DP Music Students Cross Bridges; With a Rhythm
In our opening unit of DP Music, students are starting to uncover the foundation of music knowing and understanding. As described by the Diploma Program, music is an essential part of the human experience and a unique mode of expression and communication. Our DP students are starting to formally develop a common language to discuss about and communicate through music.
Part of our opening investigation addressed mechanisms of sound production and instrument families from different cultures and regions of the world. As part of this discussion we also have been looking into our rich local musical culture. Ms Megan Li was able to organize two local expert musicians, Zhang Hui Xian and Yang Zhong Yun, to come and share their traditional Chinese instruments and music with us. Mr. Yang is a professional flute player who shared not one or two, but six different flutes with us! We were also fortunate enough to have one of the DP students, Shirley Ma, translate for Mr. Yang. Using her musical background and multilingual knowledge Shirley was able to help us understand the demonstration.
Traditional Chinese music has a very long and rich history, and the very first flute (xun) Mr. Yang shared with us is over 7000 years old! Compared to the instruments the students play (piano, clarinet, trombone and viola) the xun is truly ancient. We listened to traditional songs and even some tunes the students recognized. In addition to the xun we also listened to the hulusi, dizi, xiao, and qudi. Mr Yang and Mrs Zhang shared intimate knowledge of Chinese music, their experience as performers and answered our many questions.
As DP music students, talking to and learning about how people engage with music in our local culture is a way of understanding the important role that music can play in people’s lives. Many of us are active consumers of music and listen voraciously to music from all over the world. International-mindedness is a natural companion to music appreciation, particularly given our access to the arts via technology. In this way we are connected and can develop a deeper appreciation for the musical lives and cultural context of other people. This unique opportunity to engage with practicing musicians who are preserving and sharing a musical culture that is thousands of years old is an invaluable opportunity of which we were all thrilled to be a part of. We extend a big thank you to our incredible musical community, our guest musicians and to Ms. Megan Li for organizing this opportunity for us!