• Teaching and Learning


Back in 2017 I had the chance to record 6 romances by a friend. Romances essentially being something that could be sung. Mendelssohn famously composed Songs without words, Lieder ohne worte or Romance sans parole throughout his life, and they still remain essential in his repertoire. These are short pieces that represent different worlds of emotions.

So my recording of the piece was my interpretation of the composers emotion. Blue romance is a short piece, but composed with jazzy harmonies and in nostalgic waves. The phrases represent sighs of longing. After a short climax it has a recap (repeat) of the main theme before it fades away like a sunset.

I stumbled upon this recording, and I have to say that I like it very much (something that is unusual) being a classical musician comes in a masochistic package. Often recordings sound like your voice played from a mobile phone playback; awful...

But this is a recording that until today, gives me joy.

it takes a deep dive into classical music before it starts to give meaning. It’s a long search which resembles a lifelong odyssey. The search of meaning is so contrasting to popular music today that the lyrics in popular music is as much of a riddle as instructions on wikihow. One way of finding meaning is to find creative sources.

So I had no choice but to burden my fellow colleagues Matt Schroeder and Jackie Lin; in the midst of heavy online work, assessing our students, I send them my soundtrack and asked them to interpret it, using their strengths.

Here are the results:


Romance in Blue by Jackie*

"The music makes me think of ocean. But to avoid interpreting this music piece in a literal way, instead of painting a realistic scene, I created a long, horizontal composition with different tones of cobalt blue to preserve the poetic feeling of the music."

*Jackie teaches visual art at Vanke Meisha Arts Academy


Romance in Blue by Matthew Schroeder*


"I was thinking of the use of blue notes a bit like rhyme in the sense that there's the discussion around whether you should lean on the blue note or not when making blues and how folks tend to stay away from rhyme these days. But those are the things that make blue music and poetry so touching sometimes."

*Matthew Schroeder is an English teacher of Vanke Meisha Academy. He is also a published poet who loves China. 



When viewing something abstract, try to make it concrete with your logic or emotions. Put down a text, make a painting or try to learn the melody by singing it from your memory. These are the first and last steps a musician takes in interpretation. Religion tends to make unrealistic events realistic and realistic events unrealistic. Music could lend meaning to your being in both an active or passive state. If you find any time, you could help me dissecting this small piece of music.

What do you hear when you’re listening to Romance in Blue?

For the music piece created by Leo, please click on the following link and download the song, input password: TwJN

Romance in Blue