Ernest Chang

Growing Up with Students and Families since 1963:

Ernest Chang has been teaching piano since 1963 and he is devoted to the development of his students not just into fine pianists, but also into fine people.  Ernest Chang says:  “I believe that studying to play piano is among the finest extracurricular activities parents can provide for their children. Piano students learn to use some of the smallest muscles in their bodies to perform very intricate and exact movements. This develops discipline, concentration, meticulous attention to details, long-term thinking and perseverance, patience, emotional control and many other important qualities that can benefit them beyond the piano studio.”

Ernest Chang devotes tireless hours to one on one  lessons which can result in producing award winning piano students, but more importantly, he  enjoys developing long term relationships with his students and families.  “It is like growing up with my students and their families, says Ernest Chang”.  With over four decades of piano teaching, he has many “second generation” students, that is, children of his former students, and he looks forward to training a third generation.

The students of Ernest Chang Piano Studio have logged hundreds of performances as soloists with the Honolulu Symphony.  Students have won many competitions and awards from Music Teachers National Association, Hawaii Music Teachers Association, National Guild of Piano Teachers, Morning Music Club of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Hui Pohai Nani, Honolulu Symphony, Honolulu Chinatown Lions Club, and more.

Ten former students have gone on to study at the Juilliard School and many other have graduated from leading Universities and Conservatories and have established outstanding performing and teaching careers.


Ernest Chang’s Background:  Young Ernest Chang

Ernest Chang began piano lessons at age 6 with his mother’s aunt, Mrs. Mary Sia, and six months later became a student of  Mr. Curtis Grimes.

He performed extensively throughout the Hawaiian Islands, frequently at the Armed Services YMCA, and on “Concerts by the Sea”.  Ernest Chang is the winner of numerous music competitions including a piano competition sponsored by the Hawaii Chapter National Society of Arts and Letters and won Honorable Mention Award in the National Finals in Los Angeles.

Ernest Chang is a graduate of University High School and the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York City where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree (’62) and a Master of Science Degree (’63).

At Juilliard, he studied piano with Madame Adele Marcus with an Honorary Scholarship for five years and he played many performances throughout the Metropolitan New York area including a concert in New York’s Town Hall.

Ernest Chang is a winner of the annual National Music Competition sponsored by the John Hay Whitney Foundation.

He performed as a soloist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra eight times, including the opening concert for the Waikiki Shell in 1956.  He also performed under the baton of Andre Kostelanetz in a “Starlight Concert”.

Established Ernest Chang Piano Studio on Labor Day 1963.


Lion Ernest Chang – a lifetime of community service:

A great part of Mr. Chang’s life is being an active member of the Lions Club.

Lion Ernest ChangHe joined the Waikiki Lions Club in April 1964 and became a Charter Member of the Honolulu Chinatown Lions Club in 1973.

While serving as Club President from 1976-1977 his club won “Best Club” Award and in 1983, Ernest Chang won the “Best Secretary” Award.

Ernest Chang has held numerous leadership roles with the Lions Club including:

  • Chairman of Board of Directors Hawaii Lions Eye Bank and Makana Foundation 1986-1987.
  • President of Hawaii Lions Foundation 1987-1989
  • District Governor of Hawaii Lions District 50 1990-1991

He has also been recognized for his outstanding services with awards such as:

  • The “Senior Master Key” for sponsoring 25+ new members,
  • Progressive: Melvin Jones Fellow (9 diamonds)
  • Three Lions International President’s Award medals, and
  • Life Member with 46 years of Perfect Attendance.

Click to View the Lions Club Photo Gallery