Liu Rui teaches youngsters with the beat of his own drum

( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-02-23 09:43:16

Liu Rui teaches youngsters with the beat of his own drum

Liu interacts with students during classes. Photo provided to China Daily

'Friends with children'

"It was my father's plan and he wanted me to be a percussionist in a professional orchestra. I had no interest in music. Instead, I like painting, designing and anything creative. Playing piano was no fun at all," Liu Rui says.

In 1999, he was enrolled at the Middle School Affiliated to Central Conservatory of Music and was later admitted to the percussion department of the Central Conservatory of Music.

Unlike most graduates of the conservatory, who either become musicians in symphony orchestras or soloists, Liu didn't want to be a player onstage.

"I don't want to stand in the last row of the orchestra and make sounds occasionally," he says.

On a summer vacation, Liu joined a children's summer camp organized by renowned Chinese percussionist Li Biao, where he was inspired to make his career music education for children.

Liu noticed that teachers in the camp shouted in vain to attract the attention of 20 children and only games brought the students together to listen.

"When I played percussion and piano as a kid, I tried to play games in my way and gradually I became interested," he says.

Since then, Liu taught himself the teaching theories and methods of Swiss composer Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, German composer Carl Orff and American music educator Edwin E. Gordon. He also integrated his own approaches, especially his impromptu teaching method.

"I like watching cartoons, such as Teletubbies, and I am inspired to become friends with children," Liu says.

He gave his first class at the Peking University Center for Children's Education in 2011, which proved a success. He says felt very happy when he saw children who were initially shy learn to express themselves and work with others by the end of the class.

Liu is now working with music school Toning Drum Percussion compiling a series of teaching materials titled Early Music Makers, which offers children's percussion courses such as African and Latin drums.

He also gives classes to adults who want to be percussion teachers of children.

"I believe that the potential of children's music education is big since many parents, who were born after 1980 or are even younger, are willing to accept new ideas about music training," he says.

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