Beyond aesthetics: the ‘alternative’ music lessons Dr Enrico Bertelli brings to Lingnan
Issue No. 130 Oct 2022
Since 20th century aesthetes advocated that art has and should have no function other than being beautiful, art, and music in particular, has evolved beyond its decorative value.
Today, music is not only an art form for enjoyment and appreciation, but a medium that inspires, unites and heals people.
“Teaching non-music major students is a passion of mine as a musician and an educator, because non-specialists approach a new subject with uncorrupted minds,” says Dr Enrico Bertelli, Adjunct Associate Professor of Lingnan, and founder of Conductive Music, who travels around the world teaching music with technology to students of all ages and needs.
Dr Bertelli is well versed in teaching music with technology.
Each discussion with Lingnan students, he explains, raises more perspectives, shapes opinions, and helps everyone to grow. “Our discussions on the future of musical instruments, the connection between art and sustainability, and the power of music to influence wellbeing has allowed many students to blossom.” He was particularly impressed with a student characterising a song’s texture as being like whiskey, “a description that is enough to start a few PhD projects.”
Module in music technology at Hong Kong Christian Service Pui Oi School.
Dr Bertelli also conducted ensemble lessons, launching unexpected provocations at students with different music capabilities and backgrounds. “We used these hours to challenge the ideas of what an ensemble should look or sound like. We introduced graphic notation, improvisation, folk songs, technology and drum circle elements. Over time, even the most conservative of musicians let down their guard and took on the challenge of being creative in an unprecedented way - they all left their comfort zones,” he said.
“Should these lessons help even just one student to raise self-esteem, to take a step out of depression, or to build a new friendship, then we shall deliver them every night,” he added.
Train-the-trainers workshop “Boost Creativity in SEN”.
Dr Bertelli’s work with students goes beyond Lingnan; during his stay, he also took part in the Link Sound Sinfonia, a three year project funded by the AR Charitable Foundation that works with people with physical/mental disabilities/special educational needs, and to establish pedagogy training for student tutors and community musicians.
At the Link Sound Music Tech workshop held on 22/9, Dr Bertelli showed teachers and trainers how to connect people with disabilities (PWD) and special educational needs, and to design a programme training community musicians.
The experience playing with Shum Hang-fu is unforgettable, Dr Bertelli says.
Equally memorable was his collaboration with Shum Hang-fu, who has overcome losing the lower half of his left arm to become a violinist, for the "Canon in D" performance at LUEOC's Awareness Campaign Kick-off Ceremony.
“It was a clear demonstration of how important and effective it is to bring different people together, for a common cause,” Dr Bertelli said. “By simply coming together, and sharing through live performances, we can nurture self-esteem, boost resilience, and play an integral role in the development of future career pathways led by the brightest minds for a sustainable future.”
Dr Bertelli creates a sound installation for Lingnan students and staff to experience in the Black Box Theatre.
To Prof Ip Kim-ho, Professor of Practice and Head of Wong Bing Lai Music and Performing Arts Unit, this collaboration with Dr Bertelli is only the beginning of Lingnan’s promotion of STEAM education and Special Education.
Prof Ip Kim-ho
“Apart from planning ahead for the next collaboration with Dr Bertelli, as well as other initiatives for Link Sound Sinfonia, we are working closely with other departments and units across Lingnan and partners to explore more interdisciplinary projects that impact the communities,” he says.