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EF Oxford student assembly: Music performance

Twice a week students are given the opportunity during morning assembly to take to the floor and speak to their fellow pupils and to the EF staff. This time is given to them, so that they share their thoughts: express their interests, passions and talents, inform us of their studies and research and impart the social, political, cultural and ethical issues that are important to them and which they want to raise awareness of to the wider community here at the EF Academy.

One such assembly was given by the very talented Pipa player, Rolin, who offered an inspiring performance.

Here is an interview that second year IB student Tina Shahgaldi held with her afterwards, to gain a further insight into her life as a musician.

1. When did you start playing/how long have you played for?

I have been playing the Pipa since I was nine, but before that I had learnt to play the piano for a couple of years.

2. Why did you start playing it?

When I was in primary school we had a Chinese Orchestra and because I was interested in music, Chinese music also interested me and so after I saw the performance given by the seniors I was inspired to learn an instrument. I found the Pipa so fascinating; the shape and the sound effect are so beautiful and unique, and so I decide to learn a completely different style from western music and I therefore started playing the Pipa.

3. What kept you motivated to continue?

I think as I had some basic music knowledge, I could learn playing the Pipa faster than others. I remember when I was eleven, I won the first prize in a National Music Contest, which gave me such huge encouragement to carry on.

4. Who helped you throughout learning it?

My teacher can be seen as the most important support to me, whenever I had any kinds of problem, she always helped me thought it.

5. Would you recommend it to someone else?

I would suggest that people watch some videos of the Pipa before trying it as it is a difficult musical instrument to play. I would not necessarily recommend for people to learn it unless they were sure, as many of my friends gave up learning it.

6. What is your favorite song to play?

Torch Night Festival. This piece describes a traditional festival of minority called Yi. In this festival, people enjoy dancing and singing. Normally teenagers would tell their lovers how much they love each other. Basically, this song focuses on the love between teenagers.

7. What difficulties have you faced playing the Pipa?

Personally, the most difficult thing I have faced since I began playing the Pipa is the control of emotion and mood. Sometimes I can’t play a song well because I don’t understand what kind of emotion I need to have to interpret the feeling it expresses.

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