When my family moved to Melbourne from Hong Kong, my grandparents bought a second-hand piano for me and my brother to learn on. It came from an apartment in St Kilda. I don’t remember the piano, but I do remember my grandfather’s shock at how much per step he had to pay to move the piano down the flight of stairs even before it was loaded onto the truck.

Elaine Chia Elaine Chia. Photo © Keith Saunders

I failed my first piano exam. I changed teacher, and my new teacher, Mrs Siuksta was very strict. She said I had no technique, and she was right. A year later, I became the first student at my school to score an A+ in an AMEB exam. Mrs Siuksta gave me a record of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, but I didn’t play it for years because I thought Beethoven was nowhere near as tuneful as Mozart. I know...

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