In our daily rounds of Shunyi, we encounter lots of people who help us and do things for us. Some we recognize, still others we may even know by name. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to know a little more about the people in our neighborhood?
Jess’ wispy frame belies her immense lung power. She has a lifelong love affair with performing. As a child growing up in her native Shanghai, Jess would sing and dance for everyone around her and enjoyed touching people’s hearts with her singing.
Not one to settle, Jess improved her craft by listening to different singers and studying their styles. She used their performances as a starting point but developed her own way of style. Her family eventually decided to enrol her in piano lessons; although she played well, Jess always thought she could do more. She kept in touch with her childhood piano teacher, who continues to give her advice.
When she was younger, Jess’ talent attracted the attention the Communist Party. She was invited to join their singing and dancing troupe as the star performer. She traveled extensively in China with other artists to perform at Party events and entertain military troops stationed across the country. They would don the appropriate uniform, depending on whether the show was meant for the army, the navy, or the marines. Later on, there were a few TV appearances as well.
Jess’ years in the public eye are now over. She decided to settle down in Shunyi with her husband and two boys, now aged 3 and 5. But because she could never fully turn her back on her love of music, Jess decided to take on a new role as voice teacher and coach. Jess now works with both children and adults at Claire’s Music Studio in Europlaza.
Each hour-long lesson is broken up into three parts: the first 20 minutes are used to warm up, and the next two parts (20 minutes each) focus on the learning of two songs. Jess is a demanding coach because she believes that her students are always capable of doing more. Along with lessons on technique, breathing, and posture, Jess also works on building confidence. She believes that anybody with a musical ear and a good voice should not be shy about sharing these talents.
She peppers her lessons with singing to get across what she wants from students. Jess constantly reminds her students to incorporate emotion into their delivery. She maintains that the best way to sing is to make your audience feel like you are simply talking to them or telling them a story.
Over the last few years, Jess has taken center stage once more, this time sharing the limelight with her students in school recitals. These duets are technically superior but more importantly, they are performances that demonstrate the soul of a true performer.
Claire’s Music Studio
Suite L507, Europlaza, 99 Yuxiang Lu, Tianzhu Zhen, Shunyi District (8046 1368)
Photo by Dana Cosio-Mercado
Dana is the beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Beijing in 2011 (via Europe) with her husband, two sons and Rusty the dog. She enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new food. In her free time, she can be found exploring the city and driving along the mountain roads of Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu.