't called, you know, I wanted to do it, you
know. Uh, so I did that. And, and then that's the time when some of
00:13:00my classmates started thinking of going to school overseas. So, I had a choice
to go too, you know. Well, I didn't know enough, really. I just think, "Oh, I
want to do it." And so, I pursue it, you know. Not necessary that I know what it
is like, so on, so forth. Um, so I did apply to England, to Canada,
00:13:30and to the USA. And um, I found out that I really could not go to England or
Britain because, uh, I didn't have any source. I just wanted to go. So, I
expected to be able to either have a scholarship or support myself, I
00:14:00just say one year at a time, you know. I didn't know what the future was really
like, um, but I just wanted to try it. Um, so we, we had some friends, my
parents had some friends in San Francisco. Um, and they said that, um,
you know, it's good to come over and study. Yes, that's fine. Yeah.
00:14:30So, um, so I applied and I went to the, uh, United States, the American library
in Hong Kong and look at the books, the catalogs, college catalog, you know. At
that time there wasn't any email--
TANAKA: Yeah. That's right. No computer or database.
WANG: Yeah. But, um, so my brother had a friend in Minnesota, uh,
00:15:00that I knew, you know, he was my father's friend. So, he came to our house. I
know. So, I said, "Okay, I want to go near, you know, that area." And I search
and because I already was, uh, close to the Catholic church, I became a Catholic
then. And, uh, I also play the organ at the church, you know. And so,
00:15:30I thought, "Well, if I go to a place with the Catholic convent, I will be safe."
That was my thought, because I know I will be alone, but I want to be safe too.
So that was why I chose to go to with Viterbo College. At that time, it's called
College, but now it's called University, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. And
00:16:00that is close enough to Minnesota. And, and, the, the most importantly is that
their fee was very low. That tuition was low. And I found out later that tuition
was low is because most of the professors were nuns. And they don't
00:16:30get a salary or not a high one at least. So, so, I got the benefit of studying there.
TANAKA: So that's for the undergraduate?
WANG: That's for the undergraduate. And my father gave me--my father was in a
very--Well, he was the elementary school principal. So, uh, he was
00:17:00very open minded. My parents were quite, um, modern in the sense that they met
each other, you know, and they fell in love and they got married. Um, they got
married early because of the war. And, um, and, but my father , um,
00:17:30was very open minded and he thought that, um, that if I want to go to college, I
should, I could, you know. Although my mother was, uh, a little bit more
traditional although she still, you know, modern compared to all the other
people around her. And so, so, my father gave me the first year
00:18:00tuition and one way ticket (laughs) to come over to America to study. And, uh,
so, I did and I work, you know, as a student at college and I work in the
summers when we were allowed to work as a student. And that was
00:18:30enough to get me through, well, undergraduate. And then I got assistantship for
my master's degree and my, um, doctorate degree. So ,when I came over, I love
music. So, I said, "Of course, I want to study music," you know. Um,
00:19:00now, to think back, I really didn't have any help or a counselor. Nobody did at
that time of what field you should get into, how much money you can get by doing
what. We didn't do that. And I just went into music because I loved it and my
parents have been educators, you know. So, it was a natural thing to follow. And
once I got into it, of course, you know, I didn't care about other
00:19:30thing I just go on. (laughs) Um--
TANAKA: Yeah. I went to Catholic school, Catholic college in Grand Rapids,
Michigan. Yeah. And it was because cheap, I mean, compared to the, even out of
state tuitions in the public schools.
WANG: And I was thinking I could only do it in America. If I go to England, I
would not be making enough money, you know, for the school. I don't
00:20:00know for sure, because I didn't go there, but from what they sent me, the
information when I applied to the school and there will be a lot more difficult,
you know. Um, and I started reading some books about American teenagers. And
(both laugh) so it seems like, you know, if you work hard, you can do it.
TANAKA: So, you said that your father pay for one way ticket. So, from the time
you went uh, um, um, Wisconsin, to La Crosse, Wisconsin. When was the first time
you finally visited your parents? How many years later?
WANG: Well, not until four years. Because, and even so--okay. When I
00:21:00went into college, my father was in a very bad situation because he tried to get
into, uh, some business, which ended up very devastating for him. I mean, he had
to keep paying interest out. He had no money, you know. So then after four years
of school, now, my brother came with me because my mother had save
00:21:30money for him to go to college, you know. He was a boy, I'm only a girl, right.
So, he went to study in Boston at the beginning, although he changed. And he
came to Wisconsin later, too. Yeah, um, but thinking back, it was
00:22:00kind of scary because I know, you know, in my bank account, I may have only $20
or less (laughs). But I was very happy, you know, I made new friends, I was
studying, I was just exposed to all kind of studies that are the first time, you
know, and just exposure to, um, philosophy, history and everything.
TANAKA: So, you were music major, right?
WANG: I was a music education major. All the way. Yeah.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay. So, they had a separate... Music education was a separate
major rather than just...
WANG: At that time, the University of Hong Kong did not have any music as the
major, minor, even. Thinking back, I think I'm always a little bit
00:23:00maybe too ahead--so then things were not ready for me. I had to chart my course.
TANAKA: Yeah. That's true. So, so then, for the graduate, where did you go for
the graduate degree?
WANG: Okay. So, um, my undergraduate piano teacher said that I used to go in the
piano, uh, although, um, you know, I don't know why I like the
00:23:30education. So, I was going to go into maybe piano pedagogy, you know. Um, so he
wanted me to follow his former piano teacher. He graduated from Indiana
University. Yeah. And, uh, so that the school, uh, in Lubbock, Texas.
00:24:00Texas Tech University is where his former, uh, I don't know, professor, maybe.
Yeah. So, he, he really think that would be the perfect person for me. And, uh,
so I, I did apply to Stanford University. Uh, I applied to Columbia
00:24:30because they had a good music pedagogy program, but they didn't offer me any
assistance so I couldn't go. I was accepted at the University of Illinois, but,
uh, I think they didn't give me any assistantship either. I don't know. And I
applied for, uh -- If I would have gone into continue to music
00:25:00education, I would apply to Florida State because that was another advice given
to me. But so, I end up in, uh, Texas Tech because of this professor that I'm
supposed to follow. And they did give me half a teaching assistantship. So, I
went there. Uh, so, after four years, I went back to Hong Kong for
00:25:30just the summer. Okay. My father gave me, um, the trip to go there and then,
then I come back. Uh, even though by that time, I wish I just, "Oh, I don't want
to come back. I want to stay in Hong Kong." (laughs) Because all my friends were
there. But, uh, I make a commitment. So, I had to come back. And so
00:26:00the first year at Texas, um, I met my future husband. (laughs) Yeah. He came to
study also because of his professor recommended another professor, you know, or
the program there. And, uh, so, I, um, work in the music library and
00:26:30my husband, Bert (??) -- His Chinese name is Xang Hua (??). He already loved
music. And he came to the library to listen to music, you know, that how we were
exposed to each other (laughs).
