Fang Zhao was still mulling over Wayne's words the next day on his way to the Qi'an Academy of Music.
As a composer, Fang Zhao touched on styles that were rarely used. Whenever people in the music industry talked about Fang Zhao, they would mention his four-piece series, "100-Year Period of Destruction," which had become his trademark style—classical combined with modern. This had given rise to a wave of popularity for symphonic epics due to the perfect blending of traditional and electronic music.
But whether it was his global lecture tour or his symphonic epics, after a few months had passed, he'd gradually been forgotten by people. The pace of life in the New Era was very quick. Other than those in the industry who were meticulously studying this, other people found new things to pay attention to.
Fang Zhao's works had been considered academic and received a lot of praise from professionals in the industry, but they were not "in touch" with people. Xue Jing had told Fang Zhao this before.
"Academic stuff can last a long time or a brief moment. It lasts a long time because of its impact due to what it encompasses: the numerous feelings pertaining to life and the significance of history make it worthy of being investigated. Pulling it apart bit by bit and analyzing it, it deserves to be passed on to future generations to study, but in the academic music circle, it can be considered purely fashionable, and the wave of popularity will only last momentarily, and that is why it can be considered brief."
And what Wayne had told Fang Zhao yesterday, about reducing the proportion of traditional instrumental music and increasing electronic sound effects, that was what the masses in the New Era could more readily accept.
Adopt a more direct method to express?
When Fang Zhao had been producing the "Period of Destruction" series, he had studied some popular and trendy New Era music. Only after that had he blended electronic music together with traditional instrumental music.
All that Wayne had said, Fang Zhao knew, but his understanding was not good enough. And as for such things, Fang Zhao knew that he would not be able to find the answer in schools. Xue Jing had mentioned the difference between academic and liberal. Liberals were under the category of non-academically inclined, and people within the industry liked to term them "laymen." This was more random and miscellaneous yet, at the same time, more in tune and easier to accept by the normal masses.
Fang Zhao had accepted the Qi'an Academy of Music's request to give three classes for their students every week. Today, when the lecture ended, as per normal, he stayed behind for a while to dispel the doubts of his students and help them with any difficulties they encountered.
The reason behind not giving an internet lecture was to make it convenient for teacher and student to communicate and resolve problems.
Although Fang Zhao lacked teaching experience compared to the other teachers, he was popular and the take-up rate for his classes was always high. Why?
One reason was indeed his capability, and not just limited to music composition. Besides being a composer, he was also a manager of a certain department in Silver Wing. In Silver Wing, this position was already considered high. Many people with ten years of working experience might not necessarily climb to such heights. But everyone knew that Fang Zhao's success could not be duplicated. It only existed due to luck and ability coinciding at the same time.
And the other reason for the popularity of this class was that Fang Zhao had only graduated a bit over a year ago and was not much older than the students. He felt approachable and not too distant, and students felt at ease discussing their problems with him. Some wanted to worm their way closer to him. Who knows, if they could maintain good relations, Fang Zhao might be able to help them out.
Therefore, if it was impossible to replicate Fang Zhao's success, they could just cling on to him.
Many students did not address him as "teacher." Instead, they use the term "senior" and felt this term was an easier way to get closer.
Wang Tie had disguised himself as a student and enquired about other students' impressions of Fang Zhao.
"Nice guy, pretty amiable. Although he doesn't say much or laugh, he has a lot of patience. A caring senior indeed."
These were the remarks he got about Fang Zhao from those students. But when he found out, Wang Tie really wanted to tell those students, Amiable my ass! You would be scared shitless if you knew about his other side!
Today, after Fang Zhao's class, a few students did not immediately leave, instead gathering around Fang Zhao to ask questions.
A year four university student asked, "Senior, could you take a look at this score? I keep thinking it ought to be correct, but no matter what adjustments I make, it doesn't seem right. Look, these are the few edited versions, and it sounds wrong. Senior, what do you think should be changed in this part?"
Fang Zhao glanced at the score and said, "Try it one octave lower at this part... lower—that's too much... Right, just like that."
"Eh, its really different now."
When he was done with this, the other at the back promptly squeezed over. Fang Zhao recognized him. This was a year-six student, who would be graduating next year. Recently, he and two other students had formed a band, and they were moonlighting at a certain nightclub. Recently, he had encountered problems during the composition of his graduation piece.
