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拿到ARCT后不想再弹钢琴
After becoming an accomplished piano player,I want to give it up

每个中国孩子都会一种乐器,这似乎是世人皆晓的真理。身为一名加拿大华裔,我自然也无法免俗。我的父母都是加国移民,我妹妹和我都是从四岁就开始被他们逼着学钢琴。我至今还记得自己当年在钢琴老师的年度演奏会上表演时,才刚刚能够到琴凳;由于我的手太小,我最多只能同时按两个琴键;我在一大群家长面前演奏《玛丽有只小羊羔》时,我的一系列错音让很多人皱起眉头。但在父母逼迫下,我根本没有放弃的权利。

Everyone knows the stereotype. All Chinese kids play an instrument. Growing up as a Chinese Canadian, I’m certainly well acquainted with it. My parents are both immigrants, and they pushed both my sister and I to play piano ever since we were four. I recall playing at my piano teacher’s yearly recitals, barely being able to reach the seat; my hands too small to press down more than two keys at once; performing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ in front of a crowd of parents, all cringing at the flurry of wrong notes. My parents always pushed me to play piano and it was never my choice to stop playing piano.

随着岁月流逝,我积累的琴谱越来越厚,同时我也开始注意到我身边所有的华人朋友也都在不同时期被父母逼着学钢琴。当然,也有些人可能是被逼学小提琴、大提琴乃至架子鼓等其他乐器,但普及度最高的乐器仍非钢琴莫属。可是,中国家长为何如此热衷于钢琴呢?

As the years went by and my piano books mounted, I began noticing that all of my Chinese friends, at one point or another, were pushed to learn piano by their parents. Of course, there are other instruments—Violin, Cello, the occasional drummer; the usual suspects. But piano is by far and wide the most played. But what causes piano fever for Chinese parents? 

据BBC称,亚裔父母之所以会逼着自己的孩子学钢琴,是因为他们自己不曾拥有过这样的机会。我的父母曾亲身经历毛泽东时代的中国文化大革命。由于钢琴被视为贵族生活的明显标志,在文革期间中国有数百万架钢琴被毁于一旦。因此,正如BBC所言,由于许多华裔父母年轻时根本没有机会学习乐器,所以当他们在加拿大站稳脚跟后,他们便开始借助孩子完成自己的梦想。

According to the BBC, Asian parents push their kids to play piano because it’s an opportunity they never had. My parents went through the Cultural Revolution under Mao’s China. During the revolution, millions of pianos were destroyed in China—they were seen as zealous forms of aristocratic life. So, as the BBC claims, Chinese parents never had an opportunity to play an instrument; now that they’re established in Canada, they now live their dreams through their children. 

但在我看来,根本不是这么回事。我认为华裔父母逼迫孩子学乐器的更主要原因一词可蔽之,那就是上大学。众所周知,华裔父母一直致力于确保子女能上名校。而在加拿大,皇家音乐学院(RCM)就为家长和学生提供了一条捷径。由于RCM与安省教育厅有紧密的课程合作,在学生达到足够高的水平得以通过RCM的考级后,就可以与相应的高中学分相抵。

Nonsense. I think there’s a much larger reason why Chinese parents push their kids to play an instrument. One word: University. It’s no secret that Chinese parents are obsessed with making sure their children attend a prestigious academic institution. In Canada, we just so happen to have the Royal Conservatory of Music, or RCM. The RCM works in close conjunction with the Ontario Ministry of Education’s curriculum, as students who reach a high enough level through the RCM’s curriculum can obtain an equivalent of a high school credit. 

因此,移民家长开始一窝蜂地让孩子学钢琴。在华裔家长看来增加高中学分更是无异于掘到金。毕竟,优异的高中成绩就相当于名牌大学的敲门砖。于是,弹钢琴变成了一种追求的信念,孩子们被迫每天练琴,家长们一到周末就陪着孩子去上钢琴班,并乞求RCM之神能保佑他们的孩子顺利通过最近的钢琴考级。

And so immigrant parents jump on the bandwagon; the utterance of a high school credit to Chinese parents is the equivalent to having struck gold. After all, excellence in high school academics equates to attending a good university. Playing piano becomes a religion; kids are forced to practice daily, parents go with their children to the piano teacher on the weekends, and pray to the RCM gods that their child passed their recent piano exam. 

