Superstar Pianist Lang Lang’s Childhood


Justina (Yijia) Liu, Staff Writer

Lang Lang is considered one of the most talented Chinese pianists in the 21st century. He was born in Liaoning, China, in 1982 and married Gina Alice Redlinger in 2019. He has been credited for inspiring millions of Chinese children to learn – a ubiquitous phenomenon dubbed the “Lang Lang effect.” Many parents believe that if Lang Lang was able to become such a great pianist, their children would also be able to. They believe that all their children need was a little bit of practice and one day they would soon become as successful as Lang Lang. 

“My mother bought the whole album of Lang Lang’s classical music for me to encourage me to learn piano,” said junior Emily Yen. 

“He is skilled in his craft. Crisp notes playing at the audience’s hearts” stated junior Melanie Jiang.

However, as famous as he is, Lang had a very unpleasant childhood. When he was five years old, his father, Lang Guoren, decided that his only son must become the top classical pianist in China and make the family proud. He was determined enough that he gave up his job as a policeman and took his son to live in Beijing, and left his wife behind, all to get their son into one of China’s most prestigious music schools, the central Conservatory of Music.

As Lang approached the age of nine, his father tried to get one of the best piano teachers to teach him how to play the piano better. 

However, the professor said that Lang has “no talent, that [he] shouldn’t play the piano and .. go home” in an interview in which he recalls his childhood. 

When he heard about this, Lang Guoren Lang’s father reacted very poorly, traumatizing the nine-year-old. He said that “everything is destroyed” and handed his son a bottle of pills, but Lang refused and escaped to the balcony where he was told to “jump off and die.”

His father’s rage didn’t end there. There were multiple incidents of his abusive behavior; one instance was when Lang was expelled from his school. His father suggested that he become famous by jumping off a building because his death would make him gain recognition. 

 Later on, Guoren says that he was just applying pressure on Lang because, like all parents, he wanted to make his son stronger. 

“As Chinese parents, we have high expectations of our child,” Lang Lang’s mother said when asked why she didn’t stop her husband from prompting suicide in an interview for CNN News

Even though some people would argue the actions to be self-serving, they unelectably caused an unerasable scar in Lang Lang’s life which was also a reason why he swore never to treat his children how he was being treated. Even though pressure would work in the education of a child, the emotional damage caused later on is greater than the positive effects. 



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