Yuan Sha:  Make Guzheng a National Instrument

- Translated from Jilin Province News

Walking into Yuan Sha’s room, you face two guzhengs.  She just finished
practicing with her sister.  The 27-year-old guzheng performer Yuan Sha
has a classical style beauty.  During the whole interview, she had her
guzheng picks on.  This, she explains that she arrives Changchun late,
therefore, need to practice more.

The Culture Department of Jilin Province, the Guzheng College of Beijing
Xinghua University, and Guanming Art School together host this “Yuan Sha
Guzheng Solo Concert” which starts at 19:00 tonight at the Province
Culture Center.  Yuan Sha hopes the “Butterfly Lover”, the song she works
together with famous composer He Zhanha, will lead guzheng into a new

Tough Learning Experience

Yuan Sha first met guzheng when she was six years old.  “It was a very
tough experience; I had to take 14 hours of bus from my hometown Tiantai,
Chejiang to take lesson with my guzheng teacher in Shanghai every week.  
Then, I had to take the bus back home at night.  I started living with my
relatives in Shanghai when I was seven, and took guzheng lesson every
week.”  Yuan Sha didn’t disappoint her parents.  When she was nine, she
received the first place on the entrance exams to both Central Music
Conservatory and Shanghai Conservatory of Music.  She tossed the coin
and chose the Central Music Conservatory.

Guzheng doesn’t Have Enough International Influence

Learning Guzheng let Yuan Sha has the chance to see the international
music field.  When the reporter asked her to give Guzheng a placement on
the international music stage, she responded:  “It’s not on the main
stream.  I think it relates to the country’s economy and politics.  For
example, our Guzheng music actually surpasses the Japanese Koto, but
the Koto has established its standing in the international field.  But most
people’s knowledge on Guzheng only limited to curiosity, take this
instrument as something new.”  Yuan Sha also showed her optimism:  “I’m
working on making the Guzheng a national instrument.  After I reached this
goal, it won’t be too far away for Guzheng to establish its standing in the
international field.”   

Make the Guzheng Teaching Lively

Already well famed and gained, Yuan Sha has bigger dream:  “The current
guzheng teaching is too inflexible; I’m going to make it lively.  For example,
designing children’s songs for the kids to attract their interest; rearranging
popular songs in to easy notes targeting adults who only learn the
instrument as a habit.  Receiving international success at this young age,
Yuan Sha believes it has to do with the talent:  “Musicians have to have at
least 50% talent, other than that, there are effort and determination.  

It Takes only an Afternoon to Learn a Guzheng Song

The elegant music keeps people in a distance, but Yuan Sha believes
Guzheng as the only exception: “When my Dad took me to the instrument
store, I decided to learn guzheng immediately when I heard its sound.  That’
s the fascination of Guzheng.”  While saying this, she took the reporter’s
hand and glided through the strings:  “Guzheng is a very easy instrument to
start learning with; I can make you learn a song in just one afternoon.  Can
you believe that?”  She directed the reporter’s fingers on the strings and the
melody of “Chang Hai Yi Sheng Xiao” magically came out.  Yuan laughed:  
“Isn’t it easy?  You can learn it in a very short time.  So don’t think it’s a
distant instrument; Guzheng is an instrument with a lot of fun.”
Guzheng Music Promotion Center