Um, so, so, then I guess my, my master degree was supposed to be two years. And
so, uh, the first year I was on half an assistantship, but then the
00:27:00second year they offered me two. I mean the piano department offered me an
assistantship. And the music education also offered me an assistantship. But I
actually, um, fell back into music education because the first year, my
piano professor said, my technique was not good enough. And so, I
00:27:30have to spend the whole year playing scales and arpeggios and techniques and
that, you know. I didn't feel good with that. But my music education professor,
the first, uh, course, I took with him was music psychology. And that really
opened another world for me.
And so, I just turned my major back from piano to music education. And then, uh,
they started a new program while I was in the master's program. Texas Tech
University was the first university to, uh, create a PhD program in fine arts.
And in that program, it is open and still is open to people major in
00:28:30music, art, dance, architecture, you know, all the arts area. And we have a core
to study all the arts, you know. And then, you have your own major, which mine
was music education. So, I stay, and they say, oh, I should really, you know, uh
-- They really encourage me, um, to take that PhD program.
And at the same time, uh, we got married -- my husband and I got married. And he
was in, uh, architecture. So, he still have three more years to go. And so, I
said, "Okay, that, that works okay." So, uh, we stayed, and I continue. And
then, when I --at that end of the year, my program, my professor
00:29:30actually asked me, you know, "What's your future?" You know, and I was very dumb
at the time, (laughs) and I said, "Well, I only have a student visa." You know,
and so, my professor didn't offer me the job, and I find out later. But then,
then he encouraged me, you know, to apply, because I do have 18
00:30:00months of practical training.
TANAKA: Right, right, right.
WANG: Yeah. So, so, I applied, and here, University of Kentucky. I got two offer
for interview, this one and one in Hawaii. But the one in Hawaii said I have to
pay my travel to go there to interview. (laughs)
TANAKA: Oh, geez.
WANG: So, that killed it. And so, I come here to interview, and, um, the person
who came before me, I think they didn't like him.
TANAKA: Oh, okay.
WANG: So, they like me, and they offer me the job. And I, I told them, I said,
"If you offer me the job, you have to apply for my residency." You know.
TANAKA: Right. Mm-hmm.
WANG: And they did. So, I was very, very grateful that UK did that for me.
TANAKA: Now by then, was your husband done with his PhD?
WANG: Yeah, he graduated. Uh, he got his architecture degree. It was actually a
five-year program at that time.
WANG: Yeah. So, we came here, and it was really something. Uh, I was ready -- I
was doing, uh, my defense, my doctoral defense, and my husband was waiting with
the U-Haul (laughs) outside. [Tanaka laughs] So, as soon as I finished that,
we hop in the car, and towed the U-Haul, and arrived just August 24,
00:32:00I think. (laughs)
TANAKA: Wow. And then you said you it was 1970...
WANG: Yeah, long time ago.
TANAKA: Okay, okay. Wow. So, what was it like during your first year?
00:32:30I mean so, well, you started in Wisconsin, which is very cold, and then you end
up going to Texas.
TANAKA: And where is the Texas Tech located?
WANG: West Texas in Lubbock, Texas. It's on the panhandle.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay. So then, you kind of settled in the middle between kind of
WANG: Yeah. So, I was thinking, well, um, before I came, you know, I had a
friend who had a relative here who actually studied at EKU. At that
00:33:00time, it's called the tech -- uh, Teachers College.
TANAKA: EKU is called Teachers College?
WANG: And, and he said, "Oh, this is the most beautiful place." Well, my advisor
in Texas Tech really took good care of me, you know. Uh, he, he just advised me,
"Just go ahead and say what you...yeah, just be yourself." You know,
00:33:30and he said, "This is the heart of the bluegrass." You know--
WANG: And when I came to interview, it was April sometime, early April. And
coming from a desert (??) in the world, all brown (??) and come here, I said,
"Ooh, this place is so lush."
WANG: All the grass was green.
TANAKA: Yes, yes.
WANG: And, and not only that, Keenland was in session.
TANAKA: That's right.
WANG: And I saw by incident, by accident, three Rolls Royce.
TANAKA: Wow. Okay.
WANG: You know, near the airport.
WANG: And I said, "Oh, this must be a special place."
TANAKA: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
WANG: And, you know, it's not like that after I got here, but it's still a
special place for me. Um, but yeah. So, at first I thought, "Well, it's not cold
enough. We can do winter sport. It's not warm enough. We can do
00:34:30summer sport all through the year." (laughs) But I really quickly realized this
is the best place in terms of having four seasons. I still love that.
TANAKA: Yes, yes.
TANAKA: So, the, um, you got the job at UK. So, was, did your husband get any
spousal hire or any... What was the arrangement for your husband?
WANG: No, he was -- after we got here, then he got a job, you know. Music
education jobs are harder to find than architecture jobs.
TANAKA: Yeah, that's true, probably.
WANG: So yeah, he did get a job, uh, with Helm Roberts. Uh, both of us were not
paid high, but we were very happy.
TANAKA: Yeah. Yeah. Having two jobs.
WANG: Because I know I will be good for a few years, stable, and, uh, things are
new, and the people were nice. And so, uh, that was a happy time. It, it, you
know, is new life.
TANAKA: Yeah. Yeah.
WANG: For us.
TANAKA: So, tell me about at the time at UK music department, how many
faculty were there? Do you remember?
WANG: Yeah, I thought at the time there was a smaller one than now, of course.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay.
WANG: But they did have, uh, uh, PhD. Well, they have a PhD degree in musicology.
WANG: Uh, they have a DMA degree for the performance, and somehow music
education fell into the DMA area.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay.
WANG: At the time. It was changed later.
TANAKA: I see, yeah. (??)
