Learn Chinese through Songs

Learn Chinese through Songs

Course Description

Learn Chinese through Songs is an innovative approach for learning the Chinese language, created by Professor Hong Zhang of Binghamton University, SUNY, in 1992. This is a specially designed, interdisciplinary course, emphasizing both language acquisition and music appreciation and performance. Through carefully selected songs, students will learn in this class include famous Chinese art songs, folk songs, and popular songs. Song lyrics will serve as main texts, accompanied by vocabulary lists and exercises.

Students will learn new words and sentence patterns as in regular language classes, while the improvement of pronunciation, diction, fluency, articulation, voice projection, and language expression will be achieved through singing practice. Students will also learn basic singing techniques such as breath support, voice projection, correct posture, and legato singing. In addition, presentation skills will be taught including building confidence, concentration, relaxation, communication with the audience, conveying song meaning, and stage deportment. Students will go through a step-by-step learning progression, from “singing along” to “singing alone.” By the end of the course, students will develop a foundation of singing, a special training on speaking Chinese well, an appreciation of beautiful Chinese songs, and enjoyment and confidence in learning Chinese.

Prerequisite: One year of Chinese with a good mastery of pinyin.

See an interview with Professor Zhang where she explains her technique and the content of this new class.

Testimonials From Students


Class Schedule and Tuition

8 sessions (8 hours)
Wednesdays, October 6 – December 1 (No class on 11/24, Thanksgiving)
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Tuition: $225 Member/$265 Non-member
Non-Refundable Registration Fee: $30.00
Maximum Number of Students: 15

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About the Instructor:

An award-winning teacher of Chinese language and culture, Professor Hong Zhang has performed at numerous international venues. Zhang holds a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from Binghamton University, SUNY, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently a tenured Instructor of Chinese and an associate faculty member of Music at Binghamton University, Zhang has received State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Language Education Award from the Chinese Language Teachers Association.

As a Chinese culture and music ambassador, Zhang has been giving lectures and recitals extensively in the US and abroad, topics including “Chinese Ethnic Groups and Their Songs” as well as workshops on “Teaching Chinese through Song,” “Language Learning through Songs,” “Diction for Singing Western Songs,“ “Voice Care through Singing” and “Voice Training for Success”. Zhang has performed and presented for hundreds of universities and communities, including the United Nations and universities in the U.S., Canada, China, Singapore and Cuba.

Zhang’s  teaching curriculum includes the groundbreaking course, Singing Chinese. Students of this class have won awards at many international competitions. In addition, Zhang has also co-authored Chinese through Song (Global Scholarly Publications, 1998; SUNY Press, 2010. 2nd edition, 2014) and Cultural Chinese: Readings in Art, Literature, and History (Georgetown University Press, 2012).

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Instructor: Hong Zhang