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Teaching Chinese music


CHIME Workshop at the Confucius Institute, 
Hamburg, 17-20 November 2016



Youngsters in present-day China grow up primarily with Chinese and Western pop. Traditional music still exists, but its performers have to compete with pop stars, belcanto singers and other professionally trained musicians in televized music contests and glamour shows. Chinese folk songs, temple music, regional operas, puppetry and storysinging continue in their own right, as they have done for centuries. But the gap between these genres and urban music has become considerable, also in the realm of music education. Traditional ways to teach people to perform Chinese music differ greatly from modern 'academic' methods. So what can be done to bridge the gap, or to make it smaller? And what is actually the 'right' way to teach any specific genre or instrument?
























CHIME Workshop on Music Education in China,

Confucius Institute at the University of Hamburg, Hamburg,

Germany, 16-20 November 2016



Hosted by:

the Confucius Institute at the University of Hamburg



Initiated and organized by:

· CHIME, the European Foundation for Chinese Music Research

· The CCOM Institute of Musicology (Beijing Central Conservatory)



In cooperation with:

· The Hamburg University of Music and Theatre (Hochschule für Musik und Theater)

· The Hamburg Conservatory (Hamburger Konservatorium)

· The International College of Music in Hamburg



The languages of the meeting are English and Chinese



Programme Committee

Carsten Krause, Confucius Institute, Hamburg

Frank Kouwenhoven, CHIME

Jia Guoping, Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing

Tang Qiong, Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing








14.00-18.00    Registration at the Confucius Institute at the University of Hamburg,

                       “Hamburg Yu Garden”, Feldbrunnenstraße 67, 20148 Hamburg


                       Collect your programme booklet and badge and

                       enjoy a cup of tea at Chinese Teahouse “Hamburg Yu Garden”!

                       And have a look at the special exhibition on Chinese Music Culture 'Secret Sounds'!


Evening:         Free





09.00-09.15    Welcome with coffee and tea


09.15-09.20     Word of welcome by Carsten Krause,

                        Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Hamburg


9.20-9.30         Word of welcome by Susanne Rupp, Vice President of the University of Hamburg


09.30-10.00    Frank Kouwenhoven, CHIME, Leiden, The Netherlands

                       Introductory remarks to the topic of 'Music education in China'



                       Conservatory style teaching & general issues I

                       Chair: Ruard Absaroka


10.00-10.30    Yang Hon-Lun 楊漢倫, Hong Kong Baptist University

                       Early Conservatory education and China’s musical development


10.30-11.00    Coffee and tea break


11.00-11.30    Xavier Bouvier, Haute école de musique, Genève

                       Dealing with culture inside and between Chinese and Western higher music education institutions


11.30-12.00    Tang Qiong 田蔓莎, Beijing Central Conservatory

                       Education of traditional music in Chinese Conservatories


12.00-12.30    Han Mei 韩梅, Center for Chinese Music & Culture, Murfreesboro USA

                       Old Masters, New Students - The Identity Transformation of the Chinese Zheng under Conservatory Pedagogy


12.30-13.00    Li Liangzi 李良子, Central Conservatory Beijing

                       现代筝乐得演奏与教学 (Xiàndài zhēng lèdé yǎnzòu yǔ jiàoxué)

                       (Modern zheng (zither) teaching and playing in happy fashion')



13.00-14.00    LUNCH



14.00-14.30    Marc Antoine Camp, Lucerne Univ. of Applied Sciences and Arts

                       Musical talent development and self-concept of Chinese and Swiss music students


                       Music education for school children


14.30-15.00    Chen Yu 陈瑜, Fudan University, Shanghai

                       中小学阶段中国音乐艺术教育新政策与改变 (Zhōng xiǎoxué jiēduàn zhōngguó yīnyuè yìshù jiàoyù xīn zhèngcè yǔ gǎibiàn)

                       (New policy and changes in Chinese art education for the elementary and middle school)


15.00-15.30    Dong Jinming 董金明, Nanjing Art Institute, Nanjing

                       浅谈中国家长在孩子学习乐器过程中的不同心态 (Qiǎn tán zhōngguó

                       jiāzhǎng zài hái zǐ xuéxí yuèqì guòchéng zhōng de bùtóng xīntài)

                       (A talk on Chinese parental attitudes with respect to the process of children learning an instrument)


15.30-16.00    Coffee and tea break


16.00-16.30    David Hughes,Research Associate SOAS, University of London

                       Traditional music in Japan’s required school curriculum: better late than never!


