Fine tuning her piano talents

Through her unwavering dedication to playing piano, Diamond Bar High School junior Isabella Rossi has amassed several first place titles in various prestigious music competitions.  

The pianist has won first place in notable events, including the John Child Walker Competition, Southwestern Youth Music Festival and at sublevels within the Music Teacher Association of California. 

“I mainly placed first, but even with the few that I received third or fourth, I was really content because I got to learn something different,” Rossi said.  

So far, one of Rossi’s greatest achievements in piano was earning the state honor from the Certificate of Merit Music Teachers Association of California in March of 2020 after passing the qualification test. Considered a high honor, this test involves a written section on music theory, in addition to playing a piece on the instrument. Students of her caliber then move onto the Panel and Young Artist Guild Auditions, which provides even more performance and scholarship opportunities for young pianists.

Prior to reaching this level, Rossi has been involved in a plethora of competitions, partaking in three to five events per year since she was six years old. 

To prepare, Rossi dedicates a little over two hours to practicing her pieces each night, until they are competition-ready, in addition to weekly lessons. 

“I usually prepare for about two three months, the first month being when I receive the piece and the rest for polishing,” she said. “At this point, it just feels pretty natural, in which I go to lessons and they give me something to work on, I work on it and go back to find something else to work on.”

To manage this hefty time commitment, Rossi says that she tries to finish her homework beforehand, so she can practice without worrying about it. 

“I may end up super tired, but no, piano has never clashed with school,” Rossi said. 

Although she is mainly dedicated to piano, Rossi also plays the cello and has previously dabbled with the clarinet and the flute. However, Rossi expressed her preference for piano, because it provides her with relaxation and helps to fuel her competitive streak.  

“I like playing the piano because it gives a sense of comfort throughout the harder times within my life,” she said. “It is something I always go to when I feel upset or frustrated.”

Since teaching her younger brother to play the piano—something Rossi believes to be one of her greatest achievements—the pianist hopes to pursue music instruction in the future. While she does not plan to be a piano teacher full-time, Rossi anticipates having a teaching job as a part-time hustle.

“When I started helping my brother, the satisfaction of his happiness of winning something made me want to do that with other people,” Rossi said. “I want to teach piano because of that reason.”