San Marcos,
08:15 AM

Passion for Performing and Teaching

By David Ogul

“Performing is a passion but I think teaching and influencing and bringing music to students lives is just as meaningful and rewarding.”

-- Dr. Ching-Ming Cheng

A new major in music. A new lab with two dozen, 88-key digital keyboards. A new Steinway grand piano for an acoustically advanced Performance Hall. Dr. Ching-Ming Cheng, an associate professor of music at Cal State San Marcos, looks at the developments and says matter-of-factly: “We’ve come a long way in a very short time.”

Cheng has been leading the charge. A classical pianist who has wowed audiences from Taipei to Texas and a leading educator who has taught on two continents, Cheng’s goals are simple.

“We want to establish a rigorous program that provides an excellent caliber of music education in the North County,” she said. “We want the best facilities and the best instruments for our students to give them an alternative of leaving the area to study music.”

Cheng has been studying music all her life. She found her path when instructors were drawn to her perfect pitch while growing up in Taiwan and accompanying an older brother to his lessons. She studied piano and double bass as a child, won several competitions at a young age, and performed professionally as a teen.

She came to CSUSM six years ago to help build the music program here. Private piano recitals raised funds for the new music lab and Steinway grand piano. Her recent public performances included an April 9 solo recital at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido and a May 13 piano concerto at Palomar College.

“Performing is a passion but I think teaching and influencing and bringing music to students’ lives is just as meaningful and rewarding,” Cheng said.