Month: October 2014

香港的音樂表演場地

Music Venues in Hong Kong (Part I) 

 

我們這群音樂工作者和音樂老師常常要為自己舉行音樂會和為學生作演奏尋找場地。但是,我發覺要在香港預訂樂廳或只是一個像樣的表演場地尤其困難。

 

首先,這裡顯然沒有足夠的場地讓我們舉行音樂會。我們熟悉的音樂表演場地大部份都是獲香港政府津貼,並由樂及文化事務署(康文署)營運。看看這些大型音樂廳:大會堂有兩個主要場地,分別是劇院和音樂廳。兩處都非常理想,但都太大了(也很昂貴,即使你是以非牟利或慈善團體的身分申請)。大會堂的高座有一個小小的演奏廳,能容納百多名聽眾。私人音樂老師很喜歡在這裡舉行學生音樂會,不同團體也喜歡在這裡舉辦小型講座和音樂比賽的初賽。所以預訂這些場地的競爭會非常激烈,尤其是在旺季(例如假日)。

 

除了大會堂,還有「著名」的文化中心。那裡有專為古典音樂演奏而設的全港最大音樂廳(流行音樂會的話就有香港體育館、亞洲國際博覽館、會議展覽中心等音樂表演場地)。儘管文化中心的音樂廳是全港最大,那裡卻只能容納二千多名聽眾。這些年來,那裡的音響效果在細聽之下是出了名的不堪入耳,原因是受基礎建設的影響。坐在前排兩側某些座位的聽眾會聽到身處音樂廳內可能出現的最糟糕音響效果,這實在讓人驚訝和無奈。

 

地點較方便大家前往的兩個熱門音樂表演場地是西灣河文娛中心和上環文娛中心的音樂廳。兩處雖不及上述其他場地那樣地處中心地帶、設置正規,但有時候這兩個音樂廳也能讓本地藝術團體和社區中的音樂教育中心用作舉行中型音樂演奏會的場地。

 

其他音樂廳大多位於新界和九龍較偏遠的地點,如沙田大會堂、荃灣大會堂和牛頭角文娛中心等的音樂廳。

 

香港科學館和香港太空館的演講廳是我們常用來舉行小型音樂會、比賽和講座的場地。這兩個地方也是由康文署營運,但原本並非為音樂表演而設。意料之內的是,那裡的鋼琴雖然能彈,卻未達用作表演的標準 。

 

除了由康文署管理的場地,還有些不是由政府資助的音樂表演場地,例如香港藝術中心。那裡的agnès b.電影院雖是個不錯的場地,但其設計目的並非為向聽眾提供最滿意的現場演奏音樂體驗,鋼琴的標準等也未能配合 ─ 但這是我想另外詳談的事情(關於音樂表演場地的鋼琴品質 : 其實,我想說的是,上面提述的大部份場地的質素也真是不堪入耳和「不堪下手」的)。另一由藝術中心管理的場地是壽臣劇院,但同樣地,那裡有點遠,也並不適合作單人鋼琴或小型樂團演奏。

 

除了直接由政府部門康樂及文化事務署(康文署)營運的場地,還有各個音樂學院和大學的音樂表演場地,例如香港演藝學院的演奏廳、音樂廳和戲劇院、香港浸會大學的大學會堂、香港中文大學的利希慎音樂廳、香港大學李兆基會議中心的大會堂和香港理工大學賽馬會綜藝館等。由於這些場地是由高等院校的音樂系管理,那裡的鋼琴品質高得多,保養得也較理想。但當然,這些地方大多是院校用於培育自己的音樂和文化人才,所以如果不是和院校合辦音樂會的話,實際上很難預訂到這些場地。

 

