A wonderful story about Don’s recent trip to China.

I established my Foundation (The Australian Children’s Music Foundation) in 2002 when I discovered music education was disappearing from the Australian school education system. I know personally how much music has had a positive influence in my life. I felt it was important that something must be done to provide a music education to as many children as possible. Worldwide research proves the many benefits and effects of music. Music is the only activity that uses the entire brain.

I passionately believe that no child should be deprived of the inspirational value of music and the benefits that music undoubtedly provides. Music brings great joy and inspires creativity, imagination and self expression. Music has significant educational, social and intellectual benefits.

I had the honour of being invited to perform at the Poly Real Estate Gala in Beijing in April and also visit some of their music programs in Beijing and Wuhan.

It was a wonderful experience.

Beijing certainly stimulates the senses as there are so many people, all going places on different forms of transport. We visited ‘WeDo’, an organisation that Poly supports that offers music tuition to talented children. The facilities were most impressive and it quickly became clear how valued music education is in China.

The Gala was held in a beautiful building and I had the pleasure of meeting Zhang Liang from Poly prior to the performance. It was wonderful to see how he shared my passion for music education and agreed that our two organisations should discuss ways to work together in the future. I performed at the Gala and it was a great success. I met many interesting people after the performance. Even though language may have been a bit of a barrier, the power of music brought us together.

We left Beijing and flew to Wuhan where Poly have a number of music and art programs for children. We visited Hele Kindergarten, where 400 children go daily and engage in a range of learning activities. I met some of the children and we all sang songs together. This for me, was a true highlight as I really enjoyed seeing their faces light up when the music began. To have the opportunity to perform with these children was magical as it once again demonstrated the way music brings joy and happiness. Music is truly the universal language.

From here we visited the Poly Hele Youth Palace, a community organisation that offers music, arts, dance and martial arts tuition. It was a very vibrant place that had many different activities happening and it was clear that the community embraced it warmly. I was intrigued to sit and watch a 4yro girl have a lesson on the Guzheng, a traditional Chinese string instrument. The teacher gave a demonstration and showed how beautiful this instrument sounds when played proficiently.

Our guides in Wuhan ended our stay with the most unforgettable show called ‘The Han Show’. I have never seen anything like it in the world. 96 artists from many countries all performing acrobatics, dance and high diving into an 8m pool in front of stage that miraculously disappeared in minutes. The show is held in a purpose built theatre that is state-of-the-art with lighting and hydraulics that move the audience around during the performance which makes the whole experience totally immersive. It was mindblowing.

I left China feeling like I had met many new friends. The genuine warmth and willingness to share their culture was truly memorable. I am very excited by the opportunity of a future partnership with Poly and look forward to visiting again soon.