One Leaf of Time 一叶时间 #5

I spent a little bit of time on my piano this week. Two central thoughts as I go through the practicing process are a) how many routines focus on the separation of concerns – separate hand practicing, slow practice, etudes, breaking down the piece into little snippets all point to isolate the technical/musicality as much as possible, and they are all quite useful tricks in practice. And b) how much context switching costs overhead in your brain – it is often a surprise to me how much harder and more tired hands together practice can be compared with separate hands. I think I would be a much better keyboard player if I have thought about these things in my childhood.

This brings up the question – is it that good an idea to learn piano at a very young age (3-4)? Would the students have the necessary interest, understanding, and stigma to practice wisely, and learn the actual music? Another related thing is there are a lot of “young prodigy” piano videos on Video platforms, and a lot of them are sub-par if you do not account for the age. Those videos would be much more enjoyable if the videos are actually good playing, and I do think there are suitable pieces that can be played well by young kids.

China opens up the three-kid policy this week and it met with some skepticism from the public. It seems like a very interesting footnote in a wave of propaganda pushing people to work harder and not lying down; Douban even censored multiple subforums on the “lying down” philosophies. Moreover, Shenzhen moves to eliminates the legally-bind overtime payment for gig workers. It is very ironic that on one hand, the semi-official media is arguing “China is developing quickly and as long as you work hard enough you can realize your dream”, and in the meantime, it seems that China is moving faster and faster to replenish its cheap labor because “small business cannot survive with a high labor cost”. After forty years and headlines after headlines claiming “The western world is afraid of China”, seems that China still views its huge population as the core advantage.

In other news, Friends Reunion gets censored by China because of the appearance of some problematic artists, including BTS, lady gaga, and Justin Bieber. There is a very good write-up about Asian identity in NYT. Vivo seems to have a backdoor to use its phones as a CDN. Finally, apparently, the Slack LOGO is four ducks sniffing each other’s butt in a daisy chain fashion.

See you next week.


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