Musician versus masseur

Updated: 2016-08-26 08:47

(China Daily)

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Musician versus masseur

Guo Bin talks with his mother, Wang Wenli, before an ocarina contest in Beijing. Wang expects her son to become a professional musician. [Photo/China Daily]

Professional guidance

Lacking options, Zhang decided to ask her peers at other schools and colleges to provide assistance. "I know the musical children will only improve quickly if they have guidance from professional teachers," she said.

Qi Gaofeng, from the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, is one of four teachers who responded to Zhang's invitation. He spends two afternoons a week at the blind school, teaching the hulusi and ocarina. He also provides extra tuition when students are preparing for competitions.

"Because of a lack of funds, at the beginning we chose to teach the ocarina and the hulusi; instruments the students could afford. We only began teaching students to play expensive musical instruments when we received some donations, which we used to buy Chinese lutes and basses," Qi said, adding that Zhang was the driving force behind the fundraising efforts.

"We want to set an example to the whole country that blind children can become musicians, instead of masseurs. Although many blind children love music, most of them never even get an opportunity to touch a musical instrument," he said.

The traditional view that blind people can only become masseurs has hampered the efforts of Zhang, Qi and the other teachers. According to Qi, some parents have told him that it's useless to teach blind children about music, and they only want their children to learn how to become masseurs.

Qi's aim is to provide joy, and although few of the children will make a living from their musical abilities, their skills will always help to bring them happiness.

"Isn't it a waste for talented musicians to end up as masseurs?" he asked.

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