要在香港預訂由康文署營運的音樂廳來舉行演奏會,根據官方規定你必須不遲不早預先六個月遞交申請。走運的話,或者能在比官方規定較短的時間內預訂到場地,那是因為有人改變了主意,把場地讓給了你。然後,你就要準備閱讀大量指引和填寫多頁表格。你將要和負責場地預訂的職員在申請期間來來回回地多次接洽。別誤會,他們通常都樂意幫你申請,你遺漏任何細節時他們也會提醒你。只是在一次申請中就要處理很多東西。幸好是如果你每年都預訂同一個場地,就會習慣這種情況了。要記住,預先六個月申請是必須的(即使你偶爾走運)。如果太遲申請,那成功預訂的機會就要比買六合彩中獎的可能更小。而當他們說有空檔讓你預訂場地,就要立刻付款!不要延遲確認,不然你馬上就要失去場地了(相信我,因為我試過)。 要預訂一個設有兩座大鋼琴的音樂廳幾乎是不可能的。最近我一直在找這樣一個音樂廳,卻無功而還。最後我找到一個音樂廳,那裡有很不錯的鋼琴,卻不能在週末時使用。我不禁問,他們難道不明白音樂會通常都是在週末舉行的嗎?因為聽眾在週末才有空出席。還是他們只是不想把音樂廳開放給公眾使用?我當然希望負責推廣文化、表演藝術和教育的政府部門和機構能做些甚麼來解決這個問題。我認為我們需要一些社區會堂,那裡設有保養得宜的大鋼琴,方便定期舉行小型音樂活動。畢竟本地音樂家需要更多表演機會,音樂老師也要為學生提供累積經驗和建立自信的機會。這是其中一個主要的方式,來宣揚音樂教育的重要性,以及在任何社會中提高大眾對這種重要性的意識。

 

 

黃穎妍

 

 

*此外還有些場地,例如社區會堂和教堂,但我就不在此談論了。而如果我有機會再談西九龍海濱長廊的情況,文章的標題就少不了「商業」和「藝術在哪裡」的關鍵詞了……

 

Y-Square Theatre Technique Video Recording Session 2014

 

我最近租用了一個音樂廳來為接下來的技巧精進課程課本拍攝影片。當我發現那裡有一座漂亮的Steinway鋼琴時,實在驚喜雀躍!

 

 

Teresa Wong School of Music
www.twsom.com

Music Education that Inspires®

 

 

Online and Consultation Lessons



Due to popular demand, I am now officially offering online lessons to anyone anywhere in the world who cannot reach me locally. I already have students around Asia region, regarding topics on ABRSM / Trinity diploma exams. Look forward to connecting to more of you!


I am also re-launching my consultation lessons – they are basically those I have been conducting in “piano clinic“. You can come in for one-off session in which I address any issues you have regarding technical issue, musical expression, structural analysis, historical musical knowledge and understanding, performance practice, or anything concerning your preparation for diploma level exams (viva voce and quick study, program notes) and interview/audition for local and overseas summer schools/music institutes/colleges/universities. It would be useful for teachers who have questions over their teaching and playing technique as well. Interested parties please contact me through twsomusic@gmail.com.


Thank you for your attention.


Teresa Wong


Technique Videos Recording Sessions
Technique Videos Recording Sessions


Workshop on Diploma Exams 2014
Workshop on Diploma Exams 2014

Is the man who is tall happy?


The other night I went to see a movie called “Is the man who is tall happy?” . It is basically an interview between the director Michel Gondry and Noam Chomsky. When I read about this movie, I was very excited. Noam Chomsky has to be one of the very few great minds of the century whom I most admire, among Krishnamurti, Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim (his “Music quickens time” is marvelous, and I shall talk about it in another post).


When I was studying in the States over a decade ago, I incidentally read about the Israeli-Palestinian issue and was somehow deeply engrossed in it. Then I got to read about Said and perhaps Chomsky around the same time (maybe even Barenboim on this issue as well, Krishnamurti is a much recent read and is entirely unrelated to this topic albeit very important in my reading list). I do not want to venture too far into their philosophy and the political issue here, since after all this site is about music and piano. But I found some very inspiring ideas in the movie /documentary (which I watched with utmost attention like I never had with anything I’ve seen in recent years- I have ventured far away from anything “deep” and serious” that requires much brain power after exhausting work) that I would like to share with you here and they are very much related to how we play and practice etc.


One point Chomsky mentioned in the movie is that we have to question about everything and don’t just take it for granted. For example, why does the ball always bounce down the stairs? Can it not bounce up? You might find that absurd, “of course it goes down! It has always been like this like forever!” But his point is that if we take everything as is and do not question the things for ganted, how do all the inventions and discoveries come from, like the light bulb and the gravity ? Certainly Edison and Newton must have questioned themselves and the phenomenon thousands of times before the invention and discovery came through. And for sure they did not know if and when they were going to succeed at all. All they did were keep trying and and failing and changing/modifying the ways they were trying to get better results and achieve their goals.


