Conscious Listening/Teaching Philosophy

Re-discover familiar pieces. Take a break from autopilot.

Your new powers of listening might ripple out into your everyday life...

My Teaching Philosophy for Private Teaching:

Transcript: "A piano lesson is multi-dimensional. It is building techique, studying the score, listening attentively, mental practicing, connecting physically and emotionally, breathing intuitively, applying theory and ear training, experimenting, communicating, and most importantly, learning to learn independently. From my early beginnings in Beijing, through my years as an immigrant outsider in America, to surviving my devastating injury at Juilliard which postponed my New York debut at Lincoln Center a year, to finding curiosity for new things like improv theater, my life has been an adventure of learning to think creatively through difficulties and finding joy in the smallest moments. It is the spirit of adventure and passion for new challenges that I nurture in my students, whether they are four years old or eighty-four years old. Playing the piano is a full body event that requires total discipline and a willingness to risk everything."

"Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt." ~Shakespeare

Hsing-ay's students have won competitions including the 2018 Lakewood Symphony Concerto Competition, 2018 Schmitt Piano Competition, 2018 Rocky Mountain Composition Competition, 2017 Schmitt Music Steinway Concerto Competition, 2017 Broomfield Symphony Competition, 2016 & 2015 Rising Stars Festival, 2016 & 2015 Schmitt Solo Piano Competition, 2014 CSMTA Concerto Competition, the 2014 International Odyssiad Competition, the 2012 and the 2011 MTNA State Competition junior division 1st prize, the 2012 and the 2011 Metro State University of Denver Concerto Competition, the 2003 Rene Fisher Piano Competition (CT) 1st prize, and other honors.

Conscious Listening™ is... to listen intentionally to the elements of the music, for the purpose of engaging with the composer’s musical language. With a guided step-by-step listening method that grows musical intuition for classical music, these seminars are designed for the inquisitive adult, either music-lover or active performer, who wants more out of the concert experience.

With live demonstrations, we practice listening with specific targets and discovering the character inside each piece. My goal is to demonstrate what to listen for and how to listen. As we refresh our listening habits, our musical pursuits will yield a lifetime of joy. Happy Listening!

"We know what we are, but know not what we may be."~Shakespeare

Register Now

Masterclass Opportunity open to students or piano teachers

Steinway Hsing-ay Hsu presents a recital (Stravinksy and Bach) followed by a masterclass. Free admission- reservations recommended.

SAT 1/5/19 3-5pm Recital and Masterclass, Schmitt Music Denver

155 West Hampden Avenue, Suite 155B, Englewood, CO 80110

Rocky Ridge Adult Seminar 2

Past: Colorado Music Festival Pre-Concert Talk

THU 7/26/18 6:30pm free to concert holders. Look for the Tent. Adams/Barber/Hindemith/Walker

International Keyboard Odyssiad and Festival

Private lessons available. Sign-ups at registration.

FRI 8/3/18 Communications Make-Over/ Masterclass

CSU, Fort Collins, CO

If you have a grand piano and would like to host a workshop, please email me at


What people are saying...

"Thank you Hsing-ay. It's been marvelous! I feel refreshed after your lessons; i can't believe how much I've learned. I've been applying your teachings to my students and it is fascinating how even the very young are eager to pay attention to detail, and how fast they can learn from the very start to play 'meaningfully', no matter how simple the music is. I fractured my wrist [a year ago] last winter and couldn't play for three months. But your seminar has made me say: no more excuses!!! I feel motivated to practice and work on new pieces. Thanks!" “Thanks for a superb class! You made it very interesting by your upbeat personality and obvious piano excellence… You helped rekindle my passion for teaching - thank you! Your approach is helping me know how to put difficult concepts into words. I also like how you ask questions and let people try to put their thoughts into words- it is one of the most effective ways of teaching. You have a very thoughtful approach that has something for all levels of experience.

I’m sure that lots of teachers will be referring to her handout when they return to their studios after this conference.


