Burnett Thompson Blog

April 24, 2011

Shanghai: Clean Air

Filed under: Education, music, music education, travel, China Tour 7 — burnett @ 8:41 pm

Just kidding.  But compared to Wuhan, the air is at least breatheable.  Kicking off the usual sequence of dinners, coffees, hanging out, rehearsals, etc.  You never know whom you will meet in this city, like NY but more international…if that is possible.  Managed to catch Coco Zhao at JZ Club, led the Intro to Jazz Piano at the JZ School.  The photos:  Intro to Jazz Piano, a bunch of Brits at dinner, Coco & Huang Jianyi at JZ, and the ARt Deco Paramount Theater in Shanghai, Byron Wu & friends 

April 3, 2010

Shanghai Conservatory, East China Normal High School

Filed under: interest, Education, music, music education, travel, China Tour 6 — burnett @ 12:02 am

Next stop was the Shanghai Conversatory Prep department.  We were actually met by several jazz students from the upper conservatory, and other undergrad piano students.  I also had the pleasure of meeting   the jazz piano professor at Shanghai Conservatory.   Again very penetrating questions, but largely from faculty rather than students.  There was interest in the divide between white and black culture in the U.S. and how jazz made it’s way through the American cultural stream.  In general, I always feel as if I am of some general utility, since the function of the lecture is to look at the roots of American music in the early 19th century and how the threads of  New  Orleans music were firmly entrenched 100 years before the flowering of the American jazz culture.  I was joined by two erhu players from the school.

The last stop of the day was at the remarkable East China Normal University High School 华东师范大学第二附属中学。About 450 high school students filled the hall.  This is a bi-lingual school, and I presented the lecture in English with no interpreter.  This was by far the most enthusiastic audience and the Q& A would have gone on for days.  I was joined by Kelly, a young erhu player.  I was introduced by one of the students, Pei Li, who spoke eloquently in English to this large assembly.  One is always impressed by the respect, inquisitiveness,  and sincerity that these kids demonstrate.  It never fails to move me deeply while working  with students here in Shanghai.

Photos– upper: Shanghai Conservatory and prep students and faculty.

below:  East China Normal Univ. H.S.  The erhu player, Kelly, is center.  To her right in red is Pei Li who gave the introduction. Far left is our gracious host for the day, Hong Yan Fen.

March 31, 2010

Shanghai Normal University; East China Normal University

Filed under: interest, Education, music, travel, China Tour 6 — burnett @ 4:11 am

     Today was the first day of work for the U.S. Consulate supported programs.  We began at Shanghai Normal University in a terrific venue with a new Hamburg concert Steinway.  Jin Ruo Wei joined me on the erhu and we sauntered through the “Parallels in Chinese and American Music History” program.  The crowd was extremely astute, including music students and faculty, and the genuine interest in the program was very moving to me personally.  Ruo Wei and I played Zhu Ying Yao Hong of Liu Tianhua in the traditional style, followed by my deranged, jazzed up version.  One of the students said he wasn’t sure he really heard Zhu Ying Yao Hong in my version, and I am afraid he had a point. 

The second venue was a younger group of students at East China Normal University.  They were very receptive and gracious, and I only wish we’d had more time for the Q&A. They had a rehearsal immediately afterward, so we had to wrap it up.  In any case, in both cases there was a great deal of inquisitiveness about jazz, and I realized that for the most part they are not aware of jazz music.  So it places more burden on me to give them an introduction that will stimulate the m to learn more.

April 8, 2008

Xiang Cheng restaurant

Filed under: Education, food, China Tour 4 — burnett @ 9:04 pm

There are a million food joints in Shanghai, so new discoveries are made every second.  My latest favorite is a Sichuan restaurant near my hotel.  The address is  1297 Kai Xuan Lu, at Anshu Lu.  It is a typical rustic style Chinese restaurant, with big wooden tables and plenty of big red lanterns hanging from the ceiling.  A big feature is the home brewed beer.  Yes indeed, you may order black or white, and both are superb.  Otherwise, we ordered some fine dumplings, a tasty frog dish with plenty of that Sichuan whallop, and a very flavorful chicken dish.  Flavor.  No shortage of it at this joint. I was the guest of Shen Hong, a Shanghai educator, who graciously and patiently listened to my outrageous ideas on secondary education (exam free, arts heavy, etc.)  Jing provided the lively conversation.

 

Zhu Qi, Zhao Ke, Thompson B

Filed under: Education, China Tour 4 — burnett @ 8:50 pm

Yup, it was Jenny, Coco and the blogger for lunch in Xintiandi on March 28.  Jenny is my Chinese teacher.  She lives in Shanghai, I live in D.C.  How do we do it?  Chinesepod.com, of course!  Jenny, truly one of the great slicers & dicers of language nuance, is my online Mandarin teacher.  If you haven’t visited www.chinesepod.com, then you have not experienced modern education at its most sublime.  I confess to spending at least 2 hrs per day, usually before 8 a.m., listening to Jenny & John go over the fine points of buying a battery or breaking off a relationship…in Mandarin, of course. 