16.30-17.00    Liu Qian 刘倩, University of Los Angeles California, USA

                        Chinese primary music education in my eyes — Characteristic music programs at the Baodai Elementary School, Suzhou, Jiangsu


17.00-17.30    Song Yang 宋扬 (Limia Song), Beijing 'Back' Education Co, Beijing  

                       Changing views on teaching music to young children in China


17.30-18.00    Panel on school music (in Chinese), with:

                       Dong Jinming 董金明, Nanjing Art Institute, Nanjing 

                       Lou Yafeng 娄亚峰, dizi teacher at Xukou Elementary School, Suzhou

                       Zhang Qinyin Qinyin 张钦音, erhu teacher at Xukou Elementary School, Suzhou

                       Song Yang 宋扬, Beijing


18.00-19.00    DINNER [not organized; you will be recommended some restaurants  

                       nearby or you may also find a place of your own preference]


19.30-21.00    GALA CONCERT 'Secret Sounds'

                       Kirche St.Johannis am Turmweg

                       Erhu, zheng and pipa meet organ, violin and piano


                       Admission free for participants in the CHIME workshop


                       Organized by the International College of Music in Hamburg,

                       With students from the College and from Shanghai






                       Conservatory style teaching & general issues II

                       Chair: Hung Tsun-hui


09.00-09.30    Barbara Mittler, University of Heidelberg, Germany

                       “The future of classical music?” Educating the “Chinese” musician — Tiger mothers, wolf fathers and music life in (greater) China


09.30-10.00    Dong Shi Huili 董时辉力, Nanjing, PR of China

                        浅谈中国传统民族民间音乐的流行化转变趋势 (Qiǎn tán zhōngguó chuántǒng mínzú mínjiān yīnyuè de liúhánghuà zhuǎnbiàn    

                        qūshì. A talk on the trend of popularizing traditional Chinese folk music)


10.00-10.30    Dai Baisheng 代百生, Macao Polytechnic Institute, PR of China

                       Multicultural music education in Macao


10.30-11.00    Coffee and tea break


                       Teaching and Learning Chinese music abroad

Chair: Liu Qian


11.00-11.30    Karsten Gundermann, Hamburg

                       Beijing Opera dance moves for Hamburg Musical performers


11.30-12.00    Hung Tsun-Hui 洪充惠, University of Hawaii

                       Chinese Music Education in the United States


12.00-12.45    Panel on Chinese students learning Western music

Chair: Xavir Bouvier


                       Reinhard Bahr (Hamburg University of Music and Theatre), 

                       Michael Petermann (Hamburg Conservatory)

                       Eberhard Schmitz (International College of Music, Hamburg)

Yuanyuan Voß (Hamburg University of Music and Theatre)

                       Yuan Huailan (LAN Culture Bridge)


12.45-14.00    LUNCH


                       Teaching traditional opera

Chair: Shi Yinyun


14.00-14.30    Joshua Chan 陳沛倫, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS)

                       Learning Peking Opera in Hong Kong: Then and now


14.30-15.00    Catherine Capdeville Zeng, INALCO, Paris

                       Transmission and Teaching in Unofficial Chinese Theatrical Troops

                       in Town and Country


15.00-15.30    Tian Mansha 田蔓莎, Shanghai Opera Institute, Shanghai

                       传承中的变与不变 — 川剧音乐中的“口传心授”(Chuánchéng zhōng de biàn yǔ bù biàn – chuānjù yīnyuè zhōng de

                       “kǒuchuán xīn shòu”)

                       (Inheritance changed and unchanged: On the “oral teaching” of Sichuan opera music)


15.30-16.00    Coffee and tea break


                       Teaching Chinese composition

Chair: Barbara Mittler


16.00-16.30    Chen Xiaoyong 陈晓勇, Hamburg University of Music and Theatre



16.00-17.00    Wang Ying 王穎, Shanghai / Beijing

                       创造性发散性思维在作曲教学中的运用 (Chuàngzàoxìng fāsàn xìng sīwéi zài zuòqǔ jiàoxué zhōng de yùnyòng) (Broadminded and

                       varied creative thinking in the teaching of composition)