Seminars for Advanced Pianists A series of 14 rotating topics, ideally paired with masterclass for application demonstration.

1. Foundations: “3 step listening”, “3 levels of understanding”, “Elements of the Music”

2. Beyond your Fingertips (breath and legato)

3. Stepping outside the comfort zone (how to absorb new information)

4. Strategic Timeline (from week to week)

5. 3-2-1 Action: Performance Strategy

6. Fluid Technique

7. Harmonic Colors & Energy Levels

8. Building Blocks (Structure) & Pacing

9. Preventing Injury (dynamic stretch, breath, static stretch)

10. Practice Applications (making the most of every hour)

11. Memorizing

12. Methods of Voicing

13. Overview of Contemporary Piano Music

14. Listen & Review

Additional Topics:

A New Strategy for Performance Anxiety

Chamber Music Skills

Mastering Mental Practicing

Communications Make-Over

Seminars for Music Appreciation

Auditors are welcome in the first hour of our pianists seminar: Foundations: “3 step listening”, “3 levels of understanding”, “Elements of the Music”.

Nutmeg Studio in Erie (35 minutes north of Denver Performing Arts Center, 20 minutes east of CU-Boulder). $20.


Calling all piano lovers to Rocky Ridge's Adult Seminar 5/30-6/3 with me, in the beautiful mountains of Estes Park. All in one fee includes daily masterclasses (Larry Graham & Professor Sergio Gallo are my fabulous colleagues), private lessons, seminars/faculty performances, participants recital, delicious meals, cabin lodging in the woods, and social time with other piano lovers.

Music of Bernstein, JCC-Boulder

“Bernstein the Composer - Do You Hear What I Hear?”

With Hsing-ay Hsu, Artistic Director of CU’s Pendulum New Music

March 22 - April 3 at 7 pm

Cost per class: $18

Cost for series: $50

A modern Renaissance man, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was the first American born and educated conductor to be celebrated word-wide, and was also a composer second to none.

Creator of Conscious ListeningTM Seminars, Hsing-ay Hsu will dive into three major compositions.

Thursday, March 22, 2018 - “West Side Story” (1957)

Bernstein’s most famous musical legacy swings effortlessly from Latin American dance rhythms to lyrical love songs. With lyrics by a young Stephen Sondheim, this socially searing project made Bernstein the hottest name on Broadway.

Thursday, March 29 - “Chichester Psalms” (1965)

Bernstein expressed his Jewish heritage by blending Jewish elements into his creative work, including this unique setting of the Psalms sung in Hebrew.

Tuesday, April 3 -Age of Anxiety” Symphony no. 2 (1949)

Bernstein based his eloquent commentary on the loneliness of modern life and the temperament of modern man on a poem by W. H. Auden. BOULDER ARTS WEEK event

Find out what Bernstein loves Bach!

Boulder Lifelong Learning

Music Listening- What Do You Hear?

THU’s 10/19/17, 10/26, 11/2 7:30-9pm at my home studio $115 register here.

CU Presents Pre-Concert Talk, FRI 11/3, 6:30pm

2017 Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Recital at Macky Hall, Boulder

International Keyboard Odyssiad and Festival

THU August 3, 2017. CSU, Fort Collins, CO

9am Masterclass; 10:30 Communications Make-over for Young Professionals

Calling all piano lovers to Rocky Ridge's Adult Seminar 5/31-6/4 with me, in the beautiful mountains of Estes Park. All in one fee includes daily masterclasses (my friends the AMAZING Larry Graham & Professor Sergio Gallo will be my colleagues), private lessons, seminars/faculty performances, participants recital, delicious meals, cabin lodging in the woods, and social time with other piano lovers.

FCM Fall Music Salons- "Dohnanyi and Brahms"

MON 11/7/17

Private residence in Denver. Registration info will be coming soon.

