A Musical Encounter With the Past | 音乐带着我们与历史邂逅
Sometimes the randomness of life presents us with unique, wonderful opportunities. It was one of these opportunities that facilitated music teacher Lauren Borodenko’s meeting with Zang Yimin (Elvis), a Chinese musician who has studied and performs music from the regions of Mongolia, Tuva and Manchuria. After a change meeting in Beijing, Yimin, who originally hails from Qingdao, agreed to come to QAIS if he was ever in the area. He is currently a student at ‘Shenyang Yinyue Xue Yuan’ but was in town over the weekend of November 17th and offered to come to our school and give a presentation about the history and sound of this unique style of music.
Throat singing is one of the world’s oldest types of music and is distinguished by a singer’s ability to sing more than one note at the same time. You may think this sounds impossible but we were able to see firsthand how this is done. There are very special techniques that manipulate the throat and vocal mechanisms to create a unique sound. As many of the cultures that still practice this type of music are native to China and others geographically close, we are in a unique place to be able to hear this music first hand.
Our guest musician first spent 45 minutes with the DP music students and several interested teachers where they learned about the context and heritage of this unique music and were treated to vocal and instrumental performances on a range of instruments. He then did a similar presentation for grades 3,4,5,6 and 7 where he performed and discussed the techniques and background of his music. The PYP and MYP classes have been learning about vocal music production and quality or timbre of sound so this was uniquely relevant to their class work.
As we sat in the audience on Friday, many students’ faces showed looks of wonder, surprise and delight at the unusual music. Younger students giggled with the strangeness of the new sounds around them and settled into focused interest as they learned more. The older students asked thoughtful questions and expanded their understanding of what singing and music might sound like. It was a truly special and unique opportunity and we are very thankful for sharing the music with our QAIS students.