I am a world citizen deeply committed to the principle of the oneness of humanity. The diversity of the human race is a delight and a learning laboratory. The infinite variety of faces, points of view and perspectives presents significant challenges to us humans living in the 21st century to find common ground and harmonize.
Besides its intrinsic value as a wholistic natural system of relationships that can be used to express feelings, ideas and discover natural harmonious relations, music can be used to educate and develop the highest sentiments and expressions of people, especially young people in their formative years. Of course, music has been and can also be used for less noble purposes, to express base instincts and incite harmful and hurtful passions. How music has been used in the past and how it can be used for the betterment of the world and the development of the latent capacities of the human soul is the content of a course entitled “The Artist in Society” intended for a specialized high school program for gifted and talented young Chinese musicians described on the “Teaching” page.
The eastern philosopher Confucius taught that music is a manifestation of human virtue, the cornerstone of a well-ordered society and that a good musical education is of great value. The western philosopher Plato wrote in The Republic, “Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” The 20th century philosopher/spiritual leader ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote, “Music is an important means to the education and development of humanity.”
Each human individual is unique and has a unique message to share. How could it be otherwise in a world where every individual snow flake is a unique design? Music can train the noblest aspects of the individual as well as give her/him the skills to express her/his individuality in a positive way that can contribute to the betterment of the world.
In my view a musician is an individual who skillfully uses music to create or re-create harmony and beauty. An artist goes beyond skill and has taken on a moral responsibility to masterfully use her/his art to create or re-create something of enduring meaning and value to society, to show us a new perspective, to challenge old ideas in a non-confrontational way, to call us to higher and nobler goals, and to remind us of our common humanity.
The skills and capacities that a well-structured music education program can develop in its students can be very useful in other contexts. Musicians and artists are trained to think and perceive in wholes, to understand relationships and to work collaboratively. When small groups of individuals of diverse backgrounds and training are empowered to consult, devise and carry out plans to deal with social issues that 21st century humans face, these “habits of mind” cultivated through music training can be very useful in finding and carrying out practical, constructive and efficient solutions.
My mission as I perceive it is to live and act according to my own individual spiritual commitments and to use whatever ever talents and skills I have to contribute towards the betterment of the world and the unification of all its peoples in one human family. Natural affinities have led me to a career of teaching and performing music. I feel I can expand its focus to further these larger goals of contributing to the betterment of the world and the unification of all its peoples. Although I can fulfill this mission in many small ways day by day, my hope is that the culmination of my efforts and musical activities will be the establishment of an international music academy in the People’s Republic of China in which both eastern and western perspectives will be appreciated and harmonized to become an outstanding, world-class learning center for future artist-musicians who will make a meaningful contribution to the advancement of a peaceful, global civilization.