My time is flexible; however, I suggest Friday (and Thursday) for workshops, and Friday or Saturday evening for concerts.
how (Including How Much!) 实施方案 （包括预算费用!）
By your invitation. You provide my transportation, room and board (sharing with students' dorms is acceptable), and a 1,500 RMB minimum stipend for each workshop.* Finances for optional concerts are negotiable. I am studying Chinese, but it is not yet very good, so I will need an interpreter. I can bring one with me, or it could be a great opportunity for a student or host to practice their interpretation skills!
* The rate is 900RMB per hour, with a minimum of 1,500RMB.
This workshop targets music students, professionals, and teachers, but is also of interest to anyone who enjoys music.
China's music students and musicians are arguably the finest performance technicians in the world. Yet few people in the West are familiar with Chinese musicians, other than Lang Lang and Yo Yo Ma. (One good list of Chinese Western music performers is found at the Facts and Details website.) It is not simply because the names are difficult to remember; it is because few Chinese musicians attain levels of full mastery that is expected of performers of Western music.
中国的音乐学生及音乐家们被公认为是世界上最好的演奏家，然而只有少数的西方人了解中国音乐家，比如像朗朗、马友友（在Facts and Details网站上可以找到演奏西方音乐的优秀中国演奏家名单），这些都是非常来之不易的，因为首先他们的名字很难被记住，其次，因为很少有中国音乐家能掌握演奏西方音乐的精湛技术。
I believe this has to do with a peculiar aspect of music education in China: Confucian methods of formal education still impact all aspects of China's modern education, including the arts. As a consequence, students excel at isolating the individual components of a performance and then blending them into a perfectly unified whole. But there is one component that is often missing. China is all about team work, working together for the common good. This is an aspect of the culture Westerners have a difficult time grasping. Unfortunately for the performing arts in China, this has come to mean that each individual performs just like everyone else. The dimension of performance that demonstrates the technical capability of the Human has not been adequately fused with the dimension of the emotional (spiritual) expressive capability of the Human. Yang Yang and Yo Yo Ma's rise to prominence is a direct consequence of their successful fusion of the technical with the spiritual.
In the Interpretation Master Class, participants are introduced to tools and coached on using them to access the spiritual dimension and fuse it with the technical. It is profoundly simple, and once learned, lasts a lifetime. Additionally, teachers (and students) can easily share the tools with others. The following dialogue is an example of how the tools are presented; a listing of the tools follows.
The following "fictitious" dialog is a composite of several very real dialogues that took place during interpretation master classes.
A student plays the Chopin etude No.4 Opus 10. The audience claps with modest enthusiasm for a good performance. "Very nice, perfectly played; flawless! However, you can do so much more with it. What are you trying to say by playing this music?"
"I don't really know. It's happy, I guess." 我不是很清楚，我猜是快乐吧。
"Tell me: what is the composer trying to say?" 告诉我，作曲家想通过这曲子表达什么？
"He's not saying anything; it's just an exercise!" 他没有说什么，这只是一首练习曲！
"Yes, you're right, its an exercise. But even exercises can communicate. Lets suppose the composer is trying to say something. What would that something be?" 没错，这是一首练习曲，但即使是练习曲也能进行交流，让我们假设作曲家正在表达，那这会是什么呢？
"I don't know, maybe, he's saying he's in a hurry." 我不清楚，也许，他想说他很匆忙。
"Good! The interpretation doesn't even have to be true. Sometimes, the composer may have a very explicit message in mind, but for what we're doing here, we don't really need to know that. Music is a language of emotion, and emotion is very abstract. Now, I want to ask you: what do you want to say with the music? [Pause.] Again, it does not have to be real, or the truth. Let me ask it this way: What do you think you could express with this music? What feelings would you like to express with it?"
"Wow. Oh. Maybe I should get off my ass and do something? [The audience laughs.] I mean, that's what I think I would like to express with it!"
