Successful thanks to Music Office

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 May, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 May, 1993, 12:00am

WHEN I was nine I joined the Hongkong Music Office, where for seven years I studied Chinese percussion.

During this time, I performed in countless concerts and musical demonstrations both locally and in other countries and completed my grade-VIII exam. Then I moved on to study in the UK.

This Easter, I returned to Hongkong for a vacation. During this time, I met up with my old musical colleagues and was very disturbed to learn of plans for the closure of the Music Office. The Music Office has always been the best place in Hongkong for children to learn music, particularly those whose families cannot afford private tutors. Students at the Music Office also benefit from the chance to play in top quality orchestras, which is, of course, extremely important for anyone learning an instrument. Orchestras also provide many young people with a social life they might not otherwise have.

For years it has been acknowledged by educationalists that music can play a very important part in a child's growth. For instance, in 1991 I arrived at Cheltenham College in England straight from Hongkong with no friends and without a strong command of the language. Therefore I found communication with other students extremely difficult.

Fortunately, I had learned a musical instrument, therefore I could join the college orchestra and wind band, where I was able to communicate in a musical way. After a year, I was asked to play in the council orchestra - Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra, which is one of the best youth orchestras in the UK. As soon as I joined, I met many new friends, and now my life is very full and interesting. When I play with them in concerts, many people are impressed, because I am the only Chinese person in these orchestras. In this way I can represent my race and show something different to the people of England.

I often wonder what my life would be like if there had been no Music Office when I was young.

WILSON KWONG Cheltenham Gloucester, UK