It is not a product of popular culture. It stands the test of time no matter the trend. Unfortunately, with a unitary social development and distorted educational ecology, Hong Kong has seen less and less quality musical training. Musicals has hence become a candle in the wind.
I cannot but worry about the future of Hong Kong musical education when the Education Bureau stresses “Life Planning”. After all, Hong Kong is dwarfed by most, if not all, big cities in the world, regarding long-term planning in arts and culture and also creative industries. Even if a student dreams to be a professional musical performer, there is a long uphill battle awaits. Why? You may ask. I will answer with a fact - the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) has ceased organizing professional musical programme for years now. Just how can we nurture the next generation to be a professional musical performer?
This is indeed a vicious cycle. Without professional musical programme, students would give up on becoming a performer, and hence the academies put no resources into it. Let’s not talk about nurturing professional musical performers first; we don’t even stand a chance to teach them as simple as what is musicals. This is exactly why we focus on the essence and value of musicals in our courses. Through different forms of pedagogy, not only the students' interest towards musicals is deepened, but their potential in performing can also be realized. They will learn how to appreciate the substance and value of musicals as an art form as well, thereby broadening their horizons and develop their taste in art.
We believe that effective teaching can be achieved through 1) enlightening the students to think broad and deep; 2) demonstrating in deeds on top of words; 3) taking an easy-to-understand approach with profundity, and 4) providing efficient repetitive training.
Our musical courses outweigh the counterparts in theatre education in the sense that the quality of the final performance is guaranteed. It is our goal to correct the idea of "musicals = expensive production". Many schools have always believed that putting on a musical means a waste in both money and manpower, and short training courses can only give the students a taste of musicals instead of letting them amount to anything.
The truth is - musicals is much more flexible than other kinds of theatre education. An excellent musical performance requires no magnificent backdrop, extravagance costume, nor exaggerating makeup. In fact, there are plenty of musical masterpieces are down-to-earth creations. Thanks to the rich layers brought by the music, a small musical production is good enough to be spectacular. Compared to the experimental theatre productions or those with an abstract plot, the quality of musical production is better guaranteed. From the parents' and the teachers' standpoint, the results of musical production are more appreciable and tangible. Simply put, no matter the students, teachers or parents can get satisfaction out of it.
As a performing art, musicals means much more than merely adding entertaining elements or beautiful songs to the performance. In a musical, feelings and emotions are sublimated and then conveyed to the audience through songs. It's a kind of connection. For children and youth, participating in a musical not only helps them to grow interests in arts, develop a healthy mind, but also allow them to better understand themselves - read the complicated thoughts and emotions deep down. All in all, taking part in musicals is of great benefit to their personal growth.
Mermen Musical School perfectly embodies my philosophy. The importance of musicals should be recognized and valued, and our future generations deserve a better musical education!
Mermen Musical School的課程正正體現了我的理念。音樂劇的價值理應得到重視，下一代亦配得更好的音樂劇教育！