It all began when six young ladies ages six to nine went at about the same time to Teacher Weishan Liu to learn how to play the guzheng. Starting with no knowledge of the instrument or the music associated with it, they embarked together on a guzheng discovery journey, learning the instrument and its music, one note at a time. They were able to quickly master different playing techniques because of their natural talent, and, before long, they were receiving rave reviews after each performance.
It’s easy to start something, but not easy to stay with it. To learn guzheng, one must start with the proper techniques, have a serious and determined attitude, have a laser-sharp focus and intention to develop technical mastery, and have the humble desire to increase artistic maturity. This is the way of the guzheng, and the way of life!
Now, six years later, the six young ladies, known as the Six Golden Flowers, have met Teacher Liu's expectations.
When taking lessons, they listen intently to what Teacher Liu says, and apply what they learned in solo and group performances. They have adjusted well to the training technique of “slowing down ten-fold”, an exercise designed to develop patience. They have even developed blisters on their fingers from the intensity of their practice sessions, yet none have ever complained. Sometimes, they have been in tears practicing really difficult musical pieces, but they persist. They quietly but attentively listened to each other play in every session, then give each other objective feedback. It’s a very special teaching technique, and they have been able use it for their benefit. Gradually, not only did they improve their ability to critique music, they have also strengthened their friendship and mutual understanding. They know how to record a tune after listening to tapes, adapt and experiment with it, as well as to fine tune their playing of the piece together. When they perform, they are totally into their music, not distracted by the audience or the setting. Once, they performed non-stop for three hours without taking a break or drink of water.
Their parents deserve special recognition also. Although they all have full-time jobs, and some even have to care for seniors at home, they put in their time whenever needed to drive to performances, move equipment, deal with the public, arrange programs, set up the stage, etc. Sometimes they would get physically ill from doing all this work, but in order to ensure that then six Golden Flowers could all appear on stage, they would do it anyway. Once, when the Golden Flowers had to perform in three shows in a single day, their parents had to spend a whole day driving over a hundred miles up and down the Peninsula. In the six long years that the group has stayed together, they did not voice a single complaint even though they have made a lot of personal sacrifices. Being there for their children was their number one priority.
Encouraged by the dedication from the Six Golden Flowers as well as their parents, Teacher Liu frequently gave them extra lessons and put in tremendous amount of time and effort in developing them. She paid close attention to their mental and personal development ever since they were little, so that they could care for and help each other; and imbued them with a team spirit that serves as a foundation for good friendships; now they are a team, and probably lifelong friends.
The Six Golden Flowers are blooming now as result of the hard work of a great many people. Let's hope they will rise ever higher in their performance of guzheng music!
|Regina Ngo||Celina To||Wanda Wang||Elsie Woo||Belinda Yan||Virginia Yan|