17.00-17.30    Su Cong 苏聪 , Film Academy of State Baden-Württemberg

北京中央音乐学院作曲系“文革”后第一届学生所想所为; 我想华人作曲界今后的议题 (Běijīng zhōngyāng yīnyuè xuéyuàn zuòqǔ xì 'wéngé' hòu dì yī jiè xuéshēng suǒ xiǎng suǒ wéi; wǒ xiǎng huárén zuòqǔ jiè jīnhòu de yìtí) (A view from the Beijing Central Conservatory’s first post-Cultural-Revolution students of composition – My thoughts on the future of Chinese composers)


17.30-18.00    Panel: teaching contemporary composition in China

With Chen Xiaoyong 陈晓勇, Wang Ying 王穎 and Su Cong 苏聪


18.00-19.00    DINNER [not organized; you will be recommended some restaurants nearby or you may also find a place of your own preference]


19.30-21.00    CONCERT 'Classical Music from the Far West'

                       Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Steintorplatz, Hamburg

                       (directly southeast next to the Main Railway Station in Hamburg)


                       Admission free for participants in the CHIME workshop


                       How does 'classical music' sound? Does it resemble Bach or Turandot,  violin or two-stringed erhu, wood or porcelain?

                       Elements that may seem familiar to one person, exotic to another, converge in this exploratory concert: sonatas with Chinoiseries, Bach

                       played on erhu, and Puccini from Shanghai...


                       With erhu-players Dong Jinming & Dong Shi Huili (Nanjing)

                       and students of the Hamburg Conservatory

                       Presented by Michael Petermann, under auspices of the Hamburg

                       Conservatory & the Confucius Institute at the University of  Hamburg





                       Teaching Chinese traditional music

Chair: to be decided


09.00-09.30    Shi Yinyun 施吟云, Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, Suzhou, PR of China

                       From shuoshu xiansheng to laoshi: a comparative study between the  traditional and contemporary teaching and learning process in

                       Suzhou  ping-tan, China


09.30-10.00    Ruard Absaroka, SOAS, University of London

                       Challenges and changes in Chinese music education in the UK: The SOAS Chinese Music Ensemble, University of London


10.00-10.30    Stephen Jones, London UK

                       What is music education?


10.30-11.00    Coffee and tea break


11.00-11.30    Lin Chen 林辰, Music Research Institute, Beijing

                       广陵派教学法——以唱弦为例 (Guǎnglíng pài jiàoxué fǎ—yǐ chàng xián wéi lì) (On the chang xian ('singing string') teaching method

                       of the Guangling Guqin School)


11.30-12.00    Dai Xiaolian 戴晓莲 & Ding Nishang 丁霓裳, Shanghai Conservatory of Music              

                       我的老师,我的学生 - 古琴教育的改革;比较分析 (Wǒ de lǎoshī, wǒ de

                        xuéshēng - gǔqín jiàoyù de gǎigé; bǐjiào fēnxī) (My teacher, my

                        students – Changes in guqin education; a comparative analysis)

                       [Paper in Chinese and English, with demonstration]


12.00-12.30    Rachel Harris, (SOAS, University of London)

                       Hereditary Musicians and the Academy: a view from Xinjiang



12.30-13.30    LUNCH


13.30-14.15    Music recital 1 

1. Wu ye ti (乌夜啼) 'Crows cawing at night' Ding Nishang 丁霓裳 guqin

2. Bi jian liu quan (碧涧流泉)

                          'Green brook running', Dai Xiaolian 戴晓莲, guqin

3. Fěnhóng lián zhū gōngdiào (粉红莲 诸宫调)

                          'Pink Lotus', Han Mei 韩梅, zheng

4. Gāoshān liúshuǐ (高山流水) 'High mountains and flowing waters'

                           Han Mei 韩梅, zheng

5. Gòng jūn duàn yuē (共君断约), trad. southern Chinese love ballad,

                           Cai Yayi 蔡雅艺, pipa and vocals

6. Fēng dǎ lí (风打梨), solo for dongxiao (vertical bamboo flute)

                           Cai Yayi 蔡雅艺, dongxiao

7. Appalasia, for erhu (Chinese fiddle) and Kyma system, comp. by

                           Mark Phillips. Hung Tsun-hui 洪充惠, erhu


14.15-15.15    (Parallel, in two different rooms:)

