Xiaole Li

Xiaole L.

Irvine, CA
Profile-student-favorite Student Favorite
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Beginners piano lesson starts from the fundamentals of piano playing, including posture of sitting at piano and finger positions on the keyboard. According to the age and background of a student, the instruction uses game-like finger patterns, rhythm
clapping to meet a student's needs.

Traditional songs and seasonal favorite songs/pieces are enjoyable repertoire for beginner to play.

About Xiaole L.

Xiaole, (Shirley) an active pianist, music teacher, and composer, is a member of MTAC-Music Teachers Association California. A member of Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society, she holds a PhD in Music with many awards for academic excellence from the University of Hawaii. She has more than 30 years teaching experience and has taught piano, music theory and history from beginner to advanced levels.

She studied at Shanghai Conservatory of Music and at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, where she polished her artistic spectrum in piano, musicology, and composition. Her teaching uses various sources, including Western classical repertoire, folk, popular music, world music, and Chinese music. She performed piano solo and chamber music in China when she was a pianist in Liaoning Provincial Opera House and on the piano faculty at Sichuan Conservatory of Music, China. She taught piano major students and played accompaniment for voice, dance and various instruments.

Currently she teaches piano and composition in her studios in Irvine, CA and serves as Chair of Senior Graduation Recital in MTAC South Coast Branch. Her students have been prizewinners in MTAC branch festivals, honor recitals, and have performed in Composers Today recitals. She has helped students develop interest and much enjoyment in music. She also can help students enter prestigious universities and become professional musicians.

*** Lesson Details ***
Lessons are designed for individual needs and goals. Each lesson can be in flexible ways to meet the student's needs.

For example, for a beginner student, a lesson introduces the basic ideas of hand position, body posture, game-like rhythm drills and simple song-like pieces.

For elementary and intermediate students, lessons start from warm up techniques. Then they play carefully selected pieces according to the student's interest. The favorite pieces may be Christmas Carols, Kuhlau's Sonatinas and Beethoven's Fur Elise. Advanced students learn to play Mozart and Beethoven Sonatas, and Chopin's Waltz and Polonaises. Some students learn to compose their music while applying music theory elements.
Some students like to learn pieces for their school events or community events (church hymns) or download pieces from internet. The teacher is willing to help students play many pieces to enrich their music life.

*** Studio Equipment ***
A Grand Piano in a large room, that can seat 20 more people for
a studio recital or masterclass.

An upright piano for young children or students who like to play in
a comfortable setting.

A board posting studio news and music festival winners' photos.

Chairs and tables for students doing their theory worksheets or
sofas for parents to observe the lesson.

Learning tools, such as writing board for music notes, flash cards, and metronome for counting rhythm. Students like to use the toy-like percussion instruments, such as castanet and shaker to clap and count beats.

Children Piano pedal.

*** Specialties ***
Early childhood piano lessons for 4 to 7 year old children.

Preparing piano performance for recitals, music festivals, Classical/ Romantic Showcases, competitions for intermediate and advanced students.

Teaching composition for MTAC ‘s Composers Today Recital.

Using technology, notation software, iMovie and iTune software, and the internet.


Write a Review
7 Reviews
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Ms. Shirley has been teaching my two kids (daughter 9 & son 7) for almost 2 years now. She is very dedicated and passionate about music. She challenges my children to try hard and learn good habits. She is flexible in how she approaches both of their lessons given my daughter applies more focus and discipline to her piano than my son. She tries to find ways to keep my son encouraged and interested in learning. She is very accommodating at her home and gives my children space to do their homework. I am very pleased with Ms. Shirley's knowledge, capability and dedication to teaching piano. She is a wonderful teacher.

Posted Aug 1, 2015
Kathryn S.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Ms. Shirley is fantastic. She is very understanding and a combinations. My son LOVES going to his piano lesson every week. She requires he work hard and pay attention. She really works hard to find good things he does and really reinforces the positive. She is always accommodating to schedule changes as well. We love having her as a teacher.

