Session Three: Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy

From the ten students enrolled, nine attended in session 1 and seven came to session 2 yesterday; the numbers attending are dwindling.  That has always been the pattern.  People discover how difficult it can be,  materials too expensive and difficult to source,   They go away on holidays, they had to babysit, they have other appointments, they are going to the races.  Perhaps if I charge like my teacher at $70 per lesson, in advance with no refund, they may think twice about missing a class.

For me, my commitment is to teach the course in eight weeks, regardless of attendance.  Unless I am faced with an empty classroom, the lessons will go on.  Eight weeks is short for the goal I’ve set for the student but we’ll strive on regardless.  Yesterday most students still had trouble achieving the first stroke: the horizontal.  They have yet to gain control of the brush: to press and lift it at the appropriate speed at different places.

I remember the days when I was learning to drive.  My instructor took me to the high street and made me change all four gears between the lights.  As soon as the light turned green I put the car in first gear, accelerate, change to second, speed up, change, speed up, change then break and slow, change, slow, change, slow, change, then slow to a stop at the next light and put the car into neutral.  I did this all the way from one end of town to the other and had it down to a fine art.  My instructor was a former racing car driver so his method was unorthodox but I had my license after ten lessons.  Now I need to take my students home in eight, and two had lapsed.  Six weeks.

So in Session Three I will take the students to the high street and take them all the way to see how they will perform.  That is, they will practice all strokes necessary for writing 和平 in class and I’ll fine tune their techniques as we go.  That ought to put some of them in shock and perhaps make them drop the class.  When the going gets tough, the tough gets going – its survival for the fittest.

It is not as unreasonable as it sounds.  The students have had two weeks to grapple with the brush techniques of pressing and lifting.  The various strokes will require no more than the changing of direction.  In the car analogy,  you  need only turn the wheel and point the vehicle at different directions after you’ve learnt to accelerate, decelerate and change gears, right?  In this case, the vehicle is the brush.

It will be a stress test and we will see where the weaknesses are.  This is a composite class, though I’d asked MOSAIC to enrol beginners only.  In any case students will progress at different speed in different ways.  That’s life.

About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
This entry was posted in Diary, Memoir and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Session Three: Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy

  1. taphian says:

    the students would be stupid if they didn’t want to learn this wonderful art of Chinese writing, Mary. Very beautiful. Hope you are fine, regards Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck with attendance Mary. I’m sure you won’t need it for the teaching

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jan Schaper says:

    Sounds like the students are in for a challenging and transforming ride!

    Liked by 1 person

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