Fine-tuning his musical prospects

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-12 08:23
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A talented young band from Maoxian county, Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province, named Esinaba, or "azalea flower" in the Qiang language, is one of the top 10 winners of the sixth Midi Kids Band Competition. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Childhood passion for guitar paying dividends for young man with noteworthy talent, Chen Nan reports.

Zhao Zhiqiang's parents used to worry that their son would turn into a "bad boy" as he was, in their eyes, hanging out in the wrong company.

Growing up in Qitai county in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Zhao was raised by his father, but also spent time with his mother. He didn't like going to school, and spent a lot of time hanging out with youths who were much older than him.

"I didn't know what I would become until one of the kids I played with showed me his guitar," recalls Zhao. "When he played the instrument, I became fascinated. I loved the sound and started to listen to rock music he shared with me."

At 13, Zhao taught himself the guitar and formed his own band, which caused further paternal concern.

However, rather than becoming a "bad boy", Zhao devoted himself to music, playing guitar for hours every day, and tried to prove himself to his parents by studying hard in school so that he could continue playing. Though he had a regular job in his hometown as a driver, of which his parents approved, Zhao still loved playing his guitar.

In 2011, after discussing his idea with his parents, Zhao quit his job and opened a store selling musical instruments, such as keyboards, guitars and drums. He also trained youngsters to play instruments and helped them form their own bands.

One of the teenage bands that Zhao helped form, named Honghai'er, or Red Boy, stood out in a national music competition, and they won an award at the Midi Kids Band Competition, which concluded on Feb 20 in Beijing.

Now in its sixth year, the competition, which was launched and organized by the Beijing Midi Art Communication Co, saw 75 bands compete from May last year to February.

These were then divided into two groups: children aged under 12 and children aged from 13 to 17, according to the competition's organizer, Ren Guobin.

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