                       Workshop I, Tian Mansha 田蔓莎 (Sichuan opera singing) 

                       Workshop II, (Guzheng, 21-stringed, bridged zither) 


15.15-16.15    (Parallel, in two different rooms:)

Workshop III, Cai Yayi 蔡雅艺 (Nanyin, southern ballad singing) 

Workshop IV, Dai Xiaolian 戴晓莲, (Guqin, classical 7-stringed zither)  


16.15-16.30    Short coffee and tea break


16.30-16.40    Music recital 2 

1. Gé Xī Méi lìng (鬲溪梅令), trad., duo for bamboo flutes

2. Yángguān sāndié (阳关三叠) 'Farewell at Yangguan pass'

                          Liu Qian 刘倩 and Lou Yafeng 娄亚峰, bamboo flutes



16.40-18.00     Film: Li Manshan, Portrait of a folk Daoist 

                       (GB doc, 2015, dir. Stephen Jones, 80 mins, English subtitles)


This intimate portrait film explores the life of village Daoist Li Manshan (b.1946), and his group of ritual specialists in the poor countryside of Yanggao county in north Shanxi, China. The film shows how their magnificent funerary practices have changed under challenges such as migration, the modern educational system and competition at funerals from pop music.


18.00-19.00    QUICK DINNER [not organized; you will be recommended some restaurants nearby or you may also find a place of your own




19.00-21.30    CONCERT Secret Sounds: “Neue Musik und China…”

                       Confucius Institute at the University of Hamburg, Chinese Teahouse 'Hamburg Yu Garden'

                       Feldbrunnenstraße 67, 20148 Hamburg


Music by finalists of the Composition Contest 'New Music and China 2016', played piano duo Franck-Thomas Link and Yun Xu from Hamburg and Shanghai. Presented by Margarete Zander, who briefly interviews the prize-winning composers.


Admission free for participants in the CHIME workshop





                       The role of Confucius Institutes in Chinese music education abroad

Chair: To be decided


10.00-10.30    Li Xin 李昕, Music Confucius Institute, Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen

                       A talk about stories in Chinese music


10.30-10.45    Han Mei 韩梅, Center for Chinese Music & Culture, Murfreesboro USA

                       Brief introduction to the Center for Chinese Music and Culture at Middle Tennessee State U, and Confucius Music Institutes in general


10.45-11.00    Short coffee and tea break


11.00-13.00    COFFEE CONCERT of Traditional Music from China

                       with Chinese musicians who participated in the CHIME meeting


1. (Item to be announced), Hung Tsun-hui 洪充惠, erhu

2. Liú shāng (流殇), Ding Nishang 丁霓裳 , guqin

3. Liú shuǐ (流水) 'Flowing water', qin duet by Dai Xiaolian 戴晓莲  and Ding Nishang 丁霓裳 , guqin

4. Méihuā sān nòng (梅花三弄) 'Three variations on theme of Plum Blossom, orig. for guqin, arr. for zheng; Han Mei 韩梅, zheng

5. Hányā xìshuǐ (寒鸦戏水) 'Lonely crows playing in winter stream' for zheng; Han Mei 韩梅, zheng

                       6. Improvisation (即兴), Han Mei 韩梅, zheng

7. Lǜ (绿) 'Green', for qudi and bass dizi (bamboo flute duet) composed by Zhang Weiliang (张维良) 

    Liu Qian 刘倩 and Lou Yafeng 娄亚峰, bamboo flutes

8. Fēifēi sàsà (霏霏飒飒), trad. southern Chinese ballad, Cai Yayi 蔡雅艺, pipa and vocals


                                                   (short intermission)


