The Division of Culture and Creativity (DCC) held an event featuring European String Teachers Association (ESTA) Ambassador Mr Bill Thomson and Director of Development Ms Madeline Kam to UIC. External visitors from the community, including music teachers and potential students, were welcomed to join this seminar hosted at UIC.

The Dean of DCC, Prof Brian Clarke, thanked the audience and introduced Mr Thomson and Ms Kam. He briefly explained how he comes from an academic background of chemistry, yet his proficiency in playing the cello allows him to experience both the scientific and creative aspects in education.

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Dean of DCC Prof Brian Clarke welcoming everyone

To begin the discussion, Mr Thomson explained that the goal of ESTA is to help promote music education. He was proud to share that ESTA already supports music education in Hong Kong and they hope to continue establishing connections with more universities in Mainland China.

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Mr Thomson explaining the objectives of ESTA

“It’s not just teaching and learning, but also the society”, Mr Thomason said. He continued with talking about how music is a language of its own with similar aspects: reading, writing, listening, and speaking (can be perceived as vocal talent). The reading and writing aspects may be lost to some cultures, such as India, because they may heavily rely on listening and repeating the notes, while Western music is physically written down.

This, in turn, would mean people would have to learn how to read and write music to actually understand Western music. ESTA is passionate about educating people to understand how to learn and read music in a Western manner.

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Ms Kam and Mr Thomson talking about ESTA

Later during the seminar, Mr Thomson played different piano pieces and asked the audience if they could name four musical items in each song. Answers ranged from major and minor keys, crescendo and decrescendos, as well as other musical terms that applied to the specific song. Some audience members were able to quickly identify the composer of the pieces.

Mr Thomson described how music is an expression of emotion and some pieces may symbolise “dramatic human experience”. He played two different Beethoven piano sonatas and the audience discussed what emotions they felt during the piece.

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Ms Kam leading the audience in an exercise to lift and lower their arm in relation to the piano notes Mr Thomson was playing

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Mr Thomson asks an audience remember to play a piece

Reporter/Photographer: Marissa Furney
Editors: Deen He, Samuel Burgess
(from MPRO)