WANG: So, um, music education, um, was not with-- Well, the doctorate professors
were more in the performance area and the musicology area and music
00:37:00theory area. There was only one doctorate professor at the time, and he was to
be retiring the next year.
WANG: Okay? But he actually was the choir director, um, composer. Um, and so,
when I was hired, actually, they were not hiring me for doing
00:37:30research, but to teach music education classes. They had a very good general
music program already. And, um, also at that time, the --and I think it still
is, other students getting a certificate or to be certified as
00:38:00teacher in the College of Education, they were required to take a music class, too.
WANG: So, we had, you know, many sections, well many sections, of course for the
TANAKA: Okay. Okay. Yeah.
WANG: So, that was my main job, plus teaching general music, uh, in
00:38:30the College of Fine Arts, and teaching a research class. Okay? And the research
part of the job for music education was really at the very beginning of the
curriculum for music education. And,
so, when I was hired, there were only two professional journals. Well, one was
like a trade journal, you know, for music teachers teaching in schools.
WANG: The other, that was, um, research and music education, Journal of Research
and Music Education, which was--uh, still is, uh, a scholarly journal. And then,
the other one was the Council of Research in Music Education, which,
00:39:30uh, had published research articles and dissertations, but they were not totally
TANAKA: Okay. Okay.
WANG: Yeah. So, but now, there are a whole bunch of them now (laughs).
TANAKA: Okay. Okay.
WANG: I mean, uh, music education field has really gone a long way to, to
be accepted, I guess, and to be compared to other disciplines of, um,
00:40:00higher learning research.
TANAKA: So, over the years, this is kind of like a jump to the more recent time,
so over the years, did your DOE, distribution of effort, did it change to
include more research, or was it always very much teaching heavy?
WANG: Um, well, in the school of music, which I think is different
00:40:30than in other departments--
TANAKA: Oh, okay.
WANG: They have two, uh, titles, so called (??) --
WANG: A regular title and a special title.
TANAKA: Right. Right.
WANG: So, regular title was for people who do research and teach.
WANG: Uh, teaching first, supposedly. Yeah. Uh, and so, the musicologist
and, you know--
WANG: Go to that title. But the special title was for non-research, you know. So
that they might have a lot. Yeah.
TANAKA: So were you--
WANG: Teaching -----------(??)
TANAKA: Were you special title?
WANG: No. Well, you know, I don't remember. I think, I think I was hired as a
special title, but then pretty soon, uh, I think two years after I
00:41:30was hired, they had a new chair. And he come, they came from a school that, uh,
was research based. So, when I was up for tenure, I was changed to regular title.
WANG: I think that was what it was. Yes.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay.
WANG: Yeah. And I didn't know enough. I have to say this, I had no
00:42:00mentor whatsoever when I came.
WANG: Even the first semester, you know, when you're supposed to do merit
review, right? And I didn't even know about that.
WANG: And, and my department head--not my--yeah, the division head, music
education. He just filled in, filled in the form for me and sent it.
00:42:30I didn't even know, you know.
WANG: And, um, so, so, yeah. The other thing was when I was hired, another
person was hired, another woman, was hired at the same time. And she was given
an assistant professor title because she just finished her, you know,
00:43:00doctorate degree. My degree was not completed until... Well, I finished all the requirements.
TANAKA: -----------(??)----------yes. And including defense.
WANG: But I missed the deadline day, right?
TANAKA: For the graduation. (laughs)
WANG: Right. So, I was graduated in December.
TANAKA: December. Right, right, right.
WANG: And I was hired as an instructor.
TANAKA: Okay. Yes.
WANG: And, uh, so, that was the first setback. (laughs)
WANG: But then, I didn't know enough, and I think, uh, no--nobody else had done
that, but I didn't know enough. I went to the--It was end April. I went to the
department head and said, "Yeah, how come so-and-so is assistant professor and
I'm not?" You know? (laughs)
TANAKA: Right, right, right.
WANG: And just, you know, he couldn't believe, you know. Of course, he, he
thought--And I didn't know enough to know the protocol.
WANG: And nobody was mentoring me, right? So, I just look around and ask
questions. That's what I did.
WANG: But to his credit, he make a special request, and he change it.
TANAKA: Okay, great.
WANG: And I think that it won't happen again, like this, well...
TANAKA: So, you said that when you were in the graduate school, you also didn't
get mentored about how to manage this job. So, of course you were mentored about
probably the discipline, but this kind of, you know, how to build your career
type of mentoring, did you have that? It's like how to apply for
00:45:00jobs, how to prepare for that? None of that.
WANG: No, uh, I have to say that my, um, advisor, the dissertation advisor, took
care of me very well, uh, academically. Okay? And he was near retirement, you
know, and he was in his 60's. Um, so, uh, his training was from the
00:45:30Eastman School of Music. And the Eastman School of Music was pretty far ahead in
terms of music education. Okay? So, he, he got the most current training in
music education. So, he was sure to give me, you know, the most current,
um, knowledge. And in the sense that, well, he was actually
00:46:00encouraging me to study about the brain's response to music. And he himself had
done a lot of reading and presentation on that area. So, that was really the
cutting edge of research. Um, you know, we study brainwave and all
00:46:30these -----------(??) and I had nobody else except the library to help me. And
uh, but I was really intrigued, and I just spend my time in the library, in the
computing center. Um, and, you know, there was only one textbook in music
education about research at the time.
WANG: And that was Phelps. And it was about, I don't know, less than 200 pages.
Very general, you know, but it did cover the basics about research. So, um, so I
had to learn all that. At that time, research was more like library research
instead of the social science--
TANAKA: The science type of yeah, yeah, yeah.
WANG: Social studies, you know? But my professor did send me to study
probability class, you know, which at that time wasn't very good, either. And
then they gave to all the mathematical formulas, and just spend the whole class--
TANAKA: Calculating it.
WANG: Going through the computation, rather than explaining what that means.
TANAKA: --It means. Right. Right. Yeah.
WANG: So, but, uh, another thing I have to give credit to UK is that
00:48:00they allow the staff and professors to take classes.
WANG: So, so, I, when I got here, the first few years, I just kept taking
classes over in the College of Education, and, and, uh, I think I took computer
science and statistics and education research, definitely, with Skip
00:48:30Kifer, you know, and Guskey, Thomas R. Guskey.
