Karaoke classes strike a chord

By Zhou Huiying and Tian Xuefei in Harbin | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-06 09:46
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Huang Nannan gives a karaoke lesson to students at the Songshan campus of the Harbin University for the Aged in Heilongjiang province. [Photo by Zhou Huiying/China Daily]

Harbin university equips older students with musical, technological skills

A new course teaching senior citizens how to sing karaoke is proving to be a hit at the Songshan campus of the Harbin University for the Aged in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

The university's vocal courses, including bel canto, folk songs and chorus, remain popular, but the new class is kindling renewed passion among elderly students.

"In recent years, we have often seen many elderly people going to KTVs to sing with their family members and friends, so we came up with the idea of starting the course," said Qi Xin, the director of the campus. "Before it started, we carried out a survey of our students and received a warm response."

He said demand was high, with the first two classes of students taking the course fully booked. The first class opened on Oct 30 and the second one on Nov 4, and they each have 42 students aged 48 to 73 who pay 90 yuan ($12.50) for 16 classes.

Teacher Huang Nannan, 39, has taught vocal courses covering different singing styles at the university since 2019.

"For instance, in the course on basic vocal singing, I teach my students basic theory, bel canto, folk and popular songs," she said.

Huang said most of the students in her karaoke course come from her other vocal courses, and they especially want to improve their pop singing skills.

"I give the students 90-minute lessons twice every week and usually choose current popular songs that do not require complex skills to sing, such as the theme songs from the latest movies," she said.

"With great enthusiasm and hard work, my students can become skilled in singing one song after two lessons."

Retired railway worker Liu Jiying, 56, said she had been interested in music since she was a child, but work had not left her much time to pursue hobbies, something she remedied after retiring last year.

She enrolled at the university for the autumn semester last year, attending courses including vocal music, piano and bodybuilding.

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