Introduction to Guqin for Adults(古琴)

The guqin, regarded by Chinese as the most elegant of all their musical instruments, produces delicate music from seven strings. With a 3,000 year history, the guqin has deep roots in Chinese culture, being associated with Confucius, self-cultivation, scholarship, philosophy, and poetry. Recently it has attained renewed popularity because of its charismatic playing at the opening of the Beijing Olympics. It is featured in the renowned director Zhang Yimou’s film Shadow, as well as several popular TV series which use the guqin in theme music. No musical experience needed. Instruments are provided for in-class instruction.

For the Chinese version 中文课程简介, click here 点击这里

Sundays, September 15 – November 3
8 Sessions (16 hours)
• Guqin Beginner: 2:00 – 4:00 PM
• Guqin High Beginner-Intermediate: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Tuition: $720
Non-Refundable Registration Fee: $30
Maximum Number of Students: 6

Course Description:
Guqin Beginner I:
This course is designed for adults who have not studied the qin before. The classes will explain qin tablature (notation), basic fingerings and the three tone colors: open strings, pressed tones, and harmonics. Following introduction of these fundamentals, students will practice some simple exercises, then learn three short pieces: Laughter above the Turquoise Sea, Immortals’ Chant, and Autumn Wind. Aesthetics of the qin and its cultural aspects will be presented.


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The “Beginner Guqin” class experience from recent students:

Guqin Beginner II:
This class is for students who have taken the Beginner I class. Students will learn additional fingerings, as well as deepen their knowledge of notation. More advanced pieces will be taught, including: Farming at Xin and Fishing at Wei, Chant of Guqin, Remembering Playing the Flute on the Phoenix Terrace, Lament of Antiquity. In addition to technique, Qin aesthetics will be discussed.


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Click here to listen to Guqin audio.
The Raven’s Night Cry (乌夜啼), a celebrated Guqin piece from Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) by Mingmei Yip

About the Instructor, Mingmei Yip
Mingmei Yip, PhD in musicology from the University of Paris (Sorbonne) on a full scholarship from the French Government. A master performer on the Qin, she has given lectures and performances at venues such as Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, New York Philharmonic, Columbia University, Oxford University, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Beijing University, the University of Paris, Amsterdam University, Oberlin Conservatory, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the China Institute in New York. Mingmei has served as consultant for Beijing’s Chinese Qin Association 北京中国古琴会, director for Chinese Kun Opera and Guqin Research Association 中国古琴昆剧研究会理事, artistic consultant for New York Cultural Art Association, as well as on the academic board of the Chengdu International Qin Conference.

Also a writer, Mingmei has published fourteen books, with two on the qin. Her latest being her 7th novel The Witch’s Market (Kensington Books) which received a glowing review from the New York Times. She wrote columns for seven major newspapers and has appeared on over 50 TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and the United States.

Mingmei is also accomplished as a painter and calligrapher. A one-person show of her paintings of Guan Yin (the Chinese Goddess of Compassion) and calligraphy was held at the New York Open Center Gallery in SoHo in 2002. Mingmei was lecturer and senior lecturer (associate professor) of music at Chinese University of Hong Kong and Baptist University respectively, and in 2005, an International Institute of Asian Studies fellow in Holland researching on the qin. She has taught qin playing and calligraphy at two major Hong Kong Universities.


Mingmei Yip explains why she loves playing and teaching the guqin: