My Pipa~

Meet Casian!

I have not been playing and am not good at playing but it’s good to have her by my side. She accompanied me through times of stress and times of loneliness. I would like to introduce Casian, my Pipa.

Name: Casian
Birthdate: November 2012
Type: Chinese Instrument

While living in China, I had to do an integrative culture project. “The primary goal of this project is the integration of students into local cultures and the development of an ability to appreciate the cultural values around which local people organize their daily tasks.” – K website

My proposed project was to learn about traditional Chinese music and I decided to take lessons in learning the Pipa. The Pipa is a 4 string Chinese instrument and is a very unique instrument.

Understanding the role of a traditional instrument in a Chinese society is very important because one can learn to appreciate Chinese culture and music. Learning the basics of the Pipa, its history and the methods of playing the instrument is crucial to value traditional music.

An issue of today’s music is the lack of interest in old traditional music. Youth and the younger generations are highly influenced by western/pop/rap/etc that they do not see the importance of traditional music. This was why I was motivated to learn the Pipa.

It has been an honor to have attended sessions with Professor Zhang Hong Yan and to have classes at Central Conservatory of Music. I am very grateful to have met my Pipa teacher who was a graduate student at the time and to have a lot of inspiration from her. This journey was indeed eye-opening in that students who play the Pipa started playing when they are four years old and would dedicate their whole life to playing the Pipa. Although traditional music was never my friend, after learning basic skills on the Pipa, I am really appreciative of the traditional music.

Here are some links to performances by Zhang Hong Yan

Introduction to Pipa

Cao Yuan Xiao Jie Mei

2002 Performance

This video has been really cool too!

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