Summer 2016

Calling all piano lovers to Rocky Ridge's Adult Seminar 6/1-5 with me, in the beautiful mountains of Estes Park. The all in one fee of $925 per session includes daily masterclasses (my friend the AMAZING Larry Graham & Professor Sergio Gallo will be my colleagues), private lessons, seminars/faculty performances, participants recital, delicious meals, cabin lodging in the woods, and social time with other piano lovers.

"A Communications Make-Over for Young Professionals"

with Hsing-ay Hsu, Steinway Artist, Conscious ListeningTM seminars

THU 7/28, 9am, International Keyboard Odyssiad Festival, CSU, Fort Collins, CO

Young pianists everywhere, have you ever wondered how some people always light up the room wherever they are? Do you want the audience, even the first-timers, to connect with you? Would you like to be confident in making a lasting impression? Can you be honest with your teacher and parents about your struggles?

Teachers and parents, how might we use our precious one-on-one time to encourage our young professionals to succeed in the real world? Concert-goers, share your voice and suggestions in this session.

Come interact in this one-of-a-kind discussion. Receive invaluable ideas and tips on communication skills for building a lasting career.

Let's discuss how our communication skills can help us find the right partners and friends in our life journey.

Spring 2016

THU 1/14/16 10:30am Broomfield Music Teachers Association

SAT 2/27/16 Metro State University

Debussy's Images for Piano Solo

Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 7:30 pm

Monday, April 18, 2016 7:30 pm

Tickets: $30 for one session; $50 for both

FCM Piano Salon with Steinway Artist Hsing-ay Hsu continues with two evenings on Claude Debussy; the remaining two FCM pianists are splitting up the two halves of his gorgeous Images collection. Come listen to the different layers of musical ideas, and experience the movement of sounds and the exotic sonorities that create a signature Debussy atmosphere. Participants will also have a chance to kindle new friendships in their FCM community.

Private Residence in the Hilltop neighborhood, Denver

Brahms & Mozart

TUE 10/13/15, 7:30 - 9:00 pm - Mozart

TUE 10/20/15, 7:30 - 9:00 pm - Brahms

Private Residence, Denver

SAT 3/26 3:30-5pm

@Nutmeg Studio, Erie, CO

SAT 2/20 2pm Englewood Arts

Brahms Seminar & Performance: C minor Piano Quartet

Tickets: $20/15

SAT 4/2 Music Teachers National Association Annual Conference, San Antonio

THU 5/28/15 1pm Denver School of the Arts Piano Class

WED 6/3/15, 4pm, CSMTA annual conference, Pueblo

THU 6/11 7:30-8:30pm Miracle of Breath

Frasier Meadows Assembly Hall, 350 Ponca Place (off Baseline/Mohawk), Boulder

$20/person, $30/two- bring a friend. Email to register.

THU 6/25 10am Conscious Listening for Kids- private event

TUE 6/30/15 1-3pm, Denver area, 2 hour Pianists Intensive, $40/person. Max 6.

Email to register.

TUE 7/7 7:30-8:30pm

Frasier Meadows Assembly Hall, 350 Ponca Place (off Baseline/Mohawk), Boulder

$20/person, $30/two- bring a friend. Email to register.

MON 7/19 Joint Recital 7:30pm

TUE 7/20 C.L. Workshop, 9am

IKOF/Summer Keyboard Institute, CSU Fort Collins

TUE 8/11 7:30-8:30pm

Frasier Meadows Assembly Hall, 350 Ponca Place (off Baseline/Mohawk), Boulder

$20/person, $30/two- bring a friend. Email to register.

SAT 4/11/15, Nutmeg Studio in Erie, Masterclass, 1-2:30pm

$30/person ($25 if 6-10 participants) Email to register.

FRI 1/23/15 Colorado Springs

November 2014- workshops- private event

TUE 9/8/14, THU 9/10, WED 9/17concert, THU 9/18, 7-9pm.

