音乐让生活变得有意义 ——专访英国知名音乐人、NSO国际青少年乐团指挥 Gary Sanderson
2019年8月,全球时尚服装品牌优衣库在其位于上海淮海路的全球最大旗舰店举办了“源自功能的美学——穿行生活 优享无限”2019秋冬新品发布会。在现场，优衣库特别邀请了NSO国际青少年交响乐团旗下NSO 箐英室内乐团，为本次发布会揭开序幕。
发布会现场，《中国广告》记者独家采访了英国知名音乐人、NSO国际青少年乐团指挥/作曲/音乐剧编剧/音乐总监 Gary Sanderson，这位充满热情，幽默风趣的天才音乐人，为我们分享了他对音乐和生活的理解。
Gary Sanderson毕业于英国皇家音乐学院作曲和指挥专业。其原创作品在英国不断获奖。他与BBC英国广播电视公司和苏格兰皇家歌剧院进行了大量深度合作，并在全球著名的宝丽金唱片公司任职数年。曾多次为英国女王演奏，除了音乐，他非常喜爱孩子，并于上世纪90年代末决定参与扶持音乐教育事业，先后在中东、东南亚担任国际学校音乐总监。受邀来到中国后，Gary Sanderson负责YCIS耀中教育集团中国内地与香港地区，美国的音乐项目。同时，他活跃在多个专业交响乐团，担任客座指挥，比如上海交响乐团，伦敦交响乐团，OKP等。每一位乐团的孩子都深深爱着他，因为他让孩子们真正爱上音乐。
China Advertising : We love music because it makes every ordinary moment meaningful. I remember what the ancient Greeks said about the true function of music was very interesting. They said that music and astronomy were like two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was the study of visible objects that existed in the external world forever, while music was the study of hidden emotions in the inner world. What’s you take on this?
GS:Well, we did the first performances in a tour of a new musical. In the musical there is a line in the script which says, “Scientists keep people alive, artists make being alive worth it”. There isn’t so much point in being alive if you don’t enjoy it, so hopefully music is one of the things that helps people enjoy life, quite simple really isn’t it? It has many different functions for different people, but I don’t think about it too deeply, I just do it. Scientists and doctors keep people alive, artists, musicians, painters, fashion designers, it’s all productive isn’t it? They actually make being alive enjoyable.
China Advertising : Why did you choose Take Fivefor this project? My teacher told me we can always turn to music for comfort.
GS:Music has many functions. People listen to, or make, or play music for many different reasons. Why did I choose Take Five? Because the brief that I got was that they wanted classical music, but as well as classical music I though it would be a good idea to add some classical jazz, which brings some variation. Take Fiveis very high-quality music and it suits the environment we’re in, so hopefully people will enjoy it.
GS:音乐有很多功能。人们出于不同的原因听、创作和表演音乐。为什么会选择Take Five？ 我想在今天演出中除了古典音乐之外再加一些经典爵士乐，呈现一些变化，多元化。Take Five是品质极高的经典爵士音乐，它也很适合在我们这场发布会的穿行生活， 优享无限的环境中演绎，我希望大家喜欢。
China Advertising : How do you convey that through your teaching?