WANG: And, uh, and so, at that time, one of my uh-- So, doing research with
brainwave is really in the area of medical school and psychology. So, I had,
uh, advisor on the committee from psychology and from the medical
00:49:00school, and they helped me, you know, with that. Um, so, uh, I love doing
research, and I love doing-- I didn't know too much about statistic, but I knew
I wanted to learn more at that time in the social science research, rather than
radiographic research area.
TANAKA: So, did you continue on that dissertation research? I mean, did you
expand it once you got here and become assistant--
WANG: Yeah, I did. And actually, I was saying that at the beginning, my first
merit review was they just, they didn't know I do research, even though I
already submitted two articles. And so, and it was hard to do research because
well, first we had to do-- At that time, we don't have IRB. It came a
00:50:00few years later.
TANAKA: (laughs) Yeah.
WANG: And, um, so, I continued, because I started doing research, and I have
WANG: Instead of, "That's done. You know, I got my degree."
WANG: Um, so, I told myself I need to do at least, you know, a research
project going on all the time. But of course, uh, I didn't know
00:50:30people here, I didn't know, you know, the protocol. I didn't have funding. And
the music education, there's zero funding. Actually, we had zero funding until
the end. Um, so, um, when I came up for tenure, you know, and then we had the
new head of the department, like--
WANG: So, this is something crazy, too. He asked the journal, he asked that each
person of the editorial board of the Journal of Research in Music Education to
write a letter for me.
WANG: And luckily, you know, I was already publishing, and I know some of those
people, and they know me. But it was a surprise to the other faculty
00:51:30in the School of Music that I did research. And, uh, except the people who did
research, like Don Ivey and Rey Longyear, they had published a lot of articles,
and thinking back, I was thinking, you know, how come those people had not
really mentored me? But mentorship wasn't in work at that time,
00:52:00really. There wasn't any mentor for anybody.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay.
WANG: Yeah. So, uh, again, I just follow my gut and just do what I like. (laughs)
TANAKA: Sure, sure. So, I want to switch a little bit of gear, and then ask you
about... So, I'm assuming in the 1975, were there-- right this
00:52:30moment, the Asians and the Asian Americans are the one of, is actually, the
largest group among so-called minority categories.
TANAKA: Now. How, how, many were there in... Do you remember?
WANG: Very few. Uh, Lois Chan, as I mentioned, was a valued member of
WANG: So, she was pretty much established here, and she did reach out to me, you
know, as a cross-campus colleague, and her husband, S.K. Chan, was in the
pharmacy department, also from Hong Kong. There were not that many other Asian
professors that I know of. I think there was some in the mathematics
00:53:30or engineering department, but I didn't know them, you know, and if they didn't
reach out to me, I didn't know them, at that time. Later on, student-wise, we
had a small group of people, students from Hong Kong. And I would say maybe only
about 12 of them. Uh, so, I became the advisor to them. Uh, there was
00:54:00a group from Taiwan. And, uh, there was, yeah, now I remember there were, uh,
professor in the engineer-- engineering, Wong. Wong -----------(??).
00:54:30And, uh, that's all I remember, uh, on the faculty at UK. Now, I'm sure I have
missed somebody. You know, there might be some in the medical school area. Um,
no. So, actually even women professor were not that many. At one
00:55:00time, I remember when I came in the School of Music, there were two women--
three women professors. One was a part-time, so--
WANG: Um, and then those two continued, Phyllis Jenness and Stella
-----------(??). They were the only women colleague for a long time.
00:55:30Well, okay, and the new person that was hired that with me, Patricia. Um, and
then throughout the years, you know, we-- four or five women professor in the
School of Music.
TANAKA: Do you know how many in the School of Music just about-- when you were hired--
TANAKA: Mm-hmm. How many?
WANG: About, I think it was like around 30.
TANAKA: Oh, 30?
WANG: Professors. Yeah. But they had especial-- established programs in the
doctorate program and music Ed. And of course the band was always with-- the
band and the orchestra, you know, and the choir were longstanding. The School of
Music already one of the earliest department in the UK.
TANAKA: So then, well, okay. How about those among the women, uh,
00:56:30female faculty in School of Music? Did you have some kind of a, uh, uh, stronger
sense of collegiality or do you get together or anything like that?
WANG: Not just as women, you know, because we meet for business meetings, you
know, teacher education programs, and we support each other. I
00:57:00remember going to all the piano proficiency exams, you know. And, uh, yeah, we
were not compartmentalized that much, but we really didn't have time to
socialize. The-- There was a women's club that UK had that was pretty well
established, but their programs were always during class time.
TANAKA: Oh, Yeah.
WANG: I think they will work for faculty's wife rather than for faculty. There
was no women study. There were no --There were not that many international
student either. There was some, I mean there was the international program,
TANAKA: So, uh, how did you build your social life, um, after you came to UK?
So, since you're busy, and then in a business, when you're at work, it's all
about business, but did you find any like, uh, involvement with the community or
anything like that?
WANG: Yes. Um, at that time, uh, there were--there was one still going
on. That was the potluck Club.
WANG: Um, Dr. Lamb. I don't know if you know, you may have, have seen him
before. He just passed away two years ago. Dr. Robert Lamb and his wife, uh,
Rita Lamb, um, they took me in because they were, uh, they were not
00:59:00from Hong Kong, but they were from Guangdong.
WANG: You know, they were from the south, they speak Cantonese anyway. There
were not many people speaking Cantonese, just them and me and the Chins (??).
Uh, the rest, there were several, like, others, um, there were engineer, Wong
-----------(??) and his wife and, um, some other doctors, Dr. Gua
00:59:30(??), um, and Julie and, uh, those are the people I remember. So, staff and
family will get together once a month for potluck. And so, we cook for each
other. We brought the dish once a month. But even then afterwards I would, would
become too busy to do that. So, I, I drop out.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay.
WANG: Um, but they still go on, although they don't cook now they just eat.
TANAKA: Go out to-- Yeah. I wonder that's the one that, um... Oops, what was his
name, who does, um, musicology? He was a visiting professor. And
01:00:30actually you were the one who brought him.
WANG: Dr. Han.
TANAKA: Dr. Han. I see Dr. Han eating with a whole bunch of couples at the
-----------(??) quite often.
WANG: Yeah. Yeah. So, Dr. Han is a special person. Uh, me being immigrant, you
know, I have a strong interest in people from other places, you know.
