In the classroom of YU Junjian's National Vocal Music Senior Seminar, the instructors demonstrated and provided one-on-one guidance on professional singing techniques such as "singing", "pronunciation", "breath" and "emotional expression". The students recorded the highlights on their mobile phones or in their notebooks. After the class, the students discussed with each other and practiced their singing. During the class, the instructors taught the essence of their vocal art throughout their lives to the students, who expressed that they were full of gains and felt deeply touched.
On March 14, "To learn art, one must first learn to be a decent person and to seek art, one must first seek morality." YU Junjian, President of the College of Chinese & ASEAN Arts, stressed in the class that the students should pursue the spirit of art, improve their humanistic qualities, cultivate the spirit of benevolence and love, and sing in a state of "poetry and painting", with images in their hearts and emotions in their eyes, and empathize with them, to be able to sing with their voices and emotions, and to truly enter the state of singing. Dean YU said that singing is not a stand-alone art and that one needs to keep learning about different kinds of things and expand one's knowledge. The bottom line of "folk singing" is to sing with "flavor" and to pay attention to the distinctive pronunciation and articulation of Chinese characters. The "mouth" must be open in the pharyngeal cavity, and the power of the "pharyngeal wall" will enable a singer to achieve an increase in volume, an expansion of the range, beautification of the tone, and a prolongation of the vitality of the singing.
On March 15, opera artist WAN Shanhong skillfully combined the art of opera performance with vocal singing methods in an open class. She said that when performing in an opera, the actor has to hit the audience with his or her heart, the actor is committed enough to the role so that the audience can be brought into the plot, and a good opera singer has to put all his or her emotions into the songs and become one with them. She emphasized that when singing, one should pay attention to the tension of the voice as well as the use of breath, pronouncing the words with attention to the beginning, body, and end of the words, while keeping one's gaze locked and allowing oneself to be fully engaged in the piece to allow the audience to understand the feelings expressed by the singer.
On March 16, PENG Jixiang, Academic Dean of the College of Chinese & ASEAN Arts, gave a lecture on Traditional Chinese Culture and the Spirit of Chinese Art. From a comparative vision of Chinese and Western aesthetics and art, he argues that traditional Chinese art is mainly nourished by the aesthetic spirit of the three traditional Chinese cultures of Confucianism, Taoism, and Zen Buddhism. Based on the analysis of a large number of texts from traditional Chinese opera, ancient poetry, and modern films, the spirit of traditional Chinese culture and the aesthetic characteristics of Chinese art are summarised in six dimensions: Tao, Chi, Heart, Dance, Enlightenment, and Harmony. The whole lecture is a blend of East and West, ancient and modern, and is concise and meaningful.
The students also gained a lot from the three days of study. I am honored to have been selected for the 3rd YU Junjian National Vocal Music Senior Seminar, and it was very rewarding to attend this workshop." said student ZHUANG Yunlong. Mr. YU's lectures were friendly, natural, and colorful, and he popularised a lot of new knowledge to the students. Ms. WAN's lectures were lively and extraordinary. With her powerful artistic aura and her unique insights into opera, she solved one problem after another for the students. Mr. PENG's lectures are more in traditional culture as well as artistic aesthetics to give us a new understanding, so that students realize that singing well is not just the pursuit of methods, but also in the cultural cultivation to constantly improve." He said that after this stage of the study, he deeply appreciated that as literary and art workers, not only do we need to develop solid basic skills and master the consummate singing skills, but we also need to have noble sentiments and cultural reserves to better commit ourselves to the noble cause of singing for the CPC and China and Chinese people.
Student ZHANG Yi said that the three-day course was fulfilling and enjoyable! During the class, Mr. Yu and Ms. WAN taught singing through lively activities and allowed each student to sing on stage, and the teachers then "diagnosed and prescribed" their problems and solved them. Mr. PENG's lecture was solid and introduced us to the essence of traditional Chinese culture and the spirit of Chinese art. However, due to the epidemic situation of COVID-19, the Senior Seminar has temporarily pressed the pause button and we very much look forward to meeting again soon to learn, discuss and progress together!"
Student YU Yinping said that Mr. Yu was physically active and practiced his musical philosophy through his words and actions. He taught us a comprehensive approach to vocal music from rationality to sensibility, from philosophy to literature, from the history of vocal development to the techniques of articulation and song processing. Ms. WAN taught us to read and think about the piece before singing it, to have a full and deep understanding of the work, and to pay attention to vocal tension and the use of breath when singing. With his profound knowledge, Mr. PENG Jixiang introduced me to the essence of traditional Chinese culture and the spirit of Chinese art.
"I sang 'Two Places' in the class and my teacher guided me in an easy-to-understand way on how to approach the piece, which made a noticeable difference in a short period." Student LI Yongsheng said. "It was an honor to join the Senior Seminar as a formal student." He said that the teachers always uphold the teaching principle of combining the teaching of being a decent person and singing skills in their lessons. Learning the art comes before learning to be a decent person, and my teacher taught me to be a kind person, to be good in poverty, and to help others succeed. To be a good singer, one must convey the "truth and beauty" of their heart to the audience through their work.
Given the seriousness and complexity of the current national epidemic situation, and to ensure the health of teachers and students, the 3rd YU Junjian National Vocal Music Senior Seminar has been suspended until the epidemic situation has subsided.