GS:If we are talking about teaching in general, I worked for quite a lot of years as a classroom teacher about ten years ago, and then full-time as I did before, and as a composer and conductor mainly now. But in my teaching, I have always tried to open kids ears to as many different musical styles as possible, and to get them to understand the value of music in society, and to try to operate on a level which is accessible to everybody. That means that every child should get the opportunity to play or sing or hear the sort of music that everybody eventually hears given the opportunity. Get them to enjoy it as much as they can, and from that, some will naturally move up in ability or interest, or for some other reason, want to reach a higher level, so I always try to provide that opportunity. It’s great to be able to offer the same thing to everybody, and at the end of the day, some people are more able than others. That’s why in orchestras we have Violin 1, Violin 2, Violin 3, we can’t all play Violin 1, that’s life, people are not all equal. I think importantly, as long as everyone is given the opportunity to experience what’s available, then I think we should also try to push the kids who are able. All of those kids you’ve heard today, they come from the second group, they come from the group of kids who have a talent. They are willing and able, and with the support of the parents, we can push them to higher levels which is nice. It’s nice to see kids reaching for something, it’s not perfect, but it’s not far off. Hopefully, of that second group of those who excel technically, a certain percentage of those will then pursue music as a living. Many won’t, but for those who don’t at least it can form a good hobby for the rest of their lives. My friends are all doctors and lawyers, serious people, not like me, but they are all great musicians and they all played together with me in the school orchestra, the county orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Britain. Five of those that played alongside me are from the same school, and four are doctors and one is a lawyer, but they all play now and still enjoy it. You don’t have to be a brilliant talent to enjoy it! I was moving house in Bahrain once, and all the guys who were helping me move were Filipinos. They were nice guys, and one of them with the piano on his back asked me, “What do you do?” I told him I write and do this and that, then I asked if he was a musician. He said yes. I asked him, “What do you play?”, he said “nothing”. I said, “What do you write?”, he said “nothing”. “So, what do you do?”, he said, “I’m a very good listener”, which was a great answer, because he understood he was offered the opportunity to do those things. That’s what kids should be exposed to, so they understand and appreciate music. So we have music on different levels, but with everyone being offered the initial opportunity to get involved with music.
China Advertising : In everyone life we’ve had some person or teachers throughout our journey. What kind of influence did they make on you? What’s your relationship like with them? Are you also inspired by your own teachers in terms of music education? Do you have any innovative methods?
GS:The person who influenced me more than anyone else was my school music teacher. I didn’t start any music until I was 12, so these kids have got a head start on me, some of them are terrific players by the time they get to school. I went to an ordinary good government school in England and we sang a few songs and hit a few tambourines and I thought nothing of it. Then around the time of my 12thbirthday which for me was at the beginning of what we call Secondary School, Year 7, the music teacher said “I’m going to put on an LP” (12 inch black record), and it was Mozart. I’d never heard any classical music before, and I remember sitting absolutely stunned by this music. I listened for a while, and it was a totally different sound. A few days later the same teacher asked if anyone would like to learn a musical instrument, we should ask our parents to see what we could do. When I went home my mum asked what happened at school, and I told her what he’d said. My mum loved the violin, so she said why don’t you try that? This guy on his lunchbreak would line 20 or sometimes more kids up in a row, and they would get two minutes each. You play that, you play this! I didn’t get a private lesson until after I’d passed Grade 8. That meant we learned and we got to teach. What was it about it that inspired me? It opened my ears. I don’t know what it is. Some people can take children and quickly make them very, very good, but a lot of great musicians can’t communicate. You also get great teachers who are not very good musicians. You get some terrific teachers in Primary Schools, who are really good, but don’t have the musical ability themselves to raise the kids’ level. Sometimes you get people who have both those abilities, who are good at music, but are able to take kids or amateurs and just raise their level. That’s what my music teachers do.
China Advertising : As an outstanding British musician, you graduated from composition and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where you won a record number of major prizes. You worked as a composer/ arranger/ conductor in London for nine years, working closely with BBC Television and Radio and the Scottish Opera, you also spent several years in the employment of Polygram Records. You are well-known on the London music scene and performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on several occasions. How do you understand music and what role does it play in your life?
GS:That’s a good question. I spend most of my time making music and I’m quite happy doing that. The only other hobby I have is football, and I’m a good player but I wasn’t tall enough. That’s about it! I never get sick of music… What role does it have in my life? It dominates my life, not just because I have to do it or need to do it, it’s because I want to do it. For me there is never enough time to actually do it. There’s never a time when I think I’m tired or sick of it, or there is something I’d rather do. I’ve never been in that position, so I guess I’m quite lucky like that. If I was ever in a situation where I thought I didn’t have very long to live, I would say to myself then I have to spend the rest of my life actually producing some decent music, that’s what I’d do. A couple of people have said that I am talented, and I like to think that if that is the case, if I was born that way, then I should give back by helping other people. If there’s something that I can do which gives people pleasure, and gives me pleasure, that’s great. I like to achieve things, I don’t like to be well-known, and I don’t want to stand in the middle of the stage and have everyone look at me. I’d like to have success and enjoy it privately. To be able to say I did this and that, and achieved this, and that for me is enough. If I can bring pleasure to other people that’s important, so music has a very important role in my life.