9. Fěnhóng lián zhū gōngdiào (粉红莲 诸宫调) 'Pink Lotus', as arranged by Yang Xiuming 杨秀明

                            Lǐ Liángzi 李良子, zheng

10. Jiānghé shuǐ (江河水) 'Water of Jiang River', folk piece for erhu

      Lǐ Cāngxiāo 李仓枭, erhu

                       11. Shímiàn máifú (十面埋伏) 'Ambush on all sides, pipa solo, arr. by Lin Shicheng 林石城 ;

      Liú Fánhè 刘凡赫, pipa

12. Kōngshān niǎo yǔ (空山鸟语) 'Bird song on a Desolate Mountain' comp. by Liu Tianhua 刘天华 ;

      Lǐ Cāngxiāo 李仓枭, erhu

13. Yì bǐ cǎocǎo (逸笔草草) pipa solo, comp. by Luo Yonghui 罗永晖

14.Nòng xián (弄弦), duo for erhu/zheng, comp. Fāng Quányī 方权一

     Lǐ Cāngxiāo 李仓枭, erhu, Lǐ Liángzi 李良子, zheng

15. Sīfán (弄弦), duo for pipa and erhu, comp. Yao Chen 姚晨

      Liú Fánhè 刘凡赫, pipa and Lǐ Cāngxiāo 李仓枭, erhu


13.00              End of meeting



                       ...Last but not least, for diehard fans of music:


19.00-22.00    CONCERT Recital Duo Verena Chen & Juliette Journaux

                       Laeiszhalle, Kleiner Saal, Johannes Brahmsplatz, Hamburg


                       Tickets for sale at the Laeiszhalle


Violin sonatas of Beethoven and Prokofiev, shorter violin pieces of Tchaikovsky and Piazzolla, and He Zhanhao and Chen Gang's Butterfly Lovers Concerto, by Verena Chen (vln) and Juliette Journeaux (pf).


                       Expect brillant performances of Violin sonatas of Beethoven and Prokofiev, shorter violin pieces of Tchaikovsky and Piazzolla,

                       as well as He Zhanhao and Chen Gang's Butterfly Lovers Concerto,

                       by a young and dynamic duo, consisting of violinist Verena Chen

                       and pianist Juliette Journeaux.


                       (Verena Chen's father, the composer Chen Xiaoyong, will speak about his activities as a teacher of contemporary music in the CHIME

                       workshop, see the schedule above on Friday)



Further online reference to the programme:



What is Chinese music? 

Any attempts to present China or Chinese culture as a monolith are sadly off the mark. There are Chinese-speaking communities all over the world, some who identify closely with a Chinese ‘motherland’, some who like to stress that they are Taiwanese or Hong Kongese rather than Chinese. The music of Tibetans, Mongolians, Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese and other communities in Asia often closely interacts with that of Han-Chinese, and should also be taken into account when looking at Chinese music and its transmission.


All these groups cultivate their own musical worlds, and all of them have had to face the onslaught of 'westernization' in modern times. 


From the very beginning, conservatories and (music-minded) universities, founded during the 20th century in China, have dealt primarily with Western music. Many harboured departments of Chinese traditional music, but the teaching of native instruments came to rely increasingly on Western methods.

Even ardent proponents of traditional music such as the ethnomusicologist Wang Guangqi – who studied comparative musicology in Berlin – criticized the 'weakness' of Chinese traditional music, and advocated its refinement by learning from the West.


Today, there is renewed attention and growing respect for Chinese native sounds and performing habits. Government support for protecting or promoting traditional genres has increased dramatically. But a considerable gap between 'old' and 'new' remains. 'Tradition' remains a hotly debated issue and, quite often, a minefield of misconceptions and conflicting ideological viewpoints. Conservatory students trained on traditional instruments show little or no awareness of past traditions, many styles and genres have changed beyond recognition, and performance techniques, repertoires, and even designs of Chinese instruments have been modified to match assumed Western ideals. So where does this leave Chinese music education? What can be done to reconcile traditional teaching with modern approaches, and what will be the future of Chinese music? And what impact will the current (fairly drastic) commercialization of music education in China have on traditional music and its sustainance? Scholars and practitioners will meet in the arena of the workshop in Hamburg, to exchange expertise and to tackle these fascinating questions.  






孔子学院 CHIME 工作坊



中国当代年轻人的成长主要伴随着中国和西方的流行音乐。传统音乐仍然存在,但其表演者必须和流行歌手、美声歌手及其他经过专业训练的音乐家在电视音乐大赛和魅力秀节目里一争高下。中国民歌、寺庙音乐、地方戏、木偶戏和说唱曲艺持续以其数百年来一贯的方式存在着。然而,这些体裁和城市音乐之间的差距已经不可逾越, 在音乐教育领域也同样如此。教人表演中国音乐的传统方法与现代“学术”方法的差异很大。那么我们可以做些什么来弥补或缩小这个差距?什么才是“正确”的方式来教授某种具体的体裁或乐器?
















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