What I want to point out here is, we don’t know which one method is going to work (best) until we start trying in different ways and modifying them along the way. It is exactly the trial and error procedure that brings us to success. So, try to play and practice in a different way every single day. “Be creative!”, like Chomsky said. If (even) science needs creativity, how can playing the piano not? As a matter of fact, every great thing in life needs creativity. Otherwise it just gets so boring and unimaginative that there will be not creation of anything new and amazing in life, whether it be the next new iPhone or another “Let It Go” song. Don’t you always find the children are best at creating something new and funny, that makes you laugh so hard and feel so touched sometimes? (when they don’t make you cry that is). Let’s not give ourselves a fixed boundary to the way we think about and play the music, be always flowing and be present at the piano. Question a lot about the way you play and practice, I mean, a lot, all the time. Don’t try to play the music the same way over and over again. Try many ways as much as you can. Focus on what you are doing and listen to what and how you are playing, and pay attention to the tone the piano is giving back to you, then adjust accordingly. Adjust in the most minute way in terms of the movement, the dynamics, the timing, the articulation and the phrasing etc. You have to work with her but not fight with her. Honest and open communication is the key – to express yourself freely with and at the piano. Create the sound you want. You are the one who can do everything and nothing. (Of course you also need adequate knowledge and skills to do so, but that is not the point I am trying to make here – you can read elsewhere about that on this site). You are the one to decide what you can achieve at the piano. But do not force it, one thing at a time. Be open-minded and at the same time forget about yourself. You are not important in this equation here. Music is. Focus on how to make the desired sound to present the beautiful music to the fullest.


Music is the last element in this whole universe that is so pure and beautiful (taking away the human factor). Cherish your moment in your playing. Be grateful for the opportunity to have piano in your life. Keep that treasure close to your heart and keep it well and alive. Open your heart mind and body to accept the endless possibilities in playing the piano “right”. If you truly and sincerely love music with all the heart like I do (at least while you are at it), you would know what I mean, even just a small fraction of it.


Now I must go read Barenboim’s book…


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Keep Going and Keep Playing!



Dear Students,


Some of you might be feeling down and having a little rough time lately. Honestly, me too. Sometimes I also feel I cannot do this. I feel exhausted and lost, and that I cannot continue to do what I have been working on. But when I think about you, when I get messages from all over the world asking for help and guidance, when there are new students keep coming to me, and existing students reminding me of my good work, I know I am doing the right thing all along and I must keep going. So, I also ask you to do this for me. Please keep going.


Believe in your own ability and the work you have been doing. When you look back last year or a couple years, what do you see? Do you see that you have come far along from where you were? I sure do, for myself and you as well. (If you have not, you should really face yourself and ask yourself why.) I see I have walked and progressed far from where I was last year. And let me tell you this: I did not know I would come to this point last year, when I was confused with what I had to do! So do not waste your time in tormenting yourself, blaming yourself with what you have not done or achieved. Instead, put your precious time and effort to persist and work harder. Focus on how to sound better, improve each movement in a more precise manner and project each note with a more refined tone quality. Above all, open up your mind, your (inner) ears, your (inner) eyes, your body and your soul to accept the new sound, the new possibility to achieve what the next new height, which as a matter of course is unknown to both you and me, because you have not reached there yet! But with hard work and perseverance, we can do this together. Only if you want it. Only if you truly want it.

Now go get some practice done, whether at the piano, at the computer (listening), the book/score (reading /analyzing), your mind (thinking/changing the way you think) or your heart (believing/changing the way you believe in yourself/this thing called the purpose of playing the piano).


You are much better than you think you are. You can do much more than you think you can.


Your Teacher,

Teresa Wong


My student Douglas and Me
My student Douglas and Me

Music Venues in Hong Kong (Part II)

Music Venues in Hong Kong (Part I)


Other than the ones run directly under the government body LCSD (Leisure and Cultural Services Department), there are the music venues at the various music institutions and universities as well, such as the ones at Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts (Recital Hall, Concert Hall, Theatre), Hong Kong Baptist University (Academic Hall), Chinese University of Hong Kong (Lee Hysan Concert Hall), Hong Kong University (Grand Hall at the Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre), and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Jockey Club Auditorium) etc to name a few. As these venues are maintained by the music departments of the higher institutions, the pianos there are of much higher qualities and better maintained. However, most of them, as a matter of course, serve as the breeding grounds for their own institutes’ musical and cultural growth, and therefore, are proven to be difficult in booking them for concert purpose if not organized with the schools themselves.

