CHIME Workshop on Music Education in China
Hamburg (Germany), 17-20 November 2016 (cont'd)
The workshop will coincide with CHINA TIME 2016, a biennial festival initiated by the City Government of Hamburg. This festival is going to take place from 7 to 25 November 2016 in Hamburg and will focus specifically on Chinese music. Further partners in the CHIME workshop initiative include the Hamburg Academy for Music and Theatre (Hochschule für Musik und Theater and the Hamburg Conservatory (Hamburger Konservatorium). These institutions harbour substantial numbers of Chinese students and have established long-terms links with institutions in China.
Our idea is a workshop of limited proportions – about 40 participants, with some presenting papers on research, and others giving practical musical demonstrations, discussing Chinese music teaching methods, concepts and problems. We will look into modern conservatory-style music training (Western as well as Chinese instruments and voice training), but also at musical training in more traditional frameworks such as opera troupes, traditional master-pupil relationships, and music training in history. The focus will range from high-level professional training to music teaching in elementary or middle schools, or in private musical enterprise and amateur circles.
Music education is a rapidly growing territory, certainly in the People's Republic. Music departments in universities are increasingly productive, new conservatories are being founded, and many harbour staggering numbers of students. Tens of thousands of young musicians receive professional training, graduation exams have been upgraded to match international standards, new concert venues and music festivals are popping up by the dozens, which provide potential future public platforms for young talents.
But not all is well. Future professional prospects for most young musicians in China are hardly enticing. The quality and long-term stability of the educational system is endangered by commercial incentives, the teaching itself can be overtly technical and void of artistic substance, and there are still other problems, not least the question of how to deal with the country's vast traditional musical heritage. This remains a hotly debated issue and, quite often, a minefield of misconceptions and conflicting ideological viewpoints. We look forward to a meeting where Western and Chinese scholars and musicians join forces and will exchange expertise in this realm, and will attempt to put all the issues more clearly on the map.