按照我父母的说法,我所有的努力并不是为了从事艺术职业(华裔家长不喜欢子女萌生从事艺术职业的念头),而是为了满足我为来的艺术需求。他们常说“凯文,弹钢琴是一份礼物,你将来会受益无穷!”我敢打赌每个华裔家长都曾向他们的孩子说过同样的话。但是你知道么,在我所有从小开始弹钢琴并完成RCM考级的华人朋友里,如今没有一个人认为弹钢琴是享受。实际上,在我们当中甚至有几个人根本就不愿再碰钢琴。

My parents would propagate that all of my hard work was not for a career in the arts (Chinese parents revolt at the idea their child would ever consider a career in the arts), but instead for my ‘future enjoyment’. “Kevin, playing piano is a gift! You’ll enjoy it in the future!” I’m willing to bet that every Chinese parent has said that to their kids at one point or another. And you know what? Out of all my Chinese friends who played piano from young age and completed their studies with the Royal Conservatory, none of us enjoy playing piano today. In fact, very few of us even bother to touch a piano anymore. 

但是,我的加拿大朋友詹姆斯在同样被逼学钢琴并通过RCM考级后,至今仍在刻苦练琴。在詹姆斯达到RCM10级水平后,他突然对爵士钢琴产生了浓厚的兴趣。由于RCM拒绝将爵士乐作为其核心课程,詹姆斯和他的父亲亦拒绝接受RCM的音乐教学法,选择退出RCM全职学习爵士钢琴。如今,詹姆斯已经获得多项爵士乐演奏奖,并已踏上钢琴演奏之职业生涯。据詹姆斯称,如果他当初没有作出那样的决定,他对音乐的热情早就熄灭了。

But I have one Canadian friend, James, who similarly was pushed to learn piano through the RCM curriculum, but still plays piano religiously. When James reached Level 10 in the Royal Conservatory, he took on a sudden interest in learning jazz piano. Since the Royal Conservatory rejects jazz music as being a core part of the curriculum, James and his father rejected the RCM’s approach to music, instead electing to drop out of the RCM and learn jazz piano fulltime instead. Today, James has received numerous awards for his jazz playing and has made a career out of playing piano. According to James, his passion for music would have ended if it wasn’t for that very decision he made. 

我从来没有机会学过我真正喜欢的音乐。和詹姆斯不同,我是被迫去努力通过RCM的一次次考级。学爵士乐?演奏爵士乐没有任何“奖励”或“好处”。当然,演奏爵士乐也不能抵高中学分。这也意味着我决不会有机会学习爵士钢琴或流行音乐。正是因为弹钢琴变成了索然无味的学分工具,才会令我以及许多像我一样的加拿大华裔孩子对钢琴意兴阑珊。

I never got to practice music that I enjoyed. Unlike James, I was forced to progress through the ranks of the RCM. Jazz? There is no ‘award’ or ‘merit’ for playing jazz. Certainly, there are no high school credits for playing jazz piano. And that meant I was never given the chance to learn jazz piano or popular music. And it’s this relentless academic approach to playing piano that’s sucked the enjoyment out of playing instruments for myself and thousands of Chinese Canadian kids alike. 

就我个人而言,我已经很少再碰钢琴。粗算来,小学、初中和高中的练琴时间加起来超过6000个小时。而在过去四年里,我弹琴的时间可能只有6个小时。我现在一坐到钢琴前,脑海中就会浮现我曾经一弹就是几个小时的枯燥至极的乐曲,以及令人头疼的音阶和琶音。但是,我对RCM没有任何抱怨。通过RCM的培训我吸取到许多宝贵的经验教训,培养了我守纪、努力和专注等品行,这些都是无可辩驳的积极特质。

Personally, I rarely touch a piano anymore. Throughout elementary school, middle school and high school, I practiced over 6000 hours of piano. In the past 4 years, I’ve probably only played 6 hours of piano. When I sit at a piano bench today, all I can think about is the horrendously boring music, the agonizing scales and arpeggios that I played for hours on end. I’m not saying playing piano is a complete waste of time. I also have no gripe with the Royal Conservatory. I’ve learned many great lessons through my RCM training—discipline, hard work, focus, to name a few. No one would argue those aren’t positive traits. 

但是,我的所有朋友以及我自己都不再想碰弹钢,这一点显然令人深感羞愧,更不用说“未来的艺术享受”了。

But it’s a great shame that none of my friends, me included, play piano anymore. So much for ‘future enjoyment’. 
 
 
 

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