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Musician versus masseur

Updated: 2016-08-26 08:47
(China Daily)

Musician versus masseur

Guo practices the ocarina before the contest. [Photo/China Daily]


Zhang attributed Guo's success to his "perseverance". "He is not that talented musically. When he arrived, he had almost no musical knowledge, and couldn't even sing a children's song. But he is studious. He fell behind at the beginning, but he is catching up," she said.

Every afternoon, Monday through Thursday, Guo has two music classes, and he often practices with other children until 9 pm, she added.

Wang, Guo's mother, said he also practices for at least two hours a day at weekends.

Zhang said that although Guo initially fell behind children from urban backgrounds, he is now a class monitor, and at exam time he is always in the top three of the 14 students in his class.

Guo has also developed a range of after-school activities, including a game where colored blocks can be stuck together to form objects. "I made a sword based on what I once saw on TV," he said, gesturing to show how big the sword was.

Although Guo has made great steps in his recovery, he is haunted by a fear of being alone. "After he has used the toilet, he runs out quickly. I once asked him why he was so hurried. He told me he was scared," Wang said.

One of the factors behind Guo's improvement is Zhang's stubborn nature. "I was thinking about one question: Why should blind people only end up as masseurs? The masseurs the school trains barely meet market demand, so why should kids who love music become masseurs? Why can't they challenge their destinies?" said Zhang, who gave up a well-paid post at a regular school in 2011 and volunteered to teach at the blind school in Wuhan. "Music is an audio art, and the blind have an advantage."

Before Zhang joined the school, there was only one music teacher for the 205 students. However, the teacher was also blind, and could only teach the students to sing.

Although Wuhan City School for the Blind, the only public school for blind children in Hubei, is in the vanguard in arts education in China, it still lacks teachers. "I want to do a lot, but always feel there isn't enough time, so I'm unable to do all the things I want to do," Zhang said.

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