Pretty and talented guzheng goddess a hit with students in S'pore: "She's my idol"

Submitted by Stomper Bobby

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Even though it has been some time since he graduated, Stomper Bobby still fondly remembers his guzheng instructor from his secondary school days.

Bobby, who graduated from New Town Secondary School in 2017, hopes to recognise and thank his guzheng teacher, Ms Yuan Ting, on Stomp as he never got a proper chance to say goodbye to her.

Praising her talent, personality and looks, Bobby credited his instructor of four years for always helping the school to clinch awards in the biennial Singapore Youth Festival (SYF).

Bobby told Stomp: "New Town Secondary School's Guzheng Ensemble achieved a distinction for SYF 2017 and deep inside my heart, I feel that we were the best among all the schools.

"All the credit and effort goes to our beloved guzheng instructor Ms Yuan, who helped us to achieve great results every single time.

"She is my idol and even all my peers like her very much.

"Not only is she pretty and talented enough to be an actress, she is also cheerful and taught us how the guzheng should really be played."

Stomp got in touch with 28-year-old Ms Yuan to find out more about the remarkable woman who has so clearly left a positive mark in her students' lives.

Born in Hunan, China, Ms Yuan arrived in Singapore eight years ago after completing her education in Beijing and is currently on an Employment Pass.

A full-time guzheng instructor since 2010, she discovered her flair for the instrument at the tender age of five.

Besides New Town, she also teaches at Tampines Primary School, St Hilda's Primary School and Serangoon Junior College on weekdays, in addition to giving private classes on weekends.

Asked why she chose the guzheng, Ms Yuan told Stomp: "It was my mother who helped me to pick the instrument and made me practice it when I was young.

"When I started entering competitions, I would almost always win the first place. My family then let me take the exams to go pro.

"In the beginning, I didn't know even know what a guzheng was and muddled through lessons. Practice was also very dull.

"When I became a teacher, what I hoped for my students was for them to pick up the guzheng in a less boring environment."

Ms Yuan admits that while there are many challenges in her job, the toughest part is keeping students interested in the guzheng and Chinese music even after graduation.

"Regardless of which instrument it might be, the learning process tends to be dull. I know because I have experienced it personally.

"Although I do not have specific methods of encouraging my students, I believe in treating them like friends and talking to them about topics that they are interested in.

"With a closer friendship, they will naturally be less resistant to practising their instruments."

And the happiest part of her job?

Said Ms Yuan: "It's when my students are performing or in a competition on stage. It's a moment of pride.

"I also feel touched when they can't bear to leave during graduation.

"Some students continue to keep in contact with me even after graduating. We have BBQs together, eat out, and they visit me at my house."

Stomper Bobby and his friends have similar sentiments about staying in touch with Ms Yuan.

"There were over 30 of us in the ensemble. Sometimes we have BBQs and she would join us."

Reiterating Ms Yuan's wonderful qualities, Bobby also said she left a deep impression on him as she is not strict like regular academic teachers.

"I am just wondering why there aren't any platforms where we can show our gratitude and appreciation to CCA instructors, as they are like our MOE teachers who put in all their effort to teach and nurture our talents too," he added.

"I didn't have the chance to bid her farewell after graduation as we were busy with our exams after the SYF competition.

"I sincerely hope Stomp can assist me to show my appreciation to Ms Yuan Ting and all CCA instructors in Singapore."

See more images of Ms Yuan in the gallery.

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