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March 07, 2007


Central Conservatory of Music

Later on the trip we traveled with Dr. Monts and Dr. Yen to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, which was in the 2nd circle. This is a grade and high school where students live and study traditional Chinese instruments. We arrived at a large building and they took us to the 3rd floor and we sat in a large conference room with reclining black chairs and a large wooden table set with water bottles for each of us. We met with the President of the school who once again exchanged gifts with Dr. Monts and took pictures. We received a tour of the school by a Chinese student with a thick British accent. We walked down the hall and show individual practice rooms with students playing the piano. One student was pointed out as one of the best. The building had dark marble floors and walls by the elevators and while marble everywhere else. We were shown a "typical dorm" which turned out to be a guest dorm room that looked like a hotel, and nothing like a real one. I didn't understand why they would never show us a real dorm room. There was a little garden and courtyard that had a small pond and flowers with every color of the rainbow- like a secret garden.

We also saw the theater where the preformances take place. It was amazing, with huge gold organ pipes with green and red detailing. There were the perfectly lined chairs and music stands on the wooden stage and a brand new wooden piano. Everything else in the theater was red. They claimed that the acoustics were the very best.

After this, we drove an hour to the 6th circle where there was a satellite school, which was in a more rural area. It was brand new and cost more money, partly because it was not funded as much by the state. The President was a famous Chinese musician. She was very happy to have Dr. Yen there, almost to the extent of being overly nice. She wants students to go to Umich because it will raise the prestige of her school. She had her students perform for us, playing traditional Chinese instruments and the piano. They were incredible. They ranged in ages from 4th grade to 9th grade. It was really amazing how well these students could play, and how dedicated they were to playing at such a young age. It made me think of how different our education is, and the differences in what we value in education.

Here is another link for information in English!

Posted by cdesimon at March 7, 2007 08:01 PM