Summer camp generates children's interest in pipa

Updated: Jul 14, 2022 China Daily Print
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Pipa learners perform at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing on July 13. [Photo by Su Guanming/China Daily]

Pipa, a traditional Chinese string musical instrument with a history of over 2,000 years, has always been popular among Chinese children who learn musical instruments.

The diversity of its sounds and the beautiful look have drawn music lovers of various generations.

Since 2011, a summer camp, founded by veteran pipa player Zhang Hongyan has been held at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing to teach pipa to children of different levels.

As part of the annual Gateway to Music festival, one of Beijing's biggest arts festivals for children that has been staged during the summer vacation since 1995, the pipa summer camp marked its 11th year this summer.

On July 13, over 70 children performed at the Forbidden City Concert Hall after a three-day-long training. Coming from different parts of China, such as Shandong, Shanxi and Fujian provinces and Beijing, the children, from those who have learned to play pipa for several years to those who touched the musical instrument for the first time, displayed their skills onstage.

Zhang Hongyan (left) teaches during the pipasummer camp held in Beijing this summer. [Photo by Su Guanming/China Daily]

Music works, such as Dance of the Yi People composed by Wang Huiran in 1960, and Sun of Homeland composed by pipa player Liu Dehai, were performed.

"I'm very proud and happy to see many young Chinese people love to play the pipa. Arts education is a key aspect of what we do as professional musicians and educators. Teaching inspires not only the students, but also the teachers in many ways," said Zhang.

She added that when the Forbidden City Concert Hall invited her to launch the pipa summer camp, it was the first summer camp at the Gateway to Music festival dedicated to a traditional Chinese instrument.

The annual Gateway to Music festival, one of Beijing's biggest arts festivals for children, offers amateur music lovers with a pipasummer camp. [Photo by Su Guanming/China Daily]

She also expressed her gratitude to her students from the Central Conservatory of Music, who volunteer to teach the children during the summer camp.

"It's particularly meaningful for children who have never played pipa to have an access to the ancient musical instrument through participating the summer camp. Some of the children even decided to take pipa as a professional career to pursue," Zhang said.

Besides pipa, the summer event also offers amateur art lovers with nine other mini summer camps centering on different art forms, such as Peking Opera, Kunqu Opera, guzheng and percussion.

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