China Advertising : NSO (New Shanghai Orchestra), a non-profit organization was created in the Autumn of 2005, a long time ago. Why did you choose to come to China teaching to kids?
GS:I worked in London for many years as a conductor and composer. However, when I got to around 30 or 31, I didn’t enjoy the music scene I was working in as much, since it can be so competitive. Even though I can be tough myself if necessary, I don’t like people who are willing to stamp on each other to get a job, I don’t like that. Unfortunately, in the arts and in music, there is a lot of that. I’d say there is more of that in the West than we see, people are quite aggressive, and I didn’t want to be part of that scene. I thought maybe I could continue writing music, and I’ve always like kids. So, I went back to university for a year to do my teaching qualifications. After that I worked in the Middle East as a teacher for four years, and then in Thailand for two years. When I was there, I got a phone call from someone I knew who told me about a very big education foundation based in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong who were looking for a director of music. So, I contacted them and went for an interview in Hong Kong, and then started working for them. However, I did think about it before I came. That was 20 years ago, a long time, around 1999. I looked at it and China at that time was a very strong rising nation, and there were all sorts of doors opening. People were becoming able to do things through having a bit more wealth and enjoying their lives. I remember two years before that talking to a very clever history teacher who is a good friend of mine while we were having a drink. He asked if I knew who the next big global power would be in the next century, and I said who? He said China, and he was right! He was saying all the doors are opening, and Shanghai is a big thriving city, and if you ever get a chance to work there then take it! There are a lot of good things about Shanghai. People are not afraid to take a risk. I’m from England, and you say to people in England “Why don’t we try this?”, and they say, “It may go wrong”. Never mind that, they’d probably rather sit and watch television. If you do that in China, there are always people who say “OK, let’s try!”, so the Chinese are still much more adventurous and willing to try new ideas than some other parts of the world. Many of the things that I’ve done here I couldn’t do in England, because of that resistance to new ideas. They’ve had it too good for too long, but I think Chinese people very often value opportunities. So that was why I came here, and I’ve had a good time. It hasn’t always been easy but that’s life. You can’t expect everything to work perfectly, there are always worries, but it was the right decision to make.
China Advertising : You like kids, and all kids like you. Due to your talent and passion in music. Because of you, kids start to love music from the bottom of their hearts. What’s your way of communicating with kids? How do you get them to enjoy the learning process?
GS:One thing that I always try to do is: never treat kids as babies. I see some people get on their hands and knees to talk to kids, which I understand, but I never do that. I think you should talk to kids like they are an intelligent person, and then they will listen to you more and have a bit more respect for you. I don’t mean people who get down on their hands and knees to talk to kids don’t love kids too. The way I do it, I just say to kids “this is what we’re going to play”, or “this is why we’re going to study this thing”, and “these are the reasons why, do you understand what you need the audience to do”? I think if you treat kids as capable intelligent human beings then they are more likely to respond to you. I always discuss the value of music with kids because I think it’s important. In this part of the world, you get very good players who can do a lot technically, but they can’t always fully understand the music they are playing. I think it’s important, especially when they are young, to get this point across. It’s not just playing the music but understanding what it is. Saying things like when was it written, what style is it, why do you think it was written, what is the value of music in our lives? And we discuss these questions. We have several music camps, we have one coming up soon, and we look at what the value of music is in today’s society, when people are spending a lot of time on academic things. We are talking about kids, and one of the differences with kids is they have to study and go to school, and the difficulty is finding the balance in their lives between being able to do something that they enjoy, while keeping focused. The second part of my answer to your question is that it’s about trying to understand the whole child and their situation, rather than just saying “this kid is coming to my rehearsal or studio and we’re just going to do this!”. I think if you take a little bit of time to look at the child’s background, and the parents, and why they want them to do it, for lots of different reasons, we’re more likely to be able to put together something that’s pleasing to everyone. So, one, treat them like a little human being, two, assess their individual situation rather than treating them all the same, and third, actually giving kids a varied musical diet. We don’t just do Mozart and Beethoven, we do jazz, and we do Chinese music, and we do musicals. I think if you give kids different kinds of music, they are more likely to enjoy it, and then they will respond to what you want them to do.