"Very good! And very specific. Sometimes it may be that specific; sometimes it may just be a feeling like 'happy' or 'sad' or 'love.' Now you're ready to look at another aspect of it. When you speak, you speak in phrases, you take pauses to breathe, and that has a natural effect on your patterns of speaking. Plus it forces pauses between your phrases and sentences. Debussy said 'Music is what happens between the notes.' The same is true of speaking: in the brains of the listeners, the thoughts take place between the words. So the challenge for you is to identify the breathing in the music. You already know about phrases, and phrase marks, cadences, and so on. We're now talking about the language component of the music, its sentence structure. So look at the written music. Hear it in your head, and as you do, breathe with it. At the beginning, before you play, you take a breath. Breathe out as you play the first musical sentence or phrase; take a quick breath in before you continue, just like you do when speaking. Do this for the entire piece. But not now; just do it for the first few phrases so you get the feel for it! Sometimes, if you listen to live or recorded performances of masters like Lang Lang, Serkin or Horowitz, you'll hear their breathing with the music. They are speaking the music using their fingers as an extension of their voice. OK, now try it. See how it feels."
[The student plays. As soon as the playing starts, an audible gasp is heard from the audience: when it was played the first time, it was just an excellent piano performance; now they are listening to music.]
[An excellent commentary on Chopin's Opus 10 No. 4 etude may be found here on Wikipedia.]
Tools for Interpretation 沟通讲解的媒介
"Music emotes; music cannot connote." Music is the language of emotion, and communicates without cognitive intellectual baggage. Any intellectual components are abstract; it does not communicate "things," only feelings. Sometimes music reminds us of things, but that is only by association; the music may describe the emotions connected with things, but does not actually describe the things. When words are sung, it is the words that carry the thoughts; the music itself carries only feelings.
The language of Music has grammar and sentence structure. Its components are not as clearly identifiable as spoken language; there is no concise noun or verb in music. But the concepts of grammar and structure do apply quite vividly: the first two bars of "twinkle twinkle" serve quite well as the subject; the last two as the predicate. Question and answer. This is a critical component of spoken language, and works as well in music. A musical phrase or entire work can ask a question or make a definitive statement.
Interpretation means two things: first, honoring the intentions of the composer. Second, honoring your own interpretation and communicating that to your listeners (including yourself!).
The following are specific tools that aid opening oneself to new levels of performance and interpretation.
Identify What the Music Expresses 知道音乐想表达什么
Recognize the composer's intended expression. It is suggested you know about the composer and the composition. Some music may have no background information at all, for example, a scale. In that case, invent an intended expression! What is important here is that you associate an expression with the music you are going to play. Play it through with focus on expressing the composer's meaning.
Determine what you would like to say with the music. Again, if you do not know, make something up. (As you play, you may find that you modify what it is you are saying. It is just the same as if you memorize a poem, and the more you speak it, the more meaning you discover in it.) Now when you try playing it, you will add your intention on top of the composer's. Play it through with a focus on your intention added to the composer's.
Look at the music and hear it in your head. Note where the breathing takes place. If you are not sure, make it up! You will discover what works and does not work when you play it. After you analyze the breathing, play it, but exaggerate the breathing: make the pauses between the breaths ridiculously long. When you play it subsequent times, the pauses (the breathing) becomes more natural; even a perpetual motion piece like the Chopin etude will soon contain almost imperceptible breathing that brings the music to life. If the breathing does not match what you are trying to say with the music, then try a different breathing.
Do your homework: when possible, become familiar with the style of the music. Sometimes it is what is expected by modern specialists such as Thurston Dart, Joshua Rifkin or Nigel Kennedy; sometimes it may be a radical new interpretive idea as put forth by Fabio Biondi's Europa Galante recording of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons." Unless the music style coincides with or follows the era of modern recording (e.g., has been recorded), this will never be the "authoritative" way to interpret the piece. But it will be a good starting point. (We may have some pretty good ideas of how Shakespeare's plays were first presented, but we will never know what they actually sounded like.)
Practice interpreting it in the style it was written. 实践解读它的风格是书面的。
Practice it in different styles. If it is a Baroque piece, try playing it as if written by Chopin. If it is by Rachmaninoff, try playing it as if written by Bach. The purpose of steps 2 and 3 is not to suggest anything rigid or surreal; rather, it provides you with a listening of possibilities of interpretation you otherwise might miss. (It also helps you learn the music!)
