The Grand Pause
By Amos Wong (Hong Kong)
A couple of weeks ago, as part of launching our network of performing arts students across Europe, the Student Working Group hosted a Zoom call inviting students from across the world to share their experiences ‘Life as a Musician in Lockdown’.
Amos Wong, of Hong Kong, was one of the students that we met. His experiences of studying are so profound due to the political situation and then the COVID-19 pandemic, that we asked him to share his musings with you all.
We will be hosting more Zoom calls on Wednesday 6th May at 16:00 CET, and Thursday 7th May at 16:00 CET, entitled ‘Consequences of Lockdown: Entering Back into Creative and Professional Life’.
If you would like the meeting link, please fill out the survey at the bottom of the page. We look forward to seeing you there!
It is an unusual year here in Hong Kong. As a third year undergraduate student at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA), the first semester was put to a halt due to widespread protests, while the second semester never started due to the spread of the coronavirus locally in Hong Kong since January 2020.
At first it seemed like a few more weeks of ‘holiday’, but things quickly went south with the hoarding of masks, toilet paper and rice. Fear instilled the city as it was reminiscent of the SARS outbreak back in 2003, and soon it was clear to people that the situation is much worse than SARS. The vibrant city finally reached its Grand Pause in late January with the government announcing the closure of schools and work from home arrangements.
“For Performing Arts there is always an element of ‘being there’, hearing the soundwaves produced in front of you, having a unique atmosphere that the virtual world cannot fully replicate and replace yet”
Our school reacted swiftly and resorted to online teaching means as it was the second consecutive term affected. Within weeks, we were accustomed to using Zoom or Skype for online classes. It served well as a temporary solution and we could catch up with our curriculum.
As a music student majoring in Composition and Electronic Music, I feel very grateful that most my courses could be done online. Though, some courses such as conducting and rehearsals could not continue as there are latency and audio quality issues for most conferencing applications on the market now. It is worth noting that for Performing Arts there is always an element of ‘being there’, hearing the soundwaves produced in front of you, having a unique atmosphere that the virtual world cannot fully replicate and replace yet.
Amidst such restrictions, I have learnt that the life during lockdown provoked creativity inside each of us around the globe. I saw Facebook posts flooding in of musicians supporting each other by subscribing to YouTube channels, multi-track video of musicians playing and videos of people playing their instruments on the balcony. I also took part by making a short piano roll video with the Piano playing and forming the words ‘WASH HANDS’.
As Musicians we might often have our heads stuck deep down in some scores or seeking new sounds as a Composer. Though, we must remember that Music and the Arts are the beautiful things people turn to in times of crisis, and it acts as a huge encouragement to each other to overcome despair. That truly aligns with our goals – to connect with people with Music.
It is easy to feel lost and even depressed with the events happening around the world. People are losing their jobs, their income or even their businesses. Take the initiative to check out how your friends and family are doing, don’t let the lockdown lock up our friendships with each other. We are all in this together, and soon we can see each other again.
Amos Wong lok-hang
Amos is a 22-year old Composer born and raised in Hong Kong. He is the founder and Music Director of XTRAMENTAL, a non-profit Musical Theatre group. He is currently studying Composition and Electronic Music at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Keep in touch with Amos
Next Zoom Meeting
The Student Working Group will be hosting more Zoom discussions on:
Wednesday 6th May at 16:00 CET, and Thursday 7th May at 16:00 CET.
The working title of the discussion is:
Consequences of Lockdown: Entering Back into Creative and Professional Life
If you would like the meeting link, please fill out the following survey. We look forward to seeing you there!
Edited by Mimi Harmer