Born in Indonesia in 1948, Wei Tsin-Fu, who is also know by the name Jonathan Gunawan, was a precociously talented child musician who went on to perform on a number of international stages and is, today, perhaps the only Asian to have successfully establish a leading music academy in Europe.
An educator, who for time taught not only music but physics, chemistry and math, Wei eventually obtained an understanding on the interaction between the brain and the nervous system leading him to a revolutionary method of music education that engages both the right and left brain, the cerebellum, the bone marrow and the nervous system as a means of increasing human potential for thinking and learning.
The results of Wei's technique, now in use by students in over 30 countries worldwide and the cornerstone of his world-renowned Music Academy in Tübingen, Germany, are amazing. Students who practice for just 20-60 minutes a day using Wei's method are able to masterfully play Bach's "Prelude in C-Major" or complex jazz numbers after only 4 months of lessons. Students of tens years of age of younger are able to play from memory piano concertos by Beethoven, Grieg, Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Rachmaninoff after just 3 weeks of practice. One of his Jakarta students – a 10 year old boy – performed Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" from memory after only 2 days practice before a mesmerized crowd at a Bali Concert (see accompanying picture on balidiscovery.com) on Saturday, March 19, 2005 at the Discovery Mall.
No less remarkable, scores of students who have undergone the Wei method of piano study who entered the program at near-failure levels in their academic careers, very often undergo a complete transformation into "straight A" students just months after commencing this revolutionary music education program. According to Wei, by intensifying the physical cooperation between the right and left side of the brain, the right brain responsible for musical cognition benefits from and also supports the left side of the brain responsible for logical thinking.
Those with tortuous memories of the drudgery of force-fed piano lessons as a child take faith: Wei insists that whenever one of his students fails to enjoy and fully involve themselves in the learning process he considers it a failure of the teacher and not the student, causing the school to re-evaluate its teaching approach for that particular pupil. Even more heartening to those of us with latent musical tendencies is the news that Wei's oldest student is an 80 year-old former Minister of State said to be making rapid strides in his desire to master the piano.
Perhaps the best news is that Bali will soon join 15 Academies of Networked Thinking in Music (ANTIM) now in operation on four Continents. The Bali academy will also be offering scholarships to deserving Balinese children in order to spread the benefits of his revolutionary music training technique.
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