Dr. Christina Tio, PhD

Piano Teacher

Christina Tio

SAA Member


Skokie, IL
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Originally from Malaysia, Christina Tio attended the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in the United Kingdom to study piano where she earned her Performing Diploma, a Teaching Diploma, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She continued on to complete her Masters degree in Piano Performance at the University of Reading, where she studied with Frank Wibaut from the Royal Academy of Music, London. Her mentors over the years also include Malcolm Wilson and Alison Pottinger and she has participated in master classes by Peter Donohoe, Anne Queffelec, Renna Kallaway, Christine Faron, Anthony Saunders, Joseph Weingarten and Venessa Latarche. She performed regularly both as a soloist and accompanist, and her interest in musicology research has led her to a doctoral program on a scholarship with Nicholas Cook at the University of Southampton and a PhD in Musicology.

While completing her doctoral dissertation, Christina assumed the position of lecturer at Universiti Putra Malaysia, and taught there for two years. Her students performed successful recitals, and completed musicological papers that advanced them to graduate programs at universities in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. A period of busy freelancing teaching schedule followed, as she taught and conducted seminars as a guest lecturer at music colleges and major universities in Kuala Lumpur, including the University of Malaya, the National Arts Academy, Sedaya International University College and the Malaysian Institute of Arts. She taught applied piano, courses in music history, music theory and supervised graduate and undergraduate degree projects. From March 2004, Christina resumed a full-time faculty position at Universiti Teknologi Mara. She left Malaysia in April 2005 to the United States to join her husband who is working in Chicago.

Christina received training to become a Suzuki piano teacher with Doris Koppelman, Rita Hauck, Mary Craig Powell, Caroline Fraser and Fay Adams. She has since devoted to teaching the piano by the Suzuki approach only. Passionate about impacting lives with the Suzuki philosophy, Christina has served as a masterclass clinician at SAA Conference in 2018, was a session presenter at Leadership Retreat in 2019, and presented a poster at MTNA Virtual National Conference 2022. She teaches at Suzuki institutes around the United States and in Singapore, frequently adjudicates at festivals, was a presenter at Illinois State MTA Conference 2019, and speaks regularly at MTNA local chapters. Some recent presentations in the US include, at Naperville Music Teacher Association (NMTA) in October 2019 and March 2022, North Shore Music Teacher Association (NSMTA) in September 2020 and February 2023, West Suburban Music Teacher Association (WSMTA) in September 2022, and at Waubonsee Valley Music Teacher Association in April 2023.

Christina considers parent education and developing musicality her forte. She enjoys a vibrant piano studio characterized by excellence and joy, where music-making is appreciated as a lifelong endeavor. Her students frequently receive awards at local, regional, national and international competitions, as well as appearance on a national broadcast of NPR’s From the Top. They also perform extensively in the community at festivals and nursing homes to warm critical acclaim. Prize winnings have also led her students to perform at SAA Conferences in Minneapolis (2014 to date), Alice Millar Chapel at Northwestern University, IL (2017), Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall (2019, 2021), Merkin Hall in Kaufman Center in New York (2019), Beethoven Haus in Bonn, Germany (2021), MTNA Virtual National Conference (2022), as well as Koerner Hall in Toronto (2023). Christina is currently a Suzuki Piano faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago. Aside from in-person lessons and group classes, Christina also teaches online with students in Kansas City, Colorado and California, in the UK and in Singapore. Also a homeschool mom since 2013, she lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband and son.