Mother( from Member of nso): I understand that all the kids really love you. you have many students that follow you from school to school. I don’t know how you work that magic. Maybe it’s because you treat the children with respect. My daughter has many teachers, but his is the only one where she wants to have class every time, and not every teacher or musician can do that. Some people have the magic to empower people or kids to enjoy music, but not every musician has that, it’s really special.
China Advertising : The way people live is constantly changing. How do you view the lifestyle of young people today? How do you define youth?
GS:It’s changing isn’t it, and it’s changing because of technology. Basically, technology replaces people in many cases. What that means is to get good jobs, kids are studying harder and harder and fighting for places in good universities, simply because there are not that many good jobs around. That means my “market share” of the kid’s attention decreases. Whereas twenty years ago a child might be willing to spend 50% of his or her time in music or in swimming or art or something like that, now it’s only about 5% or 10%, and it will continue to change as technology gains ground and there are less and less positions of employment generally available. That’s not quite the same all over the world, but I can see it happening. What that means is I have to take a realistic viewpoint about the role that music can take in a child’s life as they get older, especially as they come under exam pressure. There has to be some kind of agreement about how much time the parents or children are willing to spend on their music. And it’s their decision, all I can do is be one of the people that makes it possible if they do make the decision to be involved in music, but it is a very important question. The musical I just finished is called “OBSESSED!, and it’s obsessed with the mid-term tests, it’s obsessed with education, and its actually about modern day China, about Shanghai. It’s about kids who become involved in a situation where they are under increasing pressure to produce good exam results, which I can understand. It’s about what can go wrong, and about people trying to find a happy medium where they can balance both things. Balance is a very difficult thing, I probably spend too much time working in the wrong way, and not getting a balance in life and what I should be doing. So, if I can’t get it right, I shouldn’t expect other people to, but it’s an interesting concept. What is the value of the arts in people’s lives? I never ever insist that you must do this. I never say to any child “You must practise two hours every day”. All I can do is look at the situation and see what’s the best way forward and make things possible. But it’s an interesting point, where do the Arts feature in everybody’s lives these days? And it comes back to the original thing of scientists and technology people keeping people alive, but artists making it worth being alive.
China Advertising : I read article about Dr Carl Bernack, Dean of Music at Boston University in the USA. He said: “Music is not a luxury, not something we consume when our wallets are full. Music is not entertainment, music is a basic need for human survival. It is one of the ways to make human life meaningful.” What’s your take on this?
GS: I think the last bit is right, it makes human life meaningful. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a basic need of survival, but I would say the Arts, in whatever form, are a basic need of survival. For some it might be the visual arts, for some it may be literature, or architecture, or fashion design. This is art for me, not science. I’m sure art is involved, but to me it’s art, you look at it and think, “How do I measure it as a piece of art?” So, I would agree with that, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that music is a basic need, but I would say the Arts, in one form or another are. I think what we did today fits in with what this big company is doing, so we are very happy to do it, it gives it some more meaning.
China Advertising :thank s for you .You can help us to reclaim the art of music in people’s lives. It is art that everyone can enjoy, and we’ve had wonderful feedback today about the music. Everybody was so impressed by the children’s work. The most important thing is that they are children, they are real people, but also good performers, good musician.
GS: Everybody else uses recorded music, but we never, ever do that. I think it’s very good that UNIQLO have made this a live music performance.
一本书，一件艺术创作品、一栋建筑，一首美好的乐曲，都能产生一份灵动力，丰富我们的精神与心灵。正如Gary Sanderson 所说，希望音乐能帮人们享受生活，音乐让生活变得有意义！