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A path to brightness

By Chen Nan | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-08-05 07:50

Dai Bo (seventh from left), a teacher at the Central Conservatory of Music, and his former teacher Sheng Yuan (eighth from left) pose together with their colleagues as well as student performers after concluding a concert held at the Forbidden City Concert Hall last year. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Strange days are afoot as the pandemic has forced people to stay at home. Like many others, Dai Bo, 32, a teacher at the Central Conservatory of Music, managed to work from the confines of his own abode.

He has been giving online music classes to his students. He also focused on his own composition and music research. This has been the experience of many, but tackling and overcoming adversity is what Dai does best. This pandemic was just the latest test of his will.

Dai was diagnosed with glaucoma and underwent his first surgery at just 5 months old. He has undergone many operations and suffered symptoms, such as severe headaches and blurred vision. He couldn't play with other kids as a child due to optic nerve compression and declining eyesight. This created an overwhelming sense of frustration and life at home could be difficult.

It was music that saved him. Dai considered it to be his "salvation".

While other kids in the kindergarten played outside the classroom, Dai's hands would be rippling over the keyboard of an organ. His parents got him his first piano at 6 years old.

"Music makes me relaxed and comfortable. I feel calm and peaceful when playing music," says Dai from Jilin province. "Though my vision worsened, I still wanted to learn to play piano, as it is the way for me to communicate with the world."

At age 8, Dai was playing with Liu Shangkun, a pianist and music educator from Jilin University of Arts. Dai's talent was obvious.

He was enrolled to study at the affiliated middle school of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing at age 13, and four years later, he was enrolled at the conservatory with a major in composition. Two years ago, he obtained his PhD from the university and became a teacher there.

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