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Piano mastery comes early for blind girl

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou | | Updated: 2021-03-02 17:35
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Chen Lin loves the piano, having developed an unusually fine sense of hearing and concentration — abilities that have served her well as she has learned to play. She touches the hearts of many.

Chen Lin is blind.

Born in Shantou, Guangdong province in 2010, Chen is "different". She suffers from a rare congenital condition that took her eyesight at birth.

Her experiences growing up were unlike other children. Yet, despite her disability, Chen refuses to bow to fate. It was music that opened her world.

While Chen can't see, her other senses are sharper than those of ordinary people. With her excellent perception and diligent practice, she developed quickly on the piano and began to perform on stage after only one year. After two years, she started winning international prizes.

She won the classical performance award in the finals of the Antonio Vivaldi Art Festival in Vienna, Austria, when she was just 9 years old. In May, she won first prize in her group for a solo in the preliminaries of the Oxford International Piano Open.

Chen's mother, surnamed Lin, has been there for her at every step. She remembered being shocked at the sight of her baby daughter's eyes covered at birth by a thin sheet of skin.

The hospital examination confirmed that Chen's condition — cryptophthalmos — and that she would never see. It's a rare genetic affliction that affects between 0.2 and 10 people in a million.

Despite Chen's fate, handed to her by nature, her mother taught her to be brave and optimistic about the world. Her family has never given up nurturing her.

Lin taught her to use a computer for writing a diary and sent her to learn the piano when she was very young. Chen's skills developed remarkably. She could play difficult music like a child prodigy.

At 8 years old, she began to study piano under her current teacher, Lu Yunming, and was admitted to the Xinghai Conservatory of Music.

She is the second blind student to be accepted by Lu.

Because Chen couldn't see written musical scores on paper, Lu taught her to memorize them. She learns and plays strictly by ear.

"In the first half of the year, she had a hard time learning. She couldn't remember which keys to touch. But after mastering the rules, she has become more and more familiar with the keyboard and is learning faster and faster," said Lu who is strict with his young student.

Lu, who recognizes Chen's special gifts, spends three times as much time in class with her than with other students. And it has paid off.

But what really matters is the joy of music. Chen's hard work has helped her improve her skills quickly, but Chen said her time practicing piano is the happiest part of her day.

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