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Beginner Questions from Singapore

 
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WangYao
Plywood


Joined: 09 Jan 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:28 pm    Post subject: Beginner Questions from Singapore Reply with quote

Hello everyone! I'm a newbie Very Happy

I have some background in Western music but I've never played Chinese music before. Here in Singapore guzheng is quite a common instrument but parents generally pick piano/violin and other Western instruments for their children because they are more considered more prestigious?. I've sat through many an amateur performance and I've always liked the sound of the guzheng but it never really occurred to me to learn it until I saw a youtube clip recently!
Generally, people see anything associated with Chinese culture as somewhat old-fashioned and untrendy. We get a lot of old men busking with erhus and dizi here Laughing I am Chinese but English-educated and generally know more about Western culture and lately I've been feeling rather remorseful about it Embarassed

Questions about the instrument:
Would it be advisable to do a rental to see if I get along with guzheng? I may be able to find a rental scheme here. Also since the guzheng is quite common, there are quite a lot of cheap secondhand instruments in the market. However as a beginner, I am not really qualified to look for flaws or to judge sound quality.

Are there any reputable retailers in Singapore? I don't mind buying from Sound of China but I don't know if the shipping would make it more expensive than buying locally.

What model would be suitable for a beginner? How much should I budget? I don't want to spend too little because I don't intend to buy another guzheng for a long time so the model picked has to be a)versatile b)good enough for performance.

About lessons:
Does anyone know of any good teachers in Singapore? What is the general going rate for lessons? Also, is there any internationally accredited exam system available here in Singapore for guzheng like the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music exams I used to take for Western music?
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davidmdahl
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 207
Location: Portland, Oregon USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum, WangYao, and congratulations on your good taste. I am a Westerner very experienced with the music of my culture, yet I find much to admire in Chinese instruments and music. I think that as Chinese pride grows with their economy, more Chinese will find their traditional and classical musics something to cherish and cultivate.

The guzheng is a wonderful instrument with lots of great music available to play. I don't know about local Singapore dealers of the guzheng other than Eason. They deal in Dunhuang. I have found Eason a great reliable resource for many instruments, although I ordered my guzheng from Carol at Sound of China. Carol offers guzhengs of other makes, as you have no doubt noticed. You might ask her if you can order through her and have it delivered from China. There is a value to doing business locally, so if you like Dunhuang, Eason would be a good bet. You could check out their stock to see if anything appeals to you. I bet that they would be able to provide a list of teachers. It might be worth getting the help of a teacher to choose an instrument.

Best wishes,

David
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WangYao
Plywood


Joined: 09 Jan 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, thanks for your reply! Are there any Singaporeans here? Was hoping someone could recommend a teacher personally. There are a lot of teachers here but it's hard to find the right one.

Quote:
I think that as Chinese pride grows with their economy, more Chinese will find their traditional and classical musics something to cherish and cultivate.


Well, I'm not sure what is popularity of Western vs. Chinese instruments in China but I guess appreciation for Chinese music will depend on whether the economy continues to develop smoothly.

Quote:
I don't know about local Singapore dealers of the guzheng other than Eason. They deal in Dunhuang. I bet that they would be able to provide a list of teachers. It might be worth getting the help of a teacher to choose an instrument.


I think there are other dealers besides Eason here, I just don't know where they are hidden. Eason has started offering music lessons on site but I live quite far away. I'm a bit concerned whether the teacher will push a particular brand because the shop is selling it etc.

I haven't saved up enough money to start anyway but I'm going down to Eason tomorrow just to have a look.
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davidmdahl
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 207
Location: Portland, Oregon USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WangYao wrote:

I think there are other dealers besides Eason here, I just don't know where they are hidden. Eason has started offering music lessons on site but I live quite far away. I'm a bit concerned whether the teacher will push a particular brand because the shop is selling it etc.

I haven't saved up enough money to start anyway but I'm going down to Eason tomorrow just to have a look.


The more you know the less you will need to depend on the opinion of someone else. Dunhuang is not an off-brand, but the designs are copied, so it helps to buy from a reputable dealer. There are other brands such as Tianyi that might be better than Dunhuang in certain respects. It pays to do your homework and make an informed decision. However, if you choose at least a middle-range instrument from a reputable maker via a reputable dealer, I don't see how you can go wrong. There is always a better deal than the one you get, but all you need is good enough.

Best wishes,

David
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WangYao
Plywood


Joined: 09 Jan 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi I did some more legwork today and for some reason, all the dealers here that I've found are selling Shanghai Dunhuang "Yun" brand.

I went down to Eason and to my surprise, the shop itself is quite small. I expected a big showroom or something. They were selling the Duo Cranes model.

Anyway, talking to the Eason sales person (who was quite friendly and helpful) and making a phone call to another music school, it appears that Chinese music is really a niche interest here and nowhere near as well-developed as the local Western music scene (which seems to garner more prestige and money). Almost all middle-class children here learn the violin or piano btw although we are Asians. It seems that only parents who are Chinese-educated or play Chinese instruments themselves would send their kids to learn this instead of a Western instrument.