To book a concert hall (those under LCSD) for performance here in Hong Kong, officially you have to apply six months in advance, no sooner or later. If you are lucky, you might get a spare slot in less than the official booking period of time when someone changes his/her mind and frees a spot up for you. Then, embrace yourself to face reading a lot of instructions and filling in pages of forms. There will be numerous times of going back and forth of the application procedures between you and the staff responsible for the venue. Don’t get me wrong – usually they are nice enough to help you with the application and remind you if you miss any details – it’s just the fact that there are a lot to handle for one application. Good thing is if you do that every single year with the same venue, you will get used to it. Just be reminded, six months is a must (even you might just get lucky sometimes). If you apply for it too late, I suggest you try queue for a mark six lottery ticket instead. And if they ever grant you a time slot to book their venue, pay at once! Do not ever delay the confirmation, or else you will lose it in no time. (Believe me, because I have been there)


To book a hall with two grand pianos is officially proven to be almost impossible. Recently I have been looking for a hall for that purpose but to no avail. Finally I found a hall with really nice pianos, however it is not available for the weekend. My question is: don’t they understand that concerts usually occur during the weekends because that is the time that the audience is free to attend them? Or is it just that they do not want to open their hall to the public? I surely hope that the government body and organizations responsible for promoting cultural and performing arts performance and education would do something about it. I believe that we need some community halls with decently maintained grand pianos for small-scale music events organized on a more regular basis. After all, local musicians need more opportunities to perform, and music teachers to provide for students chances to gain experience and build confidence. This is one of the most important ways to promote the importance of music education and increase the awareness of it among the general public in any society.



Teresa Wong


*There are some more halls – for example community halls and churches – but I shall not continue to discuss them in this article. And if I were to talk further about the phenomenon of the West Kowloon Promenade to say the least, that would be under another topic title with keywords “business” and “where is the art” …

I recently booked the hall for a video recording session for my upcoming technique transformation course book, and I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that they had a beautiful Steinway there!
I recently booked the hall for a video recording session for my upcoming technique transformation course book, and I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that they had a beautiful Steinway there!

Music Venues in Hong Kong (Part I)

香港的音樂表演場地

We as musicians and teachers are always looking for venues to organize concerts for ourselves and for students to perform in. However, I find booking a concert hall or simply a decent performance venue in Hong Kong particularly difficult.

To begin with, there are apparently not enough venues for us to organize concerts. All the music venues we are familiar with are under the subsidy of the Hong Kong government run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). Look at the big halls that we have here: City Hall has two main venues, the Grand Theatre and the Concert Hall. These halls are great but they are in general too big (and expensive even when you apply as a non-profit /charity organization). Its “High Block” building has a small Recital Hall that holds a little over 100 audience. It is popular among private teachers who holds student concerts, and organizations that presents smaller-scale lecture talks and preliminary round of music competitions. Thus the competition for booking the venue especially for the high season (festive holidays for example) can be fierce.

Other than the City Hall, we have the (in)famous Cultural Centre. It has the largest concert hall in Hong Kong for classical music purpose (there are music performance venues such as the Hong Kong Coliseum, the AsiaWorld-Arena, the Convention Centre etc for popular music concerts). To call it the largest in Hong Kong, it surprisingly only holds an audience of a little over 2000. The acoustics is notoriously under scrutiny over the years due to its infrastructure that, surprisingly and unfortunately, some seats at the two sides of the front rows provides the worst listening experience the audience could ever have in the hall.

A couple popular music venues at more convenient locations are the halls at the Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre and Sheung Wan Civic Centre. They are not as central in terms of locations and formal as the other ones mentioned above, however but they sometimes serve the purpose of having a medium scale music performance organized by the local arts groups and music education centers in the community.

The other concert halls are mostly located in the more remote areas in the New Territories and Kowloon peninsula, for example, the concert halls at the Shatin Town Hall, Tsuen Wan Town Hall, and Ngau Tau Kok Town Hall etc, to mention a few.

There are a couple odd venues we use frequently for small-scale concerts, competitions and lecture talks that are also run by the LCSD but are not originally for music performance purpose. These are the lecture halls at the Hong Kong Science Museum and the Hong Kong Space Museum. And legitimately enough, the pianos there are not maintained to the standard of a performance level albeit functional.