01:01:00Um, and I --when I grew up in Hong Kong, my school and both schools, they valued
Western music. And not so much Chinese music, which is, you know, a a big
mistake at the time, although--But I was exposed to Chinese music
01:01:30because of my grandmother. My grandmother loved Cantonese opera. So, I would go
to opera with her, you know, uh, any time that they have new years or moon
festival or whatever and also, uh, in the theater. Um, now, Hong Kong
01:02:00was one of they--Actually Hong Kong, produce more films in the early years than
Hollywood at that time, you know. Now I don't know, but we had all kind of, uh,
modern theater. We had, um, movies from, you know, in the traditional
01:02:30Chinese, uh, Opera and there were a lot of popular Chinese songs, you know. So
actually I was immersed in the Chinese music. My--I had a good grandmother that
like, you know, she died 101. So, I was 14 when she died. So, so, I listened to
the radio with her, although she didn't listen to music that much,
01:03:00but she did. My mother listen to the current popular music, you know like
TANAKA: Songs, yes.
WANG: Yeah. And, uh, movie music. And, uh, in both Cantonese and in the Mandarin.
WANG: Because a lot of them come from , uh, the Mainland China,
01:03:30Shanghai, you know, and Taiwan.
TANAKA: And Taiwan. Yeah.
WANG: So, and in school we did--We sang a lot of Chinese folk songs of course,
but also international, you know, folk songs. Yeah. So, I wanted to--And, and at
that time, um, in the world, I think we started to pay attention to
01:04:00songs of other countries, you know, multicultural music. And so, I was looking
for a place to learn things that I missed so much. And that's why-- how I found
Dr. Han because he was a professor at Northern Illinois University.
TANAKA: Right. Right.
WANG: And he started, uh, World Music Program already. And he was giving
workshops for teachers. Um, so, that year he had the grant from the NEA. And I
went to study with him at Northern Illinois University for a whole
01:05:00month. And I don't remember how many courses I took, but I know we had at least,
you know, the whole day, you know, lectures, playing and multicultural music. We
had --I already took still drums and gamelan. We play gamelan every day and, uh,
lecture and in world music, you know, different part. And, so, so I
01:05:30--that again opened up another world for me. And I was thinking, "Oh, I want to
get a degree" in mus--you know. But a situation here is very different. It's
difficult to learn, you know, a way, you, you don't learn music online in terms
of world music that much. But you can listen . But, um, so, um, so I
01:06:00met Dr. Han then, and he was --he is-- well took really good care of me when I
was there. Plus he took care of some other people, you know, for the program.
And he just took care of students. I mean, he had a lunch table at the student
center and anybody can join him and he will pay for it at NIU. And,
01:06:30uh, so I really like him, you know, right away. And Maria, and uh, so, I met him
from time to time at music conferences. Uh, he not only goes to world music,
ethnic music conferences, he train teachers too. So, so, then, you
01:07:00know, I met him at music education conferences. Um, and so we just kept
connecting that way until the Asia center started here. Right. So, I was the
first one to raise my hand. I said, "I know who can invite," you
01:07:30know, (laughs) as the fellow, And, uh, Christin. What's, what's the other
TANAKA: Stapleton. Stapleton.
WANG: Yes. Stapleton. And she was very receptive and, uh, other people too on
the committee were very--And, uh, so, I invited Dr. Han to come and
01:08:00to give, uh, some workshop. So, then he can look over us, you know, and of
course we always make use of him because he is so willing to share everything-
his music, his mind, his programs, his CDs, you know, everything. And, uh, we--
for two summers, I think he came two summers . And, uh, so, so then he
01:08:30brought his wife here and settle down here.
TANAKA: I know. (laughs)
WANG: And it, uh, you know--
TANAKA: He must love Lexington (??).
WANG: It's just--I think people may not realize that we benefit a lot from him,
even though his program with the Asia center was only three years, but we
continue, you know. He continue here more than 10 years now. And he continue
to contribute to the community and students in colleges along here.
TANAKA: Okay. I want to-- In relation to the Dr. Han, I want to go back to your
mentoring issue. When I first met you, I don't know, through the Asia center,
actually, that you are known to be great mentor for, you know, students and, um,
um, other faculty members . Um, so did-- I mean, how that shaped you
01:09:30as the kind of professor you became when you started. When you started as a
young assistant professor, you didn't have that much mentor at all. And then
how-- you just told me that you like to really connect with the-- because of
yourself as an immigrant, you like to really connect with the other people,
particularly coming from other countries. How this-- how did you, um,
01:10:00thought about mentoring issue for you as an actual mentor now instead of being mentored?
WANG: Well, I don't know. It just grew up with the need, I think. I, I did ask
my, um, the person, Sarah -----------(??) was the chair of the search committee
when I was hired. And I was, you know, at that time immigration is
01:10:30very--uh, what do you call it? It's not an easy process.
TANAKA: Yeah. It's not easy process at all.
WANG: And, um, so when I --when I applied, you know, I thought I have my PhD, my
research is, you know, cut edge (??). I thought that would be--uh, at
01:11:00least from my mind, you know, I didn't know enough and I'm saying it again. Um,
but I asked her, I said, you know, "I know you're supposed to have a fair
process, right, in hiring." And, uh, so she said, "Yes, we had 80 some
applicants." You know, so, and because they wanted a person who fit
01:11:30the program and who could build the research area, that from her end of it. Um,
but the person behind me, what she said, "My advisor wrote me such a marvelous
letter," you know. That they really think that convinced them to
01:12:00invite me. And so, from that on, I said "Yeah, you know, your advisor know too
best." And, um, so from then on, I would say, "Yeah, I wanted to help my
students." Uh, I mean, I won't lie on anything, but, uh, it's an important thing
that you have to help your students and whoever you could, um, that--
01:12:30because I got my job because of his letter.
TANAKA: Right, right. With this Dr. Hans workshops, and then also this, you
know, your passion for Chinese music from coming from your grandmother and then
their mother, did you try to incorporate some of those world music
01:13:00material into your classes in, uh--?
WANG: I did, but that was after Dr. Han's club.
WANG: Because as a Chinese, my--you know, I grew up with Confucianism. Right?