Posted Oct 27, 2014
Joyce L.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I have taken lessons with Xiaole for over 5 years now. She helps me to plan long term goals and to strive to play the best I can in performances and competitions. Also, she stresses forming good habits for studying for theory and practicing at home. One thing to note is that she is pretty strict. Overall, I would recommend Xiaole to anyone looking for a productive teacher.

Posted Oct 11, 2014
Rebecca N.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I am a retired education professional returning to piano having had some lessons in childhood and, briefly, about 25 years ago. In some ways I am a beginner, but I also had some skills - reading the treble clef, knowing the names of the keys, and singing ability, as well as the smattering of earlier lessons. Shirley is amazing! She takes a very personalized approach which reflects my interests and abilities but also sound principles for teaching piano. I was quite nervous about starting to study piano at my age but she has managed to both challenge me and encourage me. She was quick to realize that my love of singing and vocal skills could be applied to learning piano and moving from technique to musicality and helps me do that. After 4 months of lessons I am determined to succeed and starting to believe that I can - thanks to Shirley!

Posted Jul 23, 2014
Shen J.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

nice teacher :D

Posted Jul 7, 2014
Sharon T.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I've been Xiao's student for over six years and I’m very grateful for everything she has done to encourage my musical training. Through her technical yet expressive approach to music, she continually pushes me to play like an artist instead of a student. She is always quick to praise your strengths and work with you to fix the weaknesses. Under her teaching, I've grown so much as a musician and I highly recommend this teacher to anyone looking for an incredibly experienced and wonderful mentor.

Posted Jun 12, 2014
C J.

Expert Piano Instructor

Dr. Li has expert knowledge in teaching piano, and really devotes a lot of time and energy to improving her students' skills. With our son, she has done a great deal of work improving technique and building his understanding of music theory. She encourages kids to grow, to stretch and achieve higher goals. It's an excellent approach to teaching piano.

Posted Feb 17, 2014

Photos & Videos

21 Photos & Videos


Piano Lecturer
Jan 1980 - Jun 1991

Sichuan Conservatory of Music, Chengdu, China

Teaching piano major students in intermediate level and college level. Playing accompaniment for instruments for competitions and exams. Played accompaniment for winners in 1982 Shanghai Flute Competition. winner violinists in the 1984 China's National Violin Competition.

Oct 1969 - Dec 1979

Liaoning Provincial Opera House, China

Performing piano solo and accompaniment for instruments, voice, and dance.


Masters degree and Ph.D in Music
Jun 1993 - Dec 2003

University of Hawaii

Advanced Diploma
Sep 1982 - Jul 1984

Shanghai Conservatory of Music


English, Mandarin.

Professional Proficiency


Recognition that Xiaole Li Played Horowitz's Piano on Dec. 8, 2016.
Dec 2016

Fields Piano--Home of Stainway

Xiaole Li Played the Legendary Steinway & Sons Piano CD-503 Belonging to Steinway Artist Immortal Vladimir Horowitz. This Piano was owned by Horowitz for over four decades and was his Exclusive Tour Piano for the Last Four Year of his life, Including his Triumphant Return to Moscow in 1986.
National Piano-Playing Auditions: Honor Roll Certificate of Guild Teachers
Aug 2001

National Guild of Piano Teachers, United States of America.

This Certifies that Xiaole L. has successfully prepared piano pupils for entry in the National Piano Playing Auditions and is entitled to receive this certificate from the National Guild of Piano Teachers, United States of America.
National Piano-Playing Auditions: Honor Roll of Guild Teachers
Aug 1998

National Guild of Piano Teachers, USA

Same as the 2001 Certificate of National Honor Roll of Guild Teachers


3rd Place in 2014 Composers Today MTAC California State Contest
May 2014



Music Teachers National Association
May 2004
The MTNA was founded in 1876 with the goal of advancing the value of music study and music-making to society while supporting the careers and professionalism of teachers of music. With nearly 22,000 members in 50 states—and more than 500 local affiliates—the MTNA is the preeminent source for music teacher support, where members embody like-minded values and commitment to their students, colleagues and society as a whole, while reaping the rewards of collaboration, continuity and connection throughout the lifetime of their careers.

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