Conducting Workshops

By Cai Lingyun, Interpreter for Beauty & Melody

In her second guest blog, Cai Lingyun talks about the experience of conducting workshops at schools in Valley City, North Dakota.

From September 21-23, we had 10 workshops for students and kids from high schools, junior high schools, elementary schools and kindergartens. Sometimes, 250 students for one workshop.

We started with a power point presentation about the background information of Beauty and Melody. During each workshop, we presented the ensemble’s music, and introduced the Chinese traditional instruments (string, plucked string, percussion and pipe wind instruments).

Lots of volunteers are glad to be on the stage and experience the instruments. We compared the Chinese instruments to the Western instruments and tried to help students find the similarities and differences in between. The atmosphere of each workshop is joyful, and of course the students have already known more about Chinese music and culture.

Kids from kindergartens are so lovely. For them, we add more interesting things and games related to music in the workshop. When I close my eyes to choose the volunteers, almost all of them yell, “Choose me, please!” I can feel each small hand touch me so tightly—eager to try! We sing “Jingle Bells” together with the Chinese music played lively.

The workshop with students is full of fun, too. I think most of them like it. But a strange thing is none of the students except their teachers can sing “Country Roads” which is so famous in China! Our driver Joel and guide Shigeyo can’t believe that too! American Country Music is quite popular in China.

We also had workshops with the high school band and junior high school choir. Each of us like this kind of exchange, and we hope the students also like it.

Mrs. Mu Linghong said in a workshop: “We are from different countries, we have different languages. Today we are glad to be with you face to face here and communicate, that’s the power of music.”

High school chorus with Beauty & Melody
Xiao conducts the chorus at Valley City High School. Photo by Shigeyo Henriquez.

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