Not only that we, um, respect our elders or anybody older than I am,
01:13:30I have to respect. But also that, um, I expected people higher up in the
authority to take care of me too. I mean, they have to be nice and kind and
promote me, you know, it's from the top down also. Um, but I found out that
no, the cultures are very different here. You know, I found out a bit
01:14:00too late, maybe that if you don't toot your own horn, you don't go anywhere
fast. (laughs) You have to do that. And that wasn't in my character. You know, I
just say, I believe that my bosses will take care of me. And I found
01:14:30out later that, no, if you can say four letter words, you're further ahead than
if you let them take care of you, but it's true, you know. And it took me long,
long, long, long time. And I still don't toot my own horn, uh, in the sense that
back--you know, I know what I know, but I always think people know
01:15:00bit more, uh, and I can always learn from people that's why I always-- Okay. I
don't want to overdo it. And I don't want to force my background onto people.
Um, and there wasn't any really interest for people to, you know, that I can see
that they want to know more about your culture, except, uh, they ask, you know,
general questions . And, uh, I was thinking about sometime, I think,
01:15:30"Okay. People, a lot of-- like the Jewish people will say things out." Okay, you
know? "Why can't you have a holiday for Hannukah? Why can't you have, uh, a
holiday for a holy day?" We never say, "Why don't you have one for a Buddhist
birthday (laughs) or Chinese New Year, for that matter?" Even now, I
01:16:00mean, the university calendar doesn't care about those things.
TANAKA: That's true.
WANG: You know? And I was thinking, yeah, I didn't know of course, to ask for
it. You know, I just say, "Oh, this is a university calendar and follow it." No.
And for that fact, I never had gone back to Hong Kong or Taiwan, or
01:16:30even to a big city for Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year was gone for me when I
started the job, because it's always during the beginning of the spring
semester. So, you know, now that I'm glad there are more Asian people
01:17:00in the community. Uh, I think they can do a lot more now. Uh, for one thing that
the number has changed. Uh, you know, I think Lexington now it's right to have a
blossoming of Asian culture.
TANAKA: So, I know you are part of, um, doing the Asian-- Asian
01:17:30center did the Asian art festival. I don't know if you remember that. And then
you and Donna both were involved in organizing some Asian music. And then, then
now every year, School of Music has, um, world music concert?
WANG: That's by the ethnomusicology department.
TANAKA: So that's only from--Okay. That was organized, but ethnomusic--
WANG: There's no more Asia center, right? As far as I know. So yeah, that's too,
too bad. Um, actually in Hong Kong-- that's one thing in Hong Kong that I was
hoping we can do more here is a music festival. You know, in Hong Kong, although
I already left at the time they had a Southeastern music festival
01:18:30every year. I don't know for how many years. They still do it but in a maybe a
different scale. But that festival, uh, invite people from all Southeast Asia,
including New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, you know, Japan, Taiwan,
uh, Korea, um, all over. And it's such a rich thing.
TANAKA: Yeah, yeah. Actually, that's-- I thought that whole art festival, that
Asia center did was... I wish that continued on at least every other year or so,
because it's just for so many people. But are you at all involved in any of
those Chinese associations in the community because there was the
01:19:30Chinese Association of Kentucky? Is that the name? They organize new year, um,
WANG: Yeah. I go to dance program, but yeah, I don't like to do administration
work anyway (laughs). But, but they-- the student group wise, they do
01:20:00have a-- or they used to, I don't know what happened now, because I'm retired,
but there was-- Well, there is a community Taiwan Association because my husband
is from Taiwan. You know, we're with that. I know there are Chinese schools.
And, uh, there are three or four now even . There's the Chinese
01:20:30church. Uh, um, so, I asked one time-- I don't remember who I asked, what's the
population of Chinese is? You know, and I was given the number about 5,000
TANAKA: In Lexington?
WANG: Yes .
WANG: And I'm sure with Japanese and Korean and so on, there is a large, um, population.
TANAKA: Yeah. It is certainly has grown. So how have-- So when you move to
Lexington, probably there weren't that many, am I correct? That even in
Lexington, there weren't that many-- outside of the UK --Were there
01:21:30any-- have you run into somebody who look like Chinese or Japanese or?
WANG: No, um, and actually, you know, Chinese like to eat tofu and you want
Japanese food too. And, uh, we couldn't even find tofu in any shop.
TANAKA: Oh yeah, yeah.
WANG: Except-- and there wasn't any Chinese grocery, you know. But,
01:22:00but after a few years, I think Kroger started selling tofu and Chinese--
TANAKA: Okay. Okay.
WANG: Cabbage, (laughs) you know.
TANAKA: So, do you remember which one was the first Asian grocery store?
WANG: Okay. That's another story.
WANG: There wasn't any until, I don't know now, maybe 20 years ago or
01:22:30so. Somebody from Louisville bring some food here for the weekend, uh, just on
Saturday. They, you know, they just drive a van to come here and, uh, at the
coliseum-- no, not the coliseum, but the Rupp Arena-- no, no. The football field.
TANAKA: Oh, football field.
WANG: The outside area. Um, maybe, um, ----------(??) town or something.
TANAKA: Yeah, yeah.
WANG: That area. Woodland, or-- Anyway, so people go there, you can buy some Chinese--
WANG: Vegetables and so on. We have to go out, you know, to big cities to buy
any Chinese good. Um, and then pretty soon, um, and they started to
01:23:30have pretty good business. So, so they, um, they had planned to open the store
in Lexington, you know. And I still remember, my mother came to Lexington then
to live here, um, and she live on Waller Avenue. So, I-- So one of
01:24:00them asked, "What will be a good location?" You know, and I said, "Imperial
Center, Waller Avenue."
TANAKA: Oh my god. That's where your market is!
WANG: Well, it was not right at that location, but, but where Great Wall was,
right next to it, or something like that.
TANAKA: Oh okay.
WANG: That restaurant? Small, just a small shop. And then of course
01:24:30they keep expanding, expanding, and then took over now. There was another one
too, actually at the Woodhill cent-- Woodhill Plaza? Yeah, at New Circle
and--Was that Wood? Yeah.
TANAKA: Was it the Woodhill?
WANG: Richmond Road.
TANAKA: Yeah. Richmond Road.
WANG: That was a little shop. I think it's now called Lapmark. And
01:25:00that's for the people from, um, Lapmark.
WANG: Yeah. But there it was-- yeah. And there might be another one, uh, but I
don't think so.
TANAKA: So when did you started to notice, "Well, there are more and
01:25:30more Chinese or more and more Asian people living in Lexington now compared to
the past." When did you kind of started, "Oh my God. There are more... More
Asian live here."
