Already a week come and gone. A lot has happened! Due to the fact that I arrived two weeks into the semester, my students were eager to begin lessons. Last Sunday during a meeting with professor of saxophone Li Yusheng, he told me that I would be teaching two more students than last year. This is due to his acceptance of 26 new saxophone students at the conservatory. Now the total is more than 100! My current studio is now 15 students, 2 first year, 4 second year, 2 third year and 7 fourth year seniors. On top of that I will also coach a saxophone quartet made up of 4 of the seniors.
Sunday night I contacted all of my returning students. It's very easy in China because all of the students have cell phones. One mass text message to all of them instructing them to stop by my office on Monday did the job. My three new students were contacted by the modern music office. I was looking forward to see my kids again!
On Monday, like clockwork, my students lined up outside my 14th floor office to meet with me. We scheduled lessons for this past week and talked about repertoire for the semester (and seniors for the the final exam). Next week will be a little crazy because the Chinese provencial gorvernment will come to observe teachers and the facillities. This means that not only to my students have to be extra punctual, but lessons will be double in length...yay. Intermitantly throughout Monday afternoon, I met my new students. Two were freshman: Zhou Yuan Xing and Feng He Fong. Feng spoke relatively good english, but Zhou was a little shy. I was surprised that my Chinese was good enough to schedule a lesson time and ask if he had prepared any music. My third new student, Liu Tao, is replacing Wang Shan Shan who graduated last year. As a side note, Wang is now residing in her hometown, Qingdao, where she is working for the local orchestra and playing in a saxophone quartet.
During the week lessons went well! Surprisingly most of my students HAD practiced over the summer, and some had already completed the pieces I gave them. Looks like this semester will be a good one. My goal for the following semester is to hold a recital feature my studio. It's disappointing to me that this school does not do this kind of thing on a regular basis. It seems like if you are majoring in music performance you should actually PERFORM! This is a trend I hope to start.
In other news, I am in the process of preparing for a recital aiming for November. Before I left last year, I had been working with pianist Xiong Lian. She is a fine musician and I am very excited to collaborate with this year. My tentative progam includes works from: Yoshimatsu, Harbison, Boutry, Noda and Heiden.
In my every day life, I've pretty much settled in to my new apartment. Yes, I will make a blog about this complete with pics and video....SOON! Most nights I'm whisked off to restaurants with my students or friends catching up. It really is great to be back! Not too much has changed. There are still skyscrapers popping up everywhere, farmers selling produce in the streets, taxi-drivers driving like maniacs and too many people. The only difference is, this time it feels a little more like home.