Music at China Institute 华美音乐

China Institute grows its educational offerings to make beautiful music with Bard College.

Our School of Chinese Studies expands our slate of classes for both children and adults to launch MUSIC at China Institute 华美音乐 in partnership with the Bard College Conservatory of Music, one of the finest conservatories in the United States.

For over 5,000 years, music has been essential to Chinese culture. Its language is tonal, its poems were once sung, and traditionally an educated person was understood to be a musical expert.

Music at China Institute 华美音乐 is a collaborative program with the US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, bringing the beauty, wisdom and philosophy of traditional Chinese music to people of all ages and backgrounds in the heart of Lower Manhattan.

In Spring 2019, classes of 8 sessions each will be offered at China Institute for music lovers to learn Guqin 古琴, Erhu 二胡, and Guzheng 古筝.

For toddlers, a Mommy and Me series will bring the fun of learning Chinese musical rhythms and movements to their intellectual and social development.

Small group classes are taught by professionally trained instructors who are also award-winning musicians and educators, each carefully selected by the Bard College Conservatory of Music.

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

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; all of which use the guqin as theme music. No musical experience needed.

Summer Guqin Classes for Adults
5 Sessions on Saturdays, July 20th ~ August 17th
• Guqin Beginner I @2:30 – 4:30 pm
• Guqin Beginner II @12:00 -2:00 pm
Promotional Tuition: $300
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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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.

Mommy and Me: Percussion and Play (Fall 2019 Classes Coming Soon)

In this interactive musical class designed for younger learners and their caregivers, participants will experience the colorful world of Chinese percussion instruments through stories, demonstrations, and the playing of drums and cymbals, while being immersed in a Chinese language environment. Based on the ‘Mommy and Me’ model of early childhood music education, the course will emphasize basic fundamentals of rhythm and melody, as well as introducing simple musical notation. Children and accompanying adults will enjoy exploring a combination of traditional Chinese folk tales, Chinese language, and percussion.

No musical experience or previous Chinese language needed.


About the Instructor, Meilin Wei: Meilin Wei, an accomplished musician with extensive knowledge of both Chinese and Western percussion, is experienced in teaching young children of percussion, music and Chinese language. Wei’s passion towards music started at the age of 5. Studying from many world renowned masters including Jean Geoffroym, Jason Haaheim, Luis Garcia-Renart, Michael Burritt, and Tom Freer. Wei is currently in her fifth and final year of the groundbreaking double-degree undergraduate program the Bard College Conservatory of Music while teaches young children five to ten at Bard Preparatory Division. Wei is deeply passionate about early childhood education and experienced in developing innovative programming to engage young children in Chinese music and storytelling traditions.

I want to be a teacher myself to inspire children both in music and the world around them.” – Meilan Wei

Introduction to Guzheng (Fall 2019 Classes Coming Soon)

The guzheng, also known as the zheng, Chinese harp, or Chinese zither, is one of the most popular Chinese musical instruments. The guzheng is a 2000 year old, 21-stringed instrument that is played primarily through plucking techniques and produces a tone reminiscent of the western harp.

In this class, students will learn plucking techniques and basic fingering, posture, tuning and care for the instrument, and basic notation, culminating in the ability to play a few simple songs.

No musical experience needed.


About the Instructor, Yisi Ye: Currently teaching guzheng to students of the undergraduate degree program of the US-China Music Institute at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, as well as the new program Music at China Institute 华美音乐, Yisi Ye is a student of the highly esteemed guzheng master Zhou Wang at the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM). Ye began studying the guzheng at the age of 6.

Ye has been awarded gold medals at numerous competitions in mainland China, as well as in Hong Kong and New York. She has performed extensively as a soloist and in chamber ensembles throughout China, and in the United States, South Korea, and Singapore.

Introduction to Erhu (Fall 2019 Classes Coming Soon)

The erhu, sometimes called a two-string fiddle or Chinese violin, consists of two strings stretched from a small sound box along a long thin neck, and played with an attached bow. It is one of the most representative of Chinese instruments, nearly two thousand years old, with a soulful and expressive tone. The erhu is extremely popular in China today as a medium for both traditional and contemporary music.

These group lessons will introduce participants to the basics of posture, tuning, bowing and notation. With proper practice, students will be able to play a repertoire of several songs at the end of the course. No musical experience needed.

About the Instructor, Cangxiao Li: A talented young musician widely recognized in China, Cangxiao Li teaches erhu to students of the undergraduate degree program of the US-China Institute at Bard College Conservatory of Music. As the concertmaster of the Chinese Chamber Orchestra of CCOM, Li has performed widely in China, also giving numerous solo recitals and public lectures.

Li has been awarded the BoB (the Best of the Best) Top-Notch Innovative Talent Award by the Ministry of Education of China. In 2017, she won both top prizes in the Solo Group and the Ensemble Group at the Sixth National Contest for Youth Musicians of Chinese Instruments held by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

About the Bard College Conservatory of Music:

Founded in 2005 and located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, the Bard College Conservatory of Music is guided by the principle that young musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential.

The US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music was formed in 2017 with the goal of creating a major platform in the United States for the study, performance, and appreciation of contemporary Chinese music. In partnership with the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, it has embarked on a five-year Chinese Music Development Initiative, which will aid in the promotion of Chinese music through an undergraduate degree program at the Bard Conservatory, the annual China Now Music Festival each October at Bard and in New York City, an annual scholarly conference in the spring, and youth programs in Chinese music education.

Thank you to Shanghai No. 1 National Musical Instruments Factory, Ltd. for providing instruments and support for the US-China Music Institute and Music at China Institute 华美音乐.

Read our press release announcing the launch of Music at China Institute!