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Q & A with Band Director Jeff King about China trip


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Over the summer, band director Jeff King worked with students in China teaching them to play instruments. This was part of a promotion of his book. (Submitted photos)

Last year in July, band director Mr. King was asked to go to China to promote the book he wrote called Foundations for Superior Performance co-written by Mr. Richard Williams.

Q: Why did you go to China last summer?
A: “Last December I went to the Midwest Orchestra and Band International Clinic in Chicago and I was asked by the owner of the company that published my book—they told me and informed me that the book was going to be translated into Chinese and they asked me if I would be amenable or would be agreeable to go to China to present clinics to band directors…”

Q: What is the book mainly about?
A: “The book [Foundations for Superior Performance] is a warm up and technique book that is currently being used across the country—United States, Canada, Australia, and it has already been translated into Japanese and now it is translated in Chinese. ”

Q: What was your inspiration to write the book?
A: “The inspiration for the book came about when I taught at Byrd Middle School with Mr. Richard Williams who co-wrote the book with me and we had a bunch of handouts and exercises that we wanted our students to play and we eventually turned it into a book.”

Q: What kind of things did you do in China?
A: “Most days I was working were I would present clinics from anywhere from third grade all the way through high school… I would work with them and show band directors and students how to effectively rehearse music. Music for the Chinese—this American band music is kind of a new thing and it’s a different thing to them just like Chinese music would be to us.”

Q: Was it hard to teach them since they speak a different language?
A: “ I found that the language barrier was challenging; this was the first time I’ve done a clinic in a non-English speaking country; however, I had an interpreter with me the entire time…But many times I found myself just giving body gestures or singing phrases instead of trying to put it into words. It was a lot easier to communicate with music just as music’s sake rather than trying to put music into words.”

Q: What was your favorite part of your experience in China?
A: “It was all such a unique experience because their culture is so different than ours. Food—if we think we eat Chinese food here, we don’t because it’s nothing like that at all. Besides just the sights of some of the places I went like the Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square…days on days I was the only American around and I kind of made me feel far away from my home here, but it also just put things in perspective…We’re just people on earth and they are just on the other side of the earth and we’re here.”

Q: What did you learn from the experience?
A: “Music binds us together. Musically we had a lot in common.”

See more photos of Mr. King in China

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