Studio Classes

Summer 2024 Registration is Now Open!
Classes start on July 15, 2024!
 
Register by June 10 to receive $30 discount off tuition!

This Summer, China Institute offers studio classes in the areas of traditional Chinese art including calligraphy, brush painting, as well as meditation classes including tai chi and qigong.

Our classes are not only designed to improve the tactile experiences and haptic perception of the students, but they also focus on enhancing students’ mental and physical strength that multiple researches have shown to provide long-term health benefits.

“Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health.” – Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School

“Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) has demonstrated a new role in health and therapy. Meanwhile, meditation is an traditional and effective method for coping with stress and staying healthy. This study compared the effectiveness of CCH and meditation as distinctive and parallel stress reduction interventions.” – National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information

All classes at China Institute are conducted and taught by accredited instructors internationally-renowned in their respective field of training. Browse below for detailed class descriptions and instructor bios.

Contact us today for any questions regarding classes! 

Available Courses

Brush Painting
Beginner, Intermediate

China Institute will continue to provide online Chinese Brush Painting via Zoom. The instructor Ms. Sungsook Setton will employ a flexible and creative approach to teach her virtual Brush Painting class, integrating group instruction and individual tutoring.

This class provides training in the fundamentals of traditional brush painting, its principles, techniques, subject matters and styles. Themes covered include landscapes, birds-and-flowers, insects, fish, and others. Students are trained to master brushstrokes and taught the skills of capturing the essence of forms.

  • Instruction and discussion.
  • Communication with instructor for commentary on individual practice.
  • The class will use a combination of communication tools, including Zoom, linked to a camera, recorded videos and email correspondence for individual guidance, etc.
  • The instructor will provide the zoom meeting information, as well as a brief introduction on how to use Zoom.

To watch a demo of the class, click here.

Beginner/Low Intermediate
Friday, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
July 19 – August 16

Intermediate
Wednesday, 2:00 – 4:00 PM
July 17 – August 14

5 sessions (10 hours)
$190 member / $230 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)

Registration

Friday (Beginner/Low Intermediate)
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Instructor: Sungsook Setton
Wednesday (Intermediate)
2:00 - 4:00 PM
Instructor: Sungsook Setton
Chinese Calligraphy (In-Person)

Calligraphy is the art of writing Chinese characters. Students are taught how to use the brush and given an artistic and etymological introduction to China’s system of writing, which is an important key to understanding and appreciating Chinese art, history, and culture. Students learn and practice basic brush strokes and characters in a meditative, relaxed atmosphere. Classes often begin with a demonstration, followed by time for individual attention, allowing students to learn at their own pace. Knowledge of Chinese or brush technique is not necessary. Materials are supplied for the first class only.

Schedule
Friday, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Friday, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
July 19 – August 16
5 sessions (10 hours)
$190 members / $230 non-members
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)
Maximum Number of Students: 7

Registration

Friday
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Instructor: Jim Zhang
Friday
1:30 - 3:30 PM
Instructor: Jim Zhang
Tai Chi (In-Person)

Through a series of gentle movements, Tai Chi can greatly improve circulation, flexibility, and endurance. It is also a great way to relieve stress, tension, and aggravation accumulated from our busy daily life. This course teaches the philosophy and practice of Yang-style Tai Chi : a short form of sixty postures developed by Grandmaster William C.C. Chen. Intermediate students will learn the long form of the Yang style, which develops core strength

Schedule 
Friday, 10:00 – 11:00 AM
July 19 – August 16
5 sessions (5 hours)
$130 members / $170 non-members
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)

Registration

Friday
10:00 - 11:00 AM
Instructor: Alex Hing

Click here to meet our studio class instructors.

Music Classes

Summer 2024 Registration is Now Open!
Classes start on July 15, 2024!
 
Register by June 10 to receive $30 discount off tuition!

Guqin 古琴 (In-Person)

The Guqin, regarded by Chinese as the most elegant of all their musical instruments, produces delicate music from seven strings. With a 3,000-year history, the Guqin has deep roots in Chinese culture, long being associated with Confucius, self-cultivation, scholarship, philosophy, and poetry. Favored by the elite as an elegant pastime, the Guqin was also played as a means to attain calm, nurture virtue, and promote longevity. The subtle tones of the Guqin are realized by sophisticated and elegant methods of fingering. While playing, the interaction of the two hands creates a harmonious choreography, a visual pleasure like a ballet of the fingers.

Recently the Guqin has attained renewed popularity because of its charismatic playing at the opening of the Beijing Olympics and recognition by the United Nations as part of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage. It is featured in the theme music of several popular TV series. In addition to the fingering technique and reading notation, the aesthetic and cultural aspects of the Guqin will be taught.