"Senior, listen to this bit. In order to not repeat the front portion, so as to prevent it from becoming stale, I should add an instrumental tune. I have decided not to use electronic music and instead try some forms of traditional instrumental music. However, I am not that versed in traditional instruments and have tried quite a few and asked some people, but I am unable to achieve the result I want." That student pulled a long face and scratched his head. Over the past two days, he had been struggling with this problem and had lost quite a few hairs over it.
"What have you tried yourself?" Fang Zhao asked.
"I tried a lot. Oh, right, these are the ones I have tried, over twenty different traditional instrumental tones," that student said. Actually, he had not tried all the instrumental tones. When he had been recording the sound effects, he had bought all of them straight away.
Fang Zhao noticed the twinkling in his eyes and knew he was not speaking the truth, but he did not point it out. Instead he said, "Play the instrumental tones and listen to them one by one."
The student did as he was told. "Ah? Oh."
"Change to the next. Change again. Change again. Change again... Right, this is it."
"This? I feel it obviously doesn't fit," the student hurriedly said. When he had first bought the instrument source material, he had listened to this, a trumpet note, but had immediately eliminated it after listening once. The tone felt rustic and too acute and totally did not fit the musical style of the piece, which evoked thoughts of a degenerate addict.
"Don't use 'I feel.' Try blending it into your composition. After you have listened to it, come tell me your thoughts," Fang Zhao replied.
"Yes, yes... Uhhh, senior, are we not listening to the other instruments? I can play them for you too. It won't take long. A minute will do!" The student hurriedly played out the other few instrument tones he had saved. He was really not optimistic of Fang Zhao's choice. A trumpet tone was his least liked type.
After playing, the student eagerly asked, "How is it?"
"No chance," Fang Zhao replied.
"...All right, I will go back first and try it out." The student thanked Fang Zhao and helplessly left.
By the time Fang Zhao left the classroom, it was already 6 p.m. Today he had not let Zuo Yu pick him up. Zuo Yu's assignment had been to keep an eye on Wang Tie in the game.
After a simple dinner in the school's cafeteria, Fang Zhao called for a taxi and headed for a nightclub that Wayne had recommended: Space.
"Space" was the name of the nightclub, opened by a great master of electronic music. Here, the primary genre was electronic.
When Fang Zhao arrived, it was only a bit after 7. For people with an enriching nightlife, this was considered very early.
"Is this your first time here, sir? Are you alone? Do you have any requests?" a server asked as he showed Fang Zhao in.
"Just me. I need a suitable place to listen to songs," Fang Zhao replied.
The server stopped in his tracks and eyed Fang Zhao suspiciously. Visiting a nightclub just to listen to songs?
"Fang Zhao noticed the server's reaction. What's wrong?"
"Oh, nothing, sorry. It's just that... if you are only listening to songs, this way, please." The server turned toward another direction and led Fang Zhao over.
From Fang Zhao's age, the server had thought that Fang Zhao would be similar to other youngsters his age. Coming to a place with bustle with excitement, who knew that Fang Zhao would actually just wish to listen to music. Generally, these sorts were those that had fallen out of love, failed in their business, or encountered setbacks, but the person in front of him did not seem to be disappointed or frustrated. Spending so much money at this location just to listen to a few songs, what was he up to?
Fang Zhao did not care about the server's peculiar gaze. His ears caught a song, electronic with a slightly slower tempo than the fast paced electronic music that was fashionable nowadays. The beat was still as strong and there was a portion with singing in the middle. The style was more random, and the singer's low bass-like voice seemed like idle chatter.
Over at the dance hall, under the murky lights, young men and women were moving about, swaying their bodies to the beat. As they brushed past each other, their eyes intertwined and tacit smiles were flashed. The wantonness and flamboyance of youth, brought about an unrestrained extravagance.
Only at this moment did Fang Zhao realize: Such a great generation gap!
However, Fang Zhao was a person who dared to do things. For the sake of producing a musical style that would be accepted by youngsters in the New Era, he was willing to change.
Why not listen to Wayne's suggestions, learn to be more lively, enthusiastic, and flamboyant?
How about some dancing?