Other than those managed by the LCSD, there are music venues that are not under the subsidy of the government. For instance, there is Hong Kong Arts Centre : Agnès. b Theatre is quite a nice venue but it is not designed to provide the audience the most satisfying live music experience, with the standard of the piano etc- but that is another story I would like to explore further on (about the quality of pianos in music venues). Another venue managed by the Arts Center is the Shouson Theatre, but again it is a bit remote and not suitable for solo piano or small ensemble performance, to say the least.

Music Venues in Hong Kong (Part II)

Student Performance October 2014

In the midst of chaos

In the midst of chaos


In the midst of chaos we had a piano concert.

In the midst of chaos we had our first piano pedagogy class.

In the midst of chaos we embraced what truly mattered to us.

And I thank you all for performing and being there with us tonight. It was wonderful in many ways albeit some minor problems here and there. But life is full of trial and error, and we should focus on the wonderful and precious moments that we shared, only knowing that we can do better next time.

Most heartfelt and sincerely,


Teresa Wong


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內在旋律線:鍵外之音

內在旋律線:鍵外之音 (Inner Voices : The Lines Between And Beyond)


大部分學生即使不只是專注於主要旋律線,也只會著眼於右手要彈奏的樂曲內容。他們忽視了左手的情況、低音音區,甚至低音線。而且很可能連內在旋律線也顧不上。

內在旋律線為甚麼這樣重要?因為它們組成了樂曲的必要元素。當我們忽視樂曲中的一部分,就不能充分表現它的內容。以拼圖為例,一幅50塊的拼圖只拼合了30塊,我們看到的會是甚麼呢?當然只是整幅圖畫的一部分,儘管是很大的部分。另一個例子是填充題。還記得小時候學習英文文法時那些填上詞語來完成句子的練習嗎?內在旋律線就是那些不見了的字。I _ _ going to _ _ _ mus_ _ m on _ _ _ day.(有時甚至是不見了的字母。)它們只是方程式的一部分,來幫助表演者和聽眾從整體上理解一篇樂曲。

要把內在聲音更圓滿地展現,就要從三個主要方面著手。


第一,用心觀看。

理解內在聲音的結構,看它們各自如何發展演進,又怎樣互相連接交流。

你不只是閱讀和觀看音在樂譜及鍵盤上的位置。

要真正明白它們在某處出現的原因。


第二,用心聆聽。

彈奏時跟隨旋律線的發展。留意每個音,把兩個音之間的空間連接起來。

要合時按下對的琴鍵,靠的不只是聆聽。

而是要用心傾聽音符在某處出現的原因。


第三,用正確的技巧展現聲音。

用心理解和聆聽後,是時候彈奏了。你要在同一時間單手彈出多過一個音時,就要用手掌來彈。要彈出一個和弦,就要感受把音往內向掌心輕輕抓住的感覺。不要用手掌按著琴鍵。準確一點說,就是不要用手掌和手指之間的關節按著琴鍵。

要用心細察雙手做出的每個動作。

專注於樂曲中的每個細節。注意手指、手掌、手腕、手肘、手臂、上身和後腰的每個動作,以及腳的重量轉移。


先聆聽內在的聲音,再把它們恰當、準確、優美地展現出來。



黃穎妍


附註:用心留意要怎樣把樂曲彈對,並彈得優美,而不是想著怎樣避免彈錯和彈得不好。

Piano Fun Class 小班鋼琴課程

Piano Fun!


Do you want your kids to try their hands at the piano in a fun comfortable small class settings ? Here’s the chance now!
你想你的小朋友在舒適的小班環境中探索鋼琴學習的樂趣嗎?


Our school director Miss Teresa Wong will conduct this class.
黃穎妍老師會親自教授這課程。


Send your enquiries to twsomusic@gmail.com.
如有任何查詢,請電郵至twsomusic@gmail.com.


Brief Course Content:


3-5 students (suitable for ages 4-6)


ENJOY the fun of music making with other kids.


LEARN independently and co-dependently.


SING in pitch and solfége and develop sense of how to identify and make beautiful melodic tone.


Establish a sense of RHYTHM and Pulse. With the assistance of DRUMS!


Exploring on the PIANO. Play simple songs. Get to know basic piano techniques and start to build a foundation.


And most importantly ,
Grow LOVE for a lifetime of music making and enjoyment !



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For further information on schedule and fee, visit here: http://www.twsom.com/#!piano-fun-class/cna4