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Sino-U.S. musical exchanges enrich students' lives, help them pursue dreams

(Xinhua)    07:27, August 08, 2019

NEW YORK, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Exchange programs on musical education between the United States and China are making music a part of Chinese students' lives and helping them pursue their musical dreams.

Some middle school students from east China's Shanghai and southwest China's Chengdu just concluded their two-week exchange program in New York.

The Chinese students joined well-known musicians and put on performances at the 2019 New York Big Apple Music Festival on Sunday evening, marking the conclusion of the fourth annual exchange program.

"Many incredible things happened behind the perfect stage and this is an opportunity to improve myself," said Zhang Qingyu, a student with the Shanghai Foreign Language School (SFLS) affiliated with Shanghai International Studies University.

"I really felt that I can do it when I'm on the stage. My impression of music could see some change after participating in the program," said Zhang. She added that some of her classmates are considering choosing music as a career.

As a fan of musicals, Zhang said she watched a rehearsal by students at Aaron Copland School of Music of Queens College in New York and the teaching styles there inspired her greatly.

"I had deep exchanges with multiple professors in the field and learnt a lot from the professional perspective," said Yang Ruiqing, another student from SFLS. Yang added her spoken English also improved in the process of talking with people there.

Born into a musical family, Yang would resort to music when she felt stressed so as to find an inner sense of calm.

Having attended classes on the traditional Chinese zither, Yang said she would continue to study playing musical instruments in the future. The recommendation of various renowned singers by professors there aroused her interest to dig further, said Yang.

Looking into the future, Zhang said she plans to write, introduce and translate musicals by taking advantage of her focus on studying foreign languages.

Zhang also hopes to play a role in a musical some day in a bid to have a first-hand experience. Only the combination of hobby and work would lead to a job done greatly, Zhang said.

"The program is like a match which makes a fire and the flame would get bigger and bigger, if you have some resources and a desire to do something," said Yang.

Yang said she may not follow the path of her parents as she is hoping to engage with the world from a different angle. And even if she finally decides to have a career in music, her choice would be respected, she said.

"Education is the channel (through which) we could understand each other more. We hope we have more educational exchanges and student exchanges so that we can lay the basis for understanding between the two nations," said Yang Jun, an educational counselor with the Chinese Consulate General in New York.

The performance of Chinese students at the music festival showcased the beauty of China, as well as the students' charm and confidence, said Tu Ran, deputy director of the Children Musician's Committee under the Shanghai Musician Association and head of the Chinese side of the program.

The teaching techniques there are refreshing and interesting and the students have greatly improved in the last two weeks, said Tu.

Tu not only brought Chinese students to the United States for short-term exchanges, but also invited American music professors to China.

Participation in the program aims at improving teaching and further opening students' eyes, said Zhou Mi, director of the teaching methodology research division with the affiliated middle school of the Sichuan Conservatory of Music.

"We have started to carry out international exchange activities since 2007 ... We would keep the momentum on international exchanges to absorb good teaching methods and experiences, foster young musicians in China and prompt cultural exchanges between China and the United States," Zhou said.

Sponsored by the Paulus Hook Music Foundation, the exchange program named New York Big Apple Music Festival includes educational exchanges and performing activities with soloists and educators coming from the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, the Aaron Copland School of Music and others.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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