"Let’s Get Personal! The Piano, the Romantics, and the Impressionists"

University of Denver with Friends of Chamber Music, Newman Center

Register online: Course # CRN1190, $145

As artists pushed aside the constraints of the Age of Enlightenment, they created new methods of personal expression. A resurgence of passion and the love of fantasy and nature brought forth some of the most moving piano repertoire. Join Steinway Artist Hsing-ay Hsu to explore the new textures and means of expression created by the Romantics – and later the Impressionists – and why the piano became a preferred medium for the new prominence of individualism. As showcased at the London World Exhibition of 1851, with its improved sostenuto pedal, faster repetition and felt hammers, the modern piano offered a new playground to composers. What ideas did the Romantic composers share in common amongst themselves, and with the Impressionists? How did they differ? Discover this and much more through piano demonstrations by your talented instructor, comparative listening utilizing her Conscious Listening™ approach, and thoughtful, informative discussions. Along the way, and with new insight, enjoy a group outing at the Friends of Chamber Music concert featuring renowned French pianist (and wildlife conservationist/activist) Hélène Grimaud, widely considered a Renaissance woman for our times. Return for one more class to discuss your concert experience. 10% discount to FCM subscribers.

Recent workshops:

SAT's 7/19- 8/9, 2014. 10am-1pm.

Tonal Analysis for Performers Masterclass. Erie, CO

Would you like to enhance your performance by understanding and communicating the harmonic language? We will review listening & analysis skills on a wide range of styles, in order to improve aspects of performance, such as phrasing, timing, and memory. Our repertoire will include orchestral, chamber, and solo works. This is an advanced level course, open to all instruments. Working knowledge of basic theory is strongly encouraged. Limited to 10 participants. Happy Listening!

Tuition: $200, or $50/class.

Location: Nutmeg Studio, Erie, CO (Lafayette border) Email me for address.



Weekly Listening Acuity: Cadences

Preparation using Tonal Analysis

Case Study

Session 2:

Weekly Listening Acuity: Cadences

"Finding Structure by using cadences"

“Listening for Leading Tones”

“Modulations to get lost in”

“Pacing of change”

Session 3:

Weekly Listening Acuity: Cadences


“Pivot Chords”


"Phrasing without Relying on Timing"

Session 4:

Weekly Listening Acuity: Cadences

“Chord Qualities”

“Orchestral Colors”

“Complex Chords”

“Significant vs. Passing”

“Inferred Tonal Centers”

WED 7/23, 1- 2:30pm. C.L. on a Brahms Case Study

Int'l Keyboard Odyssiad/SKI, Fort Collins, CO

Council Tree Covenant Church, 4825 S. Lemay Ave.

6/15-20. CU Piano Academy for High Schoolers, Open Level, Boulder, CO FRI 6/6 8pm. Masterclass, Conservatoire Maurice-Ravel, Paris France

Nutmeg Studio in Erie (35 minutes north of Denver Performing Arts Center, 20 minutes east of CU-Boulder). $200. Max 10 musicians. Seminar performance is optional.

To reserve, please email for availability, and then mail a $50 non-refundable deposit check (and it will be used towards tuition).

Email to sign up for class notification, to book a workshop, or to request a private coaching.

9/11- 12/4, 7 WED's 10am-12noon as the DAMTA Fall Seminar

Complete Seminar Cycle for Advanced Pianists & Teachers. Schmitt Music in Denver.

WED 10/16/13 10:30-11:30am Foundations

Foothills Music Teachers Association (Lakewood), Rockley Music, Denver

7/27- 8/17, 4 SAT's 10am-1pm Complete Seminar Cycle for Advanced Pianists & Teachers

IKOF & SKI Festival at CSU, Fort Collins

Metro State University Piano Celebration

Renmin University, Beijing, China

DU Enrichment/Friends of Chamber Music

CSO/DU Enrichment

BAMTA Chapter of MTNA, Boulder

Anthem PAL Concert Series, Broomfield, CO

*Seminar for Advanced Pianists/ Teachers Registration Form