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Key player to bring back the fun of performing music

By Zhang Kun in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-27 11:11
Key player to bring back the fun of performing music

Jorg Rindermann practices with his students in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Gao Erqiang / China Daily


Many Chinese teen piano players hate music.

That's something German entrepreneur Jorg Rindermann hopes to change.

The rote learning used to pass the national piano grading examination kills their passion for piano, he says.

Key player to bring back the fun of performing music

He recalls hearing a 16-year-old neighbor in Jiangsu province's Suzhou city practicing the same songs every day.

"As soon as these students pass the test, many of them are done with the piano. Some end up hating it," Rindermann says.

So, Rindermann quit his fine machinery job to found Raffles Music Class in 2009. The school teaches more than 100 students in eight classrooms in a residential community in Suzhou's hi-tech industrial park district.

Guitar and drums were recently added to the curriculum. Several advanced students have formed a band and cover such classics as Hey Jude and Rolling in the Deep.

"Music is for enjoyment," Rindermann says.

"It's more fun sharing music between members of the band."

Some parents brought their children to Raffles Music Class because their children were "unhappy and not making any progress in learning music".

Rindermann has reignited their passions.

The school also offers an expansion program. It encourages students to express their understanding of music through speech, drawing and dancing. For instance, teachers sometimes present music in sync with a cartoon to inspire emotional responses and stimulate imaginations.

It's a far cry from the typical disciplinary approach students use to score highly on the 10-level national piano exam. Many parents push their kids to get certification because they believe it gives them a competitive edge in life.

"They are deprived of the fun of music under the heavy pressure of the test," Rindermann says.

Rindermann tries to make music interesting. He doesn't encourage students to take the exam.

Key player to bring back the fun of performing music

Key player to bring back the fun of performing music

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