WANG: Yeah. Well, I think UK started with, uh, postdoc fellows. And I understand
that at the beginning, they-- there are a lot of them because they
01:26:00were not paid as other research fellows. And of course they work hard, you know.
But then people realized. Uh, then they make a policy that say all research
fellows have to pay equally. So, that was, I guess, in the late '80s.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. I didn't... There were people--
WANG: The time for me is a little bit blurry because I don't--
TANAKA: Yeah, it's hard to pinpoint when that things happen. Okay. Wow. Well,
WANG: Yeah. And then they started, you know, more regular professors and more
doctors. And, uh, I mean, you can tell by the New Year celebration.
01:27:00Its years expand more.
TANAKA: So, where, where do you go for the New Year's celebration, if you are
coming from, you know, Chinese background? Are there places that people go to?
Or how, how--
WANG: In town, you mean?
TANAKA: In Lexington. Are there any, any place that people go to or
01:27:30do, or, in Lexington?
WANG: Well, they go to the restaurants.
TANAKA: They do. Okay. So, that's where you, you will notice.
WANG: Yeah. Right. But, uh, people like, uh-- well, down, the Chinese school
have their own celebrations, you know. And, uh, -----------(??) has a--and
art school. They have one in the Lexington center where the children
01:28:00go to learn singing and dancing with the instrument.
TANAKA: Oh, yeah.
WANG: Yeah. So, they have a good show for children, well, with children. And
then of course the Chinese associations, you know, they put in, uh, shows that
they invite professional artists. And, uh, I think the Confucius
01:28:30Institute brought in some, you know, artists and, uh, scholars. So, I mean, it's
a lot different than 20 years ago.
TANAKA: Yeah. That's definitely. So now looking back, if I ask you, what is your
then identity? I mean, what do you consider yourself as? How do you
WANG: When people ask me my identity? Well, I just say I am, uh, from Hong Kong.
But, uh, I live in Kentucky most of my life. You know, I consider Kentucky my
home. But my philosophy and my, my character has been well formed,
01:29:30you know, before I came to the States. And I, you know, I of course, try to do
the best of what I learned, what I'm in, and, um, to adapt. Because, I, I,
looking back, I had a lot of adaptation in life . (laughs) And I think
01:30:00if as long as people adapt, uh, they can find a way to, um, deal with the world
and help others.
TANAKA: So, I mean, you and I have a little bit of a similar situation in that.
I came to the United States as a college student as well, instead of a graduate.
Many, many people come as a graduate student, but I came a little bit
01:30:30earlier than that. Um, so this, this, kind of-- you move between two world. In
your case, Hong Kong and Kentucky, here is U.S. And in my case, Japan, and then
here in Lexington. What-- Do you -- So I sometimes often find myself being in
Japan and I still feel like foreigner because I have so much bringing
01:31:00in from Kentucky. So, this kind of sense of disjointment, you know? I mean, how
do you navigate through those two world? As you-- I'm sure by now you can visit
Hong Kong just about any time you want. Um, how do you navigate through
these travel, between two world?
WANG: I don't really think it's a problem. I think that the problem is the
difference in cultures. That, uh, when I came, I think, um, that-- I
01:32:00feel, from Hong Kong, the education is a lot more diverse than the education,
the curriculum here in the States. I think, uh, for one thing, we have, uh,
standardized tests. We have, you know. But in Hong Kong, Hong Kong is, uh,
international city to start with. When I grew up, my father always
01:32:30wanted me to try new things. So, you know, Christmas time we go eat, you know 10
course Christmas dinner. We, we go to eat Thanksgiving dinner. We celebrated, of
course, the British, uh, holidays. The Queen's birthday was a holiday, you know.
But also the Buddhist birthday was a holiday. And Confucius's
01:33:00birthday was a holiday (laughs). So, we were exposed to all those, and we just,
"Oh yeah. Good food, different food. You know, new things. We love that."
Here, the people are more homogenous. I feel that, especially in Kentucky, um,
because I studied in Wisconsin, right. So, my friends, uh, were
01:33:30farmers and, you know, all the regular teachers, nurses, whatever. So, when I
moved to Texas, that was a new world. Okay, language-wise was interesting. So I
went to English school, you know. I had British accent, of course.
01:34:00And when I went to class in Wisconsin, I can talk and they can understand me,
but they always say, you know, I have an accent. But I couldn't understand the
teacher for probably two months.
TANAKA: Oh, because of the British to--
WANG: The accent. I mean, the American English is different than British English.
TANAKA: Yes. Definitely.
WANG: When I went to Texas, my roommate could not understand me
01:34:30(laughs). Even though I already was here for four years, you know. But it took
me about a week or so, and when she found out that I can speak English and
understand, you know, it was something. Then when I came here, it was not too
much a change from Texas because Texas accent, Southern accent had
01:35:00something in common.
Um, so accent is something local in different part of, not just the United
States, but the world. I mean, within China too. So, and it was interesting
that, um, in one of my merit reviews, okay, I was told that I have an
01:35:30accent. And, but another interesting thing is, my students don't think so. When
I, when I started teaching, I was very, uh, aware of how my children understand
me. So, I always put in my lesson plan, " Speak slowly." Okay? I do
01:36:00that. And, and they understood me. And, and at that time, they give grades for
the professor. They don't fill up a booth on the phone. They actually read a
question and give A plus or A minus or so on.
TANAKA: Really? So, you get grades from each class. Oh my god.
WANG: And I got all As. And nobody in my several concerts, because it
01:36:30was several years, it was that way, that they'd say my speech was a problem.
Although, when I go back to Hong Kong, they laugh at my American accent. (both
laugh) Um, so I think, that's one area people could learn about. Uh, I was asked
to help with training the new TAs, you know, by the graduate school
01:37:00for -----------(??), and I know accent could be a problem because I still cannot
understand some people. So, I said, "Okay, so this is the area you pay attention
to. You use a lot of visuals, you write out the word, you know, the important
words. But don't change your accent because of that. Your accent will
01:37:30change as you deal with people." You know, I mean, you are not an actor. You
don't--um, so when people make fun of accent, I always think, "Well, it's their
problem. Not our problem." (laughs)
TANAKA: That's right. Yep. Absolutely. So can I come back to the-- At one point,
you say you were Catholic.
