Suyuan, Jing-mei’s mother, wanted her to become a child prodigy like Shirley Temple and Lindo’s daughter. Suyuan urged her daughter to attempt practicing certain skills in order to establish and develop a special talent. Her daughter was initially receptive to the idea but eventually gave up on the quest to become a child prodigy like her mother wanted.
Suyuan enrolled Jing-mei for piano classes after she watched a young Chinese girl playing the piano on the Ed Sullivan Show. Suyuan settled for Mr. Chong as Jing-mei’s trainer. However, Mr. Chong was tone deaf and unable to hear the mistakes Jing-mei made while at practice. Jing-mei was not truly interested in learning to play the piano. She participated in a talent competition and failed miserably at her performance. Her mother was disappointed, but she did not give up on the piano lessons.