On Saturday, May 20, 2017, our DiSCOVER 2017 participants had the opportunity to learn about Chinese music and the different instruments in the Chinese culture. The instructor for this workshop was Miriam Sue. She also brought in her partner Felix Yeung to perform with her as well as further explain the different instruments.
During the workshop, Mariam taught us that the Chinese musical instruments were classified into 8 different tones known as Bayin (八音). The eight categories are silk, bamboo, wood stone, metal, clay, gourd and skin.
After learning about the history of Chinese music, the participants got to experience the amazing performance from both Mariam Sue and Felix Yeung. Mariam played the Zheng while her partner Felix played the Ruan for us. The performance was breath taking. Like the western instruments, it takes a certain level of skill to really perfect the way you play these instruments. Their performance really captured how passionate they were about the song and their technique with the instrument.
After their performance, the participants got to try and play the different instruments that Mariam brought. Some of those instruments were the Erhu (二胡), the Dizi (笛子), and the Xiao (洞簫). The participants really enjoyed trying out all the instruments and learning from Mariam on how to play them.
About the Instructor
Miriam has lived in Toronto since 1995. Since then, she has performed Zheng in various events and venues including functions held by the Hong Kong Economics & Trading Office in Toronto, the Hong Kong Tourist Association in Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Harbour Front. She has also performed at the Markham Festival and the Spadina Street Festival.
She is currently teaching a World Music class on Zheng at York University. Her students were awarded first, second and third prizes of the non-Western Plucked class in Kiwanis Music Festival competition. She also teaches Zheng and Ensemble at Yip’s Montessori School.