TANAKA: Are you still Catholic?
WANG: I'm not practicing Catholic because I think it's too hard to follow all
the rules of the Vatican. So, I actually been singing in the choir at the
Central Christian Church.
TANAKA: Oh, okay.
WANG: I read some, I won't say a lot, but, uh, Confu-- Buddhism
01:38:30teaching. I mean, I'm not a scholar in any field. Uh, but I feel that, that you
have to come to your own, uh, understanding of who you are, what you do. And,
um, you cannot be just, "Follow the book." If you want to adapt to
01:39:00the world, then you have to be thinking, and try to understand the other person
a lot more, uh, than what you want other people to be like you. I--that, that
was my maxim. I don't want people to be like me. I don't want to be like other
people, you know. But I want to know the perspective of the other
01:39:30people, so I can understand where the person comes from, uh, when he or she says
something. You know, what actually does it mean? Because from my perspective,
may not mean what their perspective want me to mean. You know? So, I think, that
comes from Buddhism, that you need to have compassion. And you don't
01:40:00think of yourself, you know, but try to understand who you are talking to. And
of course, I learned all the Catholic teaching also. And when I went to the
Catholic school, we had to have Bible studies, you know, all those things too.
And I think that, uh, if you only look at one thing from your own
01:40:30background, you're only getting just that perspective. And that's why I think
it's important for people to understand different cultures. Yeah.
TANAKA: Yes. Yes. Yeah. And then you contributed quite a bit in improving, I
think, the music education here in Kentucky. How many students have you trained?
I mean, how many of your former students are music teachers now?
WANG: Oh, a lot. I don't have a number. But, but one thing I want to bring out
is that I, uh, I promote the teaching of approach called Orff Schulwerk. Orff is
the composer, Carl Orff, who composed, you know, from Germany. Uh,
01:41:30who had, uh, --And, you know, from the education world, you know, all these
schools, the music education, Carl Orff and some others, you know, have, um,
this idea to let children discover music, explore music, and create music.
When I started piano lesson, my teacher say, "This is Middle C." You
01:42:00know, you probably did that too. Middle C, right? It's right in the middle of
the piano, you play with your thumb. Yeah. So, if I would do over, I would do
away with all that. And I would really like children to explore music. And,
just, just know that people learn song and music for the ear, not for
TANAKA: Oh, I see.
WANG: Most of the world music--and Dr. Han taught me that too, you know. The
majority of the musicians in the world don't read music. They just do it.
TANAKA: Yeah. And it's about listening as much as you're playing.
WANG: Yeah. Right.
TANAKA: That's a gamelan. Gamelan is the typical that--
WANG: Yeah. So, you are playing the gamelan.
TANAKA: And, uh, uh, everybody says, it's about the oral tradition. So, you have
to memorize, you just learn from ears.
WANG: Right. And that's, that's something that I want my students to know. And
so, I started the Orff Schulwerk teacher training in 1987. So I think
01:43:30this is year 30 and they are still going on.
WANG: Yeah. It's, uh, uh, it's such a wonderful program that the teachers love
them. Now you have to be creative, you know. You have to, um, be not afraid to
make music. Uh, actually, Carl Orff learned from the gamelan and
01:44:00African music. Because, yeah, he-- At the World Expos in Paris, they had
musicians from Africa and from Indonesia, playing the gamelan. And he would say,
"These people never have gone to music schools. Never have private lesson. Yet
the music is so intricate." You know? So, so, that's how he started
01:44:30to think about music, another way of learning music.
TANAKA: So, tell me about this training program you said that you started. So,
do you do it as a part of the music education curriculum here? Or do you do some
kind of summer workshops, or--?
WANG: We actually have, uh, --well, we started with summer workshop. Of course,
I do it in my own teaching, general music course, you know, um, I
01:45:00mean, you don't have to label the music. You, you use the technique. You know
the exploration approaches, you have popular musical instrument to experiment on
and that kind of thing. Uh, but teacher training, yes, we do it every summer.
Uh, and to the point, um, that we have, um, concentration in the Orff
01:45:30Schulwerk, um, in our master's degree.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay.
WANG: And you should go look at them sometime, in the summer, when they usually
is in the last two week of June. Just come to the school music. And
01:46:00tell the directors they want to observe.
TANAKA: Okay. Okay. And so, the UK School of Music does that, the last two weeks
WANG: Yeah. Um.
TANAKA: Interesting. Well, I think your, yeah, your contribution to the music
education in State of Kentucky is amazing.
WANG: Thank you.
TANAKA: I think I have covered just about everything I wanted to cover, but do
you have any other things that you want to tell me about? Oh, I didn't ask you
about your children. Do you have children?
WANG: I have one son. Yeah. He, uh, worked for Toyota Tsusho America.
TANAKA: Oh really?
WANG: Yeah. In Georgetown. Yeah. So, he married a Kentuckian.
01:47:00(laughs) And we now have a beautiful, wonderful two-and-a-half-year-old
daughter. My granddaughter.
TANAKA: Your granddaughter! Wow. So, that's your part of your retirement, huh?
Playing with your granddaughter.
WANG: Yeah. It's beautiful. (laughs)
Good, good. And your husband already retired too, or--?
WANG: Oh yeah. So, I was trying to look at my notes. I, um-- One thing I think I
didn't mention more when you talk about the world music I learned from Dr. Han,
was since that time, I incorporated, uh, a unit of world music in my
01:48:00general music class every semester. And, uh, and I think the students love that.
That's the only exposure, you know. Except, if they play music of other cultures
in the performing group. Other than that, uh, I really think that ethnomusic,
or world music, is a wonderful way to learn about the world and the
01:48:30people of the different countries and cultures. And for that, I think we might
want to make use of our community more. You know? We learn from them and they
can contribute to our students. Uh, yeah.
TANAKA: Well, Dana Quan does great job. Um, you know, she's
01:49:00constantly offering very, uh, interesting world music, courses like a Korean
drumming, Gamelan has been going on since doc... I mean, it was because of Dr.
Han. And then, every year there's somebody from the community come in,
uh, and then plays music. Confucius Institute also contributed a lot
01:49:30to inviting some musicians. That's um--So I think we are done. Thank you so
much. I thought that you were wonderful.
WANG: Oh, good. (laughs) Thank you.
TANAKA: Yeah. All right. So, I'm going to turn it off and then, um--
01:50:00Let me see.