March 27, 2006

…more education

Filed under: Education — burnett @ 9:28 am

originally posted March 26, 2006

1) Home schooling is only slowly being understood by those outside the home school loop. One only need glance at a home school newsletter to get the gist of what really happens in their world. In a way, every child benefits from a blend of home schooling and institutional schooling. Home school networks are an institution in and of themselves. And public schools depend on parental involvement, outside tutors, online instruction, etc. So in the future, which is now, a parent will actually be deciding on the blend of institutional and parental involvement, rather than either/or.
2) Item from a home school newsletter: Genetic Researcher hosts lab on Monday, Jan 5, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Can take 3 students with biology background. Call 703.555.1212.
Obviously, the so-called home schooled bio student spends a day at NIH or some such thing, observes real science with real scientists, the latest lab equipment, has lunch with scientists, etc. etc. I’ll take this any day over a high school bio course. The home school newsletter is full of such field trips and projects.
3) It is old news that home schoolers often become accomplished musicians and artists. Why? Because they can work without time constraints on their craft in the morning, when they are not exhausted by a day of dealing with 7 different teachers that start at 7:00 a.m. The typical high school student has little if any time, to say nothing of focus, for the development of skills on an instrument. And what time there is occurs during late afternoon or evening.
4) A local home schooled 12 yr old documented the construction of the family home: meetings with the architect, permits, trenches, inspections, concrete, plumbing, electric, framing, paint, finish work.

5) What the institutionalized high schooler and the home schooler share is online studying. Teachers put assignments on line and assignments may be completed and submitted online. Entire courses can be completed online, and this matter must be addressed by the schools.
6) The required state elementary curriculum can be completed in about an hour and a half each day for a typical home schooled student. So what are kids in school doing for the other 6 hours?
7) Often I hear, “Now that he’s out of college, he can figure out what he wants to do”. Why not let him figure that out when he’s 12? Lots of kids know how they want to spend their time, but have a required curriculum that defeats their goals from the very beginning. 16 years of this? Absurd.

The Future of Education

Filed under: Education — burnett @ 9:27 am

originally posted March 25, 2006

� This is the first of many references to the future, if not the present, of education for young people.�
There is no need to keep a kid at a desk with a regulated instructor or instructors for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week.� The list of problems created by this scenario is long and pervasive in our society.�
A school is good for the following:
1)� science labs where materials and physical resources are needed that would be impractical outside of a home or other setting.
2)� sports
3)� art:� again, physical resources, i.e. pottery wheels, painting tools, cleaning supplies, etc.
4)� music:� orchestras, bands, choruses all require a group setting.

more Education

Filed under: Education — burnett @ 9:18 am

originally posted March 26, 2006
1)� Home schooling is only slowly being understood by those outside the home school loop.� One only need glance at a home school newsletter to get the gist of what really happens in their world.� In a way, every child benefits from a blend of home schooling and institutional schooling.� Home school networks are an institution in and of themselves.� And public schools depend on parental involvement, outside tutors, online instruction, etc.� So in the future, which is now, a parent will actually be deciding on the blend of institutional and parental involvement, rather than either/or.�
2)� Item from a home school newsletter:� Genetic Researcher hosts lab on Monday, Jan 5, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. � � Can take 3 students with biology background. � Call 703.555.1212.
Obviously, the so-called home schooled bio student spends a day at NIH or some such thing, observes real science with real scientists, the latest lab equipment, has lunch with scientists, etc. etc.� I’ll take this any day over a high school bio course.� The home school newsletter is full of such field trips and projects.�
3)� It is old news that home schoolers often become accomplished musicians and artists.� Why?� Because they can work without time constraints on their craft in the morning, when they are not exhausted by a day of dealing with 7 different teachers that start � at 7:00 a.m.� � The typical high school student has little if any time, to say nothing of focus, � for the development of skills on an instrument.� And what time there is occurs during late afternoon or evening.4)� A local home schooled 12 yr old documented the construction of the family home:� meetings with the architect, permits, trenches, inspections, concrete, plumbing, electric, framing, paint, finish work.�
5)� What the institutionalized high schooler and the home schooler share is online studying.� Teachers put assignments on line and assignments may be completed and submitted online.� Entire courses can be completed online, and this matter must be addressed by the schools.�

6)� The required state elementary curriculum can be completed in about an hour and a half each day for a typical home schooled student.� So what are kids in school doing for the other 6 hours?

7)� Often I hear, “Now that he’s out of college, he can figure out what he wants to do”.� Why not let him figure that out when he’s 12?� Lots of kids know how they want to spend their time, but have a required curriculum that defeats their goals from the very beginning. � 16 years of this?� Absurd.

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