My name is Belinda Yan and I am 13 years old. I am in the 8th grade and I became interested when my parents brought me to a street fair in San Francisco when I was 5 years old. We were walking around when we came across this beautiful instrument called the guzheng. It was not only beautiful but its strong resonance was just amazing. At the young age, I decided I really wanted to play this incredible instrument and started when I was 5 and a half. I started performing at the age of 6 in front of small groups of audiences and soon I was performing in libraries, senior centers and concerts. I have lessons every Saturday and each week I find myself always learning something new from my Teacher, Mrs. Liu Wei-Shan. She always tells me that I have to be serious and dedicated also to always try again if I donít succeed the first time around. Mrs. Liu also says that this skill does not only apply to learning the guzheng but also to life.
One time when I was first starting to learn the guzheng, nobody was in the house except for me and Teacher. I was practicing and Teacher told me something but I didnít quite hear it. I stopped practicing and the house became extremely quiet so I went to go look for Teacher. I looked in every room and began panicking wondering where she was. The only thoughts running through my mind were where did she go? Did she leave me? It was incredibly scary so I started bawling and Teacher came running up the stairs and hugged me. At that exact moment, I felt loved and everything wasnít so scary anymore because my Teacher was there. That was the most remembered lesson I ever had and to this day I still remember it.
I am very dedicated to playing the guzheng but I also have other hobbies like playing volleyball. I am the team captain and I have been playing for around 3 years. My hopes are to continue playing volleyball as a second hobby to keep fit. My position is setter and my best record in a game is serving 24 aces out of 25 points. One of my favorite pieces is Great Ocean by Liu Wei-Shan and someday I hope I will be able to play it as good as my Teacher. I got first place with my group at the CCTV American Regional Competition and also got third for my solo piece Celebrating the Lantern Festival. I have also received many awards from school principals to state governors and I plan on bringing the art of guzheng with me wherever I go. As my Teacher had said, ďThis is the way of the guzheng and the way of life!Ē