Malissa Tong (@assilamtong) is a 3rd year Doctor of Arts student from Brooklyn, New York pursuing a degree in collaborative piano with a secondary in music education.

“I was not raised in a family of musicians. Growing up, my grandma made sure I practiced every day and made sure I didn’t miss a practice. My grandma came to America from China when I was 5 years old. She lost her sight in her mid-30s and is now 99 years old. Her sense of sound and touch is how she finds her way around the house. My grandma loves the sound of the piano. It makes her happy and that puts a smile on my face. She can pick out the wrong notes and is not afraid to let me know if I am not paying attention to my practice and that does not put a smile on her face. My grandma is one of the main reasons why I continue to do what I do. I play music for her because she is able to see my personality through the music I make. I teach music because I hope that my students will be able to play piano so they can hopefully do the same.”