A child of Musicians becomes Violin Teacher

Introducing Mr. An, MMW Violin Teacher

Zhihuan AN

Be positive, be devoted and be patient.

At what age did you start learning the violin?

My parents had bought a hand-size violin for me to play like a toy since my first birthday. Here is a picture of me when I was four years old playing the violin at a school program.  However, I officially started at age seven.  Yet, it wasn't until I was a sophomore in high school that I realized violin would always be a part of my life.  It was at that time when I was inspired by legendary violist Maxim Vengerov’s Tchaikovsky violin concerto.
At age 4
At age 4

At the age of 4 years

Your parents were violin teachers. Did they teach you?

Yes, my parents were my first teachers. Most people think that this is an ideal environment, but it was not the case. Unfortunately, I didn't listen to my parents' instructions because I was too comfortable with them since they are my parents. In desperation, they sent me to another violin teacher to study the violin.
2012 with Family in China

Both my parents taught violin.  This is with my family in 2012.

You have performed many places, what is a memorable performance?

Every performance is precious to me.  However, a memorable time was two years ago in Texas.  I was preparing for the last recital of my artist's diploma. As the school's concert hall was closed just after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic I couldn't find a suitable place to hold my concert. Later, with the help of my girlfriend, I finally chose her professor's office to hold this concert, which I have never held in someone else's office. It was a very dry place. The violin sound was completely covered by the piano.
Afterwards, we spent a long time researching to find a place where the sound balance was appropriate.

Where did you grow up? What are the biggest cultural differences you've experienced since moving here to the states?

I grew up in the northeast of China, where it is very cold and snowy all year round. Later, when my parents moved to Shanghai, I followed them. For me, the biggest cultural difference between China and the US is religion. Every Christmas, I can feel this different culture strongly. Obviously, I have become a part of it.

What do you miss the most about China?

To be honest, I'm getting used to life here, perhaps because I haven't been back for a long time. However, I always miss my parents, relatives, and friends.

You came to the US for higher education, which universities have you attended?

I am currently working on my Doctoral degree at ASU.  I completed my Master's degree at Campbellsville University, KY.  Plus I  obtained an Artist Diploma at Texas Christian University.
All of these three universities are very different.  I love all of them, especially Campbellsville University and TCU, As there were not many international students at those schools.   They were so welcoming and I felt so much warmth and love from the faculty and students.  I really appreciated that the schools supported me with a full scholarships.
ASU is the one with the highest education among the three.  It has an impressive faculty and they offered a huge scholarship for me,
which I really appreciate.
Chamber recital at University

A Chamber Practice

Since moving to Arizona, what is your favorite thing to do on your days off?

I like hiking, not in summer, of course. I like spending time in museums or listening to classical concerts.

What is your favorite piece to perform?

From solo to large orchestral works, there are too many legendary works I have performed in the past to just pick one piece.  Here is a link to a memorable performance with TCU.

If you weren't a violin teacher what career do you think you'd enjoy doing?

Perhaps conductor or trumpet player.

What would you say to young inspiring musicians who have big dreams?

Be positive, be devoted and be patient.

What are your hopes and dreams for the upcoming future?

As always, I will go forward on the journey of teaching music to cultivate more talents for the future.

Do you have a favorite food?

I like Sashimi and Sushi.

How would you describe yourself in one word? Why?

Indefatigable. I always tell myself to be curious about what I love and make unremitting efforts to pay for what I love.

What would you say to potential new students who are considering learning the violin?

It is not easy to learn any new musical instrument. You may be surprised how challenging it is because even after studying violin for two or three years, the sound may not be as good as you think. I suggest that the cooperation between parents and children is very important. For children who have just learned the violin, parents also need to devote themselves to this. Support your children with hope and patience.
17 Years old, practicing at home.

Practicing at Age 17 at my home in China.

Do you have any upcoming performances we can attend?

I will hold my solo recital on October 2022.  Plus I'll be preforming and April 3rd and April 28th with ASU Symphony Orchestra

Violin Lessons with Mr. An at MMW:


Mr. An is a patient and calm teacher.  He's able to break technical matters down to their very core.  You can tell he loves the violin just by his enthusiasm to perform and have his students involved in all the studio recitals.    - Kim, MMW Co-Founder