成人古琴班介绍: 古琴有三千年历史, 是中国音乐史上最古老优雅的乐器。古代文人必修的四艺 “琴棋书画” 就以古琴为首,与哲学、修身、诗歌交相辉映,因此备受重视。古人认为古琴是音乐,同时也是道。所以它除了作为音乐来看待之外,还紧扣着传统的哲学和美学思想。作为中国文人士大夫的精致文化,古琴有一套完整的美学体系和弹奏的审美习惯。历代琴书均对古琴音乐的风格、指触、操缦的环境、琴声的美等作出详尽的描述,形成了古琴独特的审美理想和情调。

自从 2008 年在北京奥运会亮相后,古琴热的旋风随即在各地刮起。几套在中国热播的电视剧《三生三世十里桃 花》、《那年花开月正圆》、《大鱼海棠》 、最近的《陈情令》及张艺谋的电影《影》均以古琴作主题音乐,使其越来越为大众认识和弹奏。 这堂古琴体验课面向不需任何音乐经验的初学者,学习识谱、弹奏基本指法及小曲。完成课程后学生可以弹奏传统曲目《耕薪钓渭》、《秋风词》及流行曲《沧海一 声笑》。 体验课也会讲授古琴的礼仪(焚香、正容、冥想、调息)、历史、美学及其文化内涵。

Click here for student testimonial and here to watch instructor Mingmei Yip explain her philosophy in teaching guqin.

Available Courses

Guqin Beginner II
Beginner

This Beginner II course is a continuation of the Beginner class at China Institute or for anyone who has completed a minimum of 10 hours of basic Guqin lessons. In this 5-session summer program, students will delve deeper into Guqin tablature (notation), refine basic fingerings, and continue to explore the nuances of the instrument’s three tone colors: open strings, pressed tones, and harmonics. Alongside honing foundational skills, students will also be introduced to new pieces. Additionally, this class will offer insights into the rich history, aesthetics, and cultural significance of the Guqin. Students who have previously studied the Guqin at other venues are welcome to join this class.

Schedule
Sunday, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
July 21 – August 18
5 Sessions (7.5 hours)
$315 member / $355 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)
Maximum Number of Students: 6
Instruments will be provided for in-class instruction.

Registration

Sunday
10:00 - 11:30 AM
Instructor: Mingmei Yip
Guqin Intermediate II
Intermediate

This Intermediate II class is a continuation of the Intermediate class at China Institute or for anyone with an overall intermediate proficiency in playing the instrument. In this 5-session summer program, students will advance their skills by learning to interpret more intricate tablatures (notation), refining hand postures for optimal performance, and mastering complex fingerings such as separate, advance and return, back and return, lift up, knock, push out, among others. Alongside mastering new techniques, students will be introduced to a variety of new pieces. Additionally, the class will provide a deeper understanding of the rich history, aesthetics, and cultural significance of the Guqin. Students who have previously studied the Guqin at other venues are welcome to join this class.

Schedule
Sunday, 12:00 – 1:30 PM
July 21 – August 18
5 Sessions (7.5 hours)
$315 member / $355 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)
Maximum Number of Students: 6
Instruments will be provided for in-class instruction.

Registration

Sunday
12:00 - 1:30 PM
Instructor: Mingmei Yip

About the Instructor

Mingmei Yip

Mingmei Yip, PhD in musicology from the University of Paris (Sorbonne) on a full scholarship from the French Government. A master performer on the Qin, she has given lectures and performances at venues such as Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, New York Philharmonic, Columbia University, Oxford University, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Beijing University, the University of Paris, Amsterdam University, Oberlin Conservatory, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the China Institute in New York. Mingmei has served as consultant for Beijing’s Chinese Qin Association 北京中国古琴会, director for Chinese Kun Opera and Guqin Research Association 中国古琴昆剧研究会理事, artistic consultant for New York Cultural Art Association, as well as on the academic board of the Chengdu International Qin Conference.

Also a writer, Mingmei has published fourteen books, with two on the qin. Her latest being her 7th novel The Witch’s Market (Kensington Books) which received a glowing review from the New York Times. She wrote columns for seven major newspapers and has appeared on over 50 TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and the United States.

Mingmei is also accomplished as a painter and calligrapher. A one-person show of her paintings of Guan Yin (the Chinese Goddess of Compassion) and calligraphy was held at the New York Open Center Gallery in SoHo in 2002. Mingmei was lecturer and senior lecturer (associate professor) of music at Chinese University of Hong Kong and Baptist University respectively, and in 2005, an International Institute of Asian Studies fellow in Holland researching on the qin. She has taught qin playing and calligraphy at two major Hong Kong Universities.