It seems that the examination boards for Chinese music here are not as well-developed as Western ones both in terms of requirements and teacher support. I knew it wouldn't be like Western classical music but I'm still kind of shocked and sad for Chinese music. Seeing that China is a developing country and all, I guess I can't really expect them to be able to support their music abroad? ABRSM (UK-based) really does a great job running their exams and teacher courses here for Western music.

I guess if I take up the guzheng, it would really have to be for the love of it because not many people seem to care about Chinese music. Yes, I know I am more fortunate than some people in this forum who live where there aren't even any teachers at all.

Now, all I lack is money....guzheng, space and finding a teacher doesn't seem to be a problem except that I don't live near any guzheng schools and would probably have to travel. I do have this niggling feeling that maybe I should concentrate on Western music though since I may be able to go further with it here.
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davidmdahl
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 207
Location: Portland, Oregon USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a lot easier to study Western instruments in my area as well, as you would expect. I am lucky that my erhu teacher is only about 10 minutes away by car. Finding a guzheng teacher might be more of a problem.

There is nothing wrong with studying Western instruments and music. The musical options are very rich and rewarding. However, it all depends on what appeals to you. If your heart is really in playing guzheng that is a good choice as well. There is a lot of terrific music for guzheng that is just as rich as any other tradition, including Western Classical. Besides loving the music, I like the fact that I am one of only a very few that play Chinese and Vietnamese instruments in my area. As a pianist or flutist, I am an unremarkable one of dozens or maybe even hundreds. I have a lot more chances to play Asian music, and I get to chum along with some wonderful musicians.

Whatever instrument or music that you love, that is what to study. It is important to find a good teacher and learn to practice effectively and persistently. There is no joy like the kind when you can play music you love with other people. I love it.

Good luck.

Best wishes,

David
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WangYao
Plywood


Joined: 09 Jan 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

davidmdahl wrote:

There is nothing wrong with studying Western instruments and music. The musical options are very rich and rewarding. However, it all depends on what appeals to you. If your heart is really in playing guzheng that is a good choice as well. There is a lot of terrific music for guzheng that is just as rich as any other tradition, including Western Classical. Besides loving the music, I like the fact that I am one of only a very few that play Chinese and Vietnamese instruments in my area. As a pianist or flutist, I am an unremarkable one of dozens or maybe even hundreds. I have a lot more chances to play Asian music, and I get to chum along with some wonderful musicians.


It's just so hard to choose. I know what you mean about being one of a very few though. I'm just concerned that I can't go far with Chinese music because of the lack of support. Most guzheng students here are children/teenagers who play while they are in school and just stop when they grow up. Western instruments attract a broader range of people.
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chineseharp
Rosewood


Joined: 09 Feb 2010
Posts: 75
Location: Minnesota, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know any teachers in Singapore. As for examination, I know there is one in L.A. these days and also one in Vancouver?

Best of luck in finding a good guzheng teacher!
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l.shuwen.l
Plywood


Joined: 25 Feb 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:46 am    Post subject: Re: Beginner Questions from Singapore Reply with quote

Hi Wang Yao, are you still looking for a guzheng teacher? I'm able to teach Grades 1-4 at low rates and I've been helping out schools prepare for their SYF too. Let me know, I stay around West Coast Smile

WangYao wrote:
Hello everyone! I'm a newbie Very Happy

I have some background in Western music but I've never played Chinese music before. Here in Singapore guzheng is quite a common instrument but parents generally pick piano/violin and other Western instruments for their children because they are more considered more prestigious?. I've sat through many an amateur performance and I've always liked the sound of the guzheng but it never really occurred to me to learn it until I saw a youtube clip recently!
Generally, people see anything associated with Chinese culture as somewhat old-fashioned and untrendy. We get a lot of old men busking with erhus and dizi here Laughing I am Chinese but English-educated and generally know more about Western culture and lately I've been feeling rather remorseful about it Embarassed

Questions about the instrument:
Would it be advisable to do a rental to see if I get along with guzheng? I may be able to find a rental scheme here. Also since the guzheng is quite common, there are quite a lot of cheap secondhand instruments in the market. However as a beginner, I am not really qualified to look for flaws or to judge sound quality.

Are there any reputable retailers in Singapore? I don't mind buying from Sound of China but I don't know if the shipping would make it more expensive than buying locally.

What model would be suitable for a beginner? How much should I budget? I don't want to spend too little because I don't intend to buy another guzheng for a long time so the model picked has to be a)versatile b)good enough for performance.

About lessons:
Does anyone know of any good teachers in Singapore? What is the general going rate for lessons? Also, is there any internationally accredited exam system available here in Singapore for guzheng like the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music exams I used to take for Western music?
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musiclover
Baby Guzheng


Joined: 21 Jun 2010
Posts: 28
Location: Asia small red dot

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i haven't dropped by here for a long time.

You can goggle PA community centres website for the Guzheng Course in the CC. One has been in Clementi CC for about 10 years.

Presently there are a few professional teachers with grade 10 in Guzheng from China giving private tuitions ( like the one up there). You can find them on ZaoBao website.


_________________
music brings peace to souls
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