Pick and choose the stylistic interpretive elements that best fit your own personal interpretation of the music. Again, the goal is not something outrageous; it is possible to play Bach in a Baroque style while at the same time incorporating very subtle elements of a very romantic touch. If this fits you, you will be astounded at how astounded your audience is with your playing.
Play the music at different tempi. Not just practice; play. You cannot musically play anything fast if you cannot musically play it slow. I mean, slow! Try playing the Allegro (fast part) eighth notes of the first movement of Beethoven's Pathétique at the same sixteenth-note tempo you would use for the second movement, but make it musical.
After dropping back to the performance tempo, you will discover all the subtle moves still exist in your interpretation, thus making your musical statement all the more powerful.
Performance Visualization 将演奏形象化
When you are in front of an audience, start the performance in your mind before you play the first note! 当你位于观众面前时，需要在心里先进行演奏，然后再开始你的第一个音符。
Walk onto the stage, stop, turn and face the audience, count one beat (one second) as they applaud, and make a short bow or curtsey.
Position yourself for the performance (sitting or standing).
Visualize your starting the music, including the audience's positive reaction to your playing. Note the tempo you are visualizing; that is the correct tempo for you to play. Note your interpretation; that is the correct interpretation for you to give the music.
If you can't play it slow, you can't play it fast.
Practice with different rhythmic values and patterns. (Play Bach's C Major 2 part invention in a strict eighth note pattern eeee, then try in a e. x pattern, then in a x e. pattern. Try it with triplets, dotted triplets, etc. Try accenting it as a 3/4 piece; try extreme rubato and marcato. This gives you real control and mastery of the music, which is what gives you the freedom (and authority) to play it as you choose.
Rule of Three: If you can play the passage three times perfectly at the given tempo, you are then ready to move the metronome speed up a notch. If you fail three times in a row, then it is time to move the speed down a notch.
The metronome is a true paradox for the student: it is the one tool you will hate the most, and it is the one tool you will love the most. You will hate it, because it tells the truth, and will not let you get by with anything. You will love it, because it is the best tool available to give you technical superiority without sacrificing interpretation. When using it, the "rule of three" is a powerful indicator of progress: if you can play the passage three times perfectly at the given tempo, you are then ready to move the speed up a notch.
Isolate the portion of the music you will work on. Difficulty may exist in one or more components: fingering, notes, rhythm, body mechanics, etc. Set the speed at what seems to be a comfortable level for the most difficult component. (If it is a slow piece, set it substantially slower than the performance tempo.)
Play the passage in question. If you can play it perfectly three times in a row at that tempo, then move the speed up a notch. (Be sure you are incorporating any interpretive nuances, relaxations and specialized technical moves such as alternate fingering at a smooth pace matching the tempo; when the speed increases, these components must increase accordingly.)
If you make any mistakes three times in a row, move the speed down a notch and return to Step 2.
When you attain the performance speed, don't stop there! Push yourself to move one or more notches above the performance speed. When you return to your performance speed, it will feel that much easier.
Play the passage again, but this time start a few measures before the passage and play through several measures after the passage. This ensures that it keeps its new integrity within the context of the larger work.
You will hear people say "don't be nervous." Wrong! You should be nervous. Nervousness does not exist unless you care about your performance. If you care, you will be nervous. You can't get rid of it, so don't even try.
But don't let Nervous stop you. Take the nervousness that is in front of you and place it to your side, next to your shoulder. You can't get rid of it, but you can at least place it somewhere where it will not stop you. I mean, physically take hold of it in front of you, and move it to your side! Wear it proudly, because it means you want to make a difference in the world!
You may have an occasion to perform something you don't understand, perhaps even something you do not like. That's OK. Think of it as something that you will play for others and not for yourself. (Most performers are really playing for themselves; it is fortunately usually good enough that others can enjoy it, too!) Try reminding yourself that even if it does not mean much to you, it may mean something very significant to someone else. Just because you feel like you're wasting your time, don't waste theirs, too; play it for real. Remember, Tchaikovsky thought his Nutcracker was trite and trivial; Brahms supposedly tore up an entire symphony he personally did not like; and Bizet died thinking his opera "Carmen" was a dismal failure! So play it for real; worst case, you may do it well enough that others ask you to play it again; best case, you'll influence others positively so they'll listen to what you want to play. OK, another worst case: you may come to like the music, as well!