Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
China Daily Global / 2021-04 / 15 / Page005

Young blind pianist attuned to achievement

By ZHENG CAIXIONG and LI WENFANG in Guangzhou | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-04-15 00:00

Chen Lin's goal in life is to be a pianist who performs around the world-a world she cannot see.

Chen has been blind since she was born in Shantou, Guangdong province, in 2010, due to a rare congenital condition.

Her mother, Lin Xinyun, said she remembered being shocked at the sight of her daughter's eyes covered at birth by a thin layer of skin.

The hospital examination confirmed Chen's condition-cryptophthalmos-and that she would never see.

But Chen refused let her disability hold her back, Lin said. "My husband and I have never thought of giving up on Chen," she said.

As a small child, Chen developed an unusually good sense of hearing and concentration, abilities that would serve her well when she started learning to play the piano.

Lin sent Chen to learn the electronic keyboard when she was very young. Her skills grew remarkably. Soon, she became something of a prodigy, able to play difficult musical pieces.

When she was 8, she began studying under her current piano teacher, Lu Yunming, and was admitted as a non-diploma student to the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong.

She was the second blind student accepted by Lu.

Now 11, Chen has garnered global acclaim. She won the classical performance award in the finals of the Antonio Vivaldi Art Festival in Vienna, Austria, in 2019. She also placed second in the Sixth Kawai Asia Piano Competition and third in the 11th Hong Kong International Piano Invitation Competition earlier this year.

According to Lu, the Antonio Vivaldi Art Festival organizer immediately invited Chen to participate in entrance examinations to schools in Vienna to further her studies after the girl won the award.

"The international awards I have won have helped enhance my confidence in practicing piano well and realizing my dream," Chen said in an interview.

Chen now practices for about three hours a day, and even longer on weekends.

"Although it is a bit dull to practice new and difficult songs at first, I become very intoxicated with the melodies after I become proficient in playing them," Chen said. "Practice time is the best part of my day."

As a lover of cats and other small animals, Chen said she likes songs that involve them. She said her grandmother often allowed her to play with a cat when she was very young in her hometown, fostering her affection for them.

Lu, her piano teacher, said Chen is a clever girl who studies hard.

Because Chen cannot see written musical scores, Lu taught her to memorize them and listen to recordings. She learns and plays strictly by ear.

"In the beginning, she had a hard time learning. She couldn't remember which keys to touch. But after mastering the rules, she became more and more familiar with the keys and is learning faster and faster," said Lu, who added that she is strict with her.

Lu said Chen has very sensitive ears, which gives her an advantage as she doesn't need to rely on eyesight to read and memorize scores on paper the way typical piano students do.

"It usually takes a lot of time for students to read and remember the scores," Lu said. "There are few Braille scores in China at the moment."

During teaching sessions, Chen places her hands on Lu's hands and feels the movements as she plays. Lu puts her feet on Chen's feet on the pedals.

Lu hopes Chen can become a professional pianist or a singer. A music teacher would also be a desirable choice.

"China and many other countries have nurtured many well-known blind pianists, and Chen also has a very good singing voice," she said.

Lu said she feels a sense of accomplishment when she thinks about the progress Chen has made.

Lin, Chen's mother, attends her piano classes, records the lessons, memorizes musical scores, searches for resources online and corrects mistakes the girl makes while practicing.

Lin has even learned to play some pieces herself. Lu said she was surprised by Lin's ability to learn music and said her help has been indispensable in Chen's development.

Chen is also an outstanding student in her class at the Guangzhou School for the Visually Impaired. Lin said Chen is the class monitor and a member of the class' study committee. She now lives with her mother in the house they have rented near her school in Guangzhou, while her father does business in Shenzhen, Guangdong, to support the family.


Chen Lin practices piano under the guidance of her teacher Lu Yunming in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. ZHENG ERQI/FOR CHINA DAILY



Most Viewed

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349