Musicals has eternal value.

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!

音樂劇(musical)有永恆不滅的價值。

她從非潮流產物,故不為潮流更迭所淘汰。可惜的是,香港社會發展空洞單一,學習生態日益扭曲,致使優質音樂劇訓練也越發稀少,音樂劇也有如風中殘燭。

當現今教育局提倡「生涯規劃」為學習方向,着實令我擔心香港音樂劇教育會逐漸息微。畢竟,在藝術文化及創意產業規劃上,香港對比世界上其他大城市相形見絀。即使有學生立志成為一名職業音樂劇演員,路途殊不易行──連香港演藝學院舞蹈學院的專業音樂劇課程也已停辦多年,叫我們如何培育下一代成為職業音樂劇演員?

這是一個惡性循環。沒有專業的音樂劇課程,於是學生放棄成為音樂劇演員,學校亦因此停辦音樂劇教育。先莫論培育職業音樂劇演員,這樣下去,我們連教育下一代音樂劇是甚麼的機會都欠奉。正因如此,我們的教學方針是先從音樂劇的本質和價值着手,透過不同形式的教學方法,提高學生對音樂劇的興趣,開拓其表演潛能,從而學懂欣賞音樂劇作為一門藝術的內涵和價值,並藉此擴闊學生藝術視野,提升個人品味。

我們深信最有效的教學方式是:1)令學生領悟事物的闊度及深度;2)以身教感染學生,使其由衷愛上學習;3)以簡潔顯淺的教學令學生易於吸收及領會,及4)重覆有效的練習方法。

而我們的音樂劇戲劇訓練比起其他戲劇教育課程的優勝之處在於:演出質素絕對有保證!我們定意要將「音樂劇=製作昂貴」的觀念糾正過來。不少學校一直認為籌備音樂劇演出必須「勞民傷財」、「一闊三大」,開辦短暫的訓練課程又只能讓學生「稍作體驗」,而不能將他們「訓練成才」……

其實音樂劇教育比其他劇場教育更富彈性。一場好的音樂劇演出,不一定要華麗萬分的舞台佈景、色彩繽紛的戲劇服裝、誇張無比的舞台化妝……其實有很多震撼人心的音樂劇目,都是貼近生活的創作。因着音樂帶來的豐富層次,即使是一個小型的音樂劇製作也可以很精彩。相比一些抽象的、實驗性的劇場教育,它的演出成效更有保證。站在老師和家長的立場,其學習成果也更可察、更實在。也就是說,不論是學生、老師還是家長,都可從中得到滿足感。

音樂劇作為一個表演形式,並非單單為演出添加娛樂性或動人樂曲而已,而是將個人情感昇華,化成歌曲演繹出來。對於青少年來說,透過音樂劇他們不單可在繁忙的“生涯規劃”之外,培養良好興趣、發展健康心智,更可深徹地認識自我,了解內心深處的複雜情感和思緒,對其成長和建立有莫大裨益。

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!