Symphony orchestra blows its own trumpet

A concert of the Songjiang Symphony Orchestra was recently staged at the Shanghai Symphony Hall.
Symphony orchestra blows its own trumpet
Ti Gong

A concert of the Songjiang Symphony Orchestra was recently staged at the Shanghai Symphony Hall, featuring classic works including Carman Overture, Ode to Red Flag and Auld Lang Syne.

As the first student’s symphony orchestra in the suburban areas of Shanghai, the 98-people Songjiang Student’s Symphony Orchestra has developed into the district’s model of art education.

Over 10 years ago, there were almost no Western stringed music education resources in Songjiang, although the district is a place rich in cultural deposits. In 2003, the district youth activity center started to promote the popularity of Western music by introducing teachers who were professional in conducting and Western stringed instrument playing.

In November of 2004, Vice Director and Chief Violinist of Hubei Provincial Opera Theatre Yue Weiqiang was recruited by the district’s youth activity center. Yue was tutored by Huang Xiaotong, renowned music educator, conductor and professor of Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Yue founded a music studio named “Yu Weiqiang Music Studio” in 2005, which laid a solid foundation for the establishment of the orchestra. Yue planned to promote Western music education by making local grassroots schools bases of stringed music teaching.

Since then, teachers of the music studio began to walk into grassroots schools and communities to popularize the Western stringed music by giving lessons on violin.

The district youth activity center also collaborated with Yueyang Primary School, Foreign Language Primary School attached to Shanghai Normal University and Yueyang Kindergarten to set up music training classes, which drew close the distance between Western music and local children.

Violin training classes have gained more and more popularity and are now given at all schools in downtown Songjiang.

In 2006, the Songjiang Student’s String Orchestra was founded and two years later, the orchestra set up a branch.

To realize the goal of founding a symphony orchestra, the district youth activity center made a detailed plan for the orchestra considering instrument configuration, member training, teaching resources allocation and three-year goals.

The planning was later researched and revised by the Education Bureau of Songjiang District.

In the last few years the orchestra has enjoyed some success. In 2014, they won the gold medal of the primary schools group competition at the Shanghai students’ music festival; came in the top 10 of the Shanghai Citizen Culture Festival Western Orchestra Competition; and won the gold medal of the 10th Shanghai Student Orchestra Competition.

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