Click here to listen to Guqin audio.
The Raven’s Night Cry (乌夜啼), a celebrated Guqin piece from Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) by Mingmei Yip

Pipa 琵琶 (Virtual)

The pipa, or Chinese lute, is an ancient instrument that is both elegant and playful, charming, and adaptable to both traditional and modern sounds. The origins of the pipa date back to the Han dynasty, about 2,000 years ago, when a similar type of stringed instrument was brought into China from Persia via the Silk Road. It has enjoyed wide popularity throughout its long history, especially during the Tang dynasty, and now again in our own time.

The pipa has four strings on a pear-shaped body and fretted neck. It is played by plucking and strumming much like a guitar, but is held upright with the base on the lap and the neck at the player’s shoulder.

Learning the pipa introduces the student to a wealth of tunes and an exciting solo repertoire. Pipa can also be played in Chinese instrument orchestras and ensembles, and has found its way into world music ensembles in recent years.

No musical experience necessary. Instruments are provided for in-class instruction and are available to rent at a small fee.

Click here to watch a clip of pipa performance by Instructor Zhou Yi

Available Courses

Pipa for Beginners (Levels I – VI)
Beginner

Embark on a musical journey with our beginner-friendly pipa course! Dive into the enchanting world of this ancient Chinese instrument as we guide you through fundamental techniques, Chinese notations, and scales. Discover the rich cultural connections of music and master finger techniques to bring melodies to life. Gain historical insights into the pipa’s origins and major schools. Learn fingering techniques such as “tan, tiao, lun” (plucking, tremolo) for the right hand and “tui, la, yin, rou” (various vibratos, pitch changing, and string-bending) for the left hand. By the course’s end, confidently perform traditional gems like “Ancient Tunes of Yingzhou” (瀛洲古调) and “White Snow in Spring” (阳春白雪), alongside captivating melodies inspired by Chinese aesthetic from movies, TV episodes, and video game hits. Singing along is encouraged for those interested. Don’t have a pipa? No worries! Pipa rentals are available for a small fee. Grab your pipa and get ready to create musical magic!

Pipa Beginner I
Sunday, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
July 14 – September 8 (No Class August 4)
8 sessions (16 hours)
$640 member / $680 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)
Maximum Number of Students: 6

Registration

Sunday
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Instructor: Zhou Yi
Pipa for Advanced (Levels I – VIII)
Advanced

This course is designed for students aiming to achieve an advanced skill level. You’ll explore the masterpiece of the pipa’s martial style, “Ambushing from Ten Sides” (十面埋伏). In addition to modern compositions utilizing numbered and staff notations, we’ll delve into the traditional Gongche notation (工尺谱) during class. Upon completing the level, students will have the opportunity to showcase their talents as soloists in formal performance venues.

Pipa Advanced I
Sunday, 3:00 – 5:00 PM
July 14 – September 8 (No Class August 4)
8 sessions (16 hours)
$680 member / $720 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)
Maximum Number of Students: 6

Registration

Sunday
3:00 - 5:00 PM
Instructor: Zhou Yi

About the Instructor

Zhou Yi

Praised for her “breathtaking” meticulous technique and expressiveness by the Washington Post, pipa/qin soloist and educator, Zhou Yi graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China. She is the artistic director of the Ba Ban Chinese Music Society of NY. Zhou Yi’s select performances include: Tan Dunʼs Concerto for Pipa and String Orchestra at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig Germany; Young Peopleʼs Concert with the New York Philharmonic; Bun-Ching Lamʼs Song of the Pipa and Sudden Thunder with the Sinfonieorchester Münster; Zuqiang Wuʼs Sisters of the Grassland with the Ohio Youngstown Symphony Orchestra; guest qin artist with the San Francisco Opera in Bright Shengʼs Dream of the Red Chamber; guest pipa and qin artist with the Santa Fe Opera in Huang Ruoʼs Dr. Sun Yatsen. Zhou Yi’s teaching credits include: Joined Carnegie Hallʼs Music Explorer educational program; a teaching artist with Flushing Council on Culture & Arts in 2019; conducted music workshops in public schools for the China National Traditional Orchestraʼs U.S. tour in 2015; gave lectures at Queens and Brooklyn public libraries; performed musical demonstration for students in grades 1-5 with the Global Language Project; a guest Chinese music instructor in NYU’s East Asian Studies in 1998. Ms. Zhou’s students gained the top scores in a number of musical arts programs and have been awarded in televised talent shows.
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