Alexander Le-Nguyen

The cultural exchange that I experienced in both Hong Kong and China was interesting. In sharing both knowledge and techniques about the instruments and our personal experience allowed me to grow as a person and a musician. The first unique experience was in Hong Kong. In seeing how the Hong Kong symphonic orchestra rehearses their own opera shows similarities with our own orchestra but theirs has a higher level of performance skill. The music exchange with the school in Hong Kong was the second unique experience during this trip. The music exchange allowed a different conductor to conduct Golden Snake Dance. Many of the other performers from the other orchestra showed various skills on there played instruments. A senior above the current orchestra showed higher understanding of his played instruments and provided helpful tips to some of our erhu players. The experiences in Hong Kong were short and I wished there was more time to experience one more orchestras to interact.

In China the experiences were various and interesting. Many Chinese people play Western styles of music and instruments instead of Chinese instruments and are not familiar with the most common of Chinese instruments. The first experience was during our first week in China in Dongguan. In a collaborative performance with another orchestra and showing our performance skills to a summer camp (that were participating) was pleasant. Many of the campers didn’t know Chinese instruments and were amaze in my understanding of the instrument. I hope in showing and explaining my instrument this can expand the camper’s own knowledge and curiosity. The summer camp showed a multitude of different cultural aspects of Chinese people and the various cultural heterogeneity across the world. The next experience was in Jiangmen with a Western style orchestra. In seeing the performance of both Chinese and Western instruments for racing horse demonstrates an excellent fusion of music from different cultures. After the performance there was a musical exchange for both the orchestras and conductors. The musical exchange was only one song but the different approaches and techniques the conductors presented during the exchange bettered our understanding in the song but also our technique in practicing. This musical exchange allowed our orchestra to show Chinese instruments and their playing techniques for Chinese people who are not familiar with Chinese music. The last experience was in Nanhai performing in a middle school. In seeing how other people progress on Chinese instruments spurs me to continue practicing. The different kind of practice and expectations others may have makes me self-reflect and makes me want to practice further bettering others and myself that may see this increase practice and expectation.

My experience from this trip allowed me to understand that I’m very miniscule compared to the world of music (both Western and Chinese) and that I have to keep practicing in either music. My personal goal that I took out of this trip is to keep practicing and increase my standards and expectations in performing music. This experience has allowed me to be curious in how others practice and approach music and that I should regularly interact with other musicians to better my own musicianship and theres as well.