One could also succeed even if one joins halfway! Despite not being a musical major, CCU alumni Li Yongxiang has not only gained recognition in the Asia-Pacific and World Music Festivals, he also performed with Belgian guitarist Jacques Stotzem, all with his passion and hard work for harmonica. After graduation, Li Yongxiang returned to his alma mater to work, often using his leisure time to perform with guitarists and pianists in school. Recently, he even put up his videos of performing online, hoping to share the joy of music with more people.
Although his parents learned guitar and harmonica, Li Yongxiang did not play music in his childhood. "I took advantage of my mother's absence and blew her harmonica, but there were only a few nasty notes, so I did not continue." Instead, only after entering the Department of Electrical Engineering at National Chung Cheng University did Li Yongxiang want to play music. The seniors of the Harmonica Club told him that harmonica is unlike guitar that is likely to be performed, and even the performance is poor, others are not comfortable of borrowing the instrument because of hygiene problems. "I thought it made sense, so I immediately joined the club," Li Yongxiang said with a smile.
Li Yongxiang has never learned harmonica, so in addition to practicing hard and inquiring seniors of the club, he also participated in the National Harmonica Camp in winter and summer vacations. He even used listening to CD to practice catching the tune. In recent years he participated in Taipei International Jazz Camp, which gathered jazz enthusiasts from around the world, and world-class musicians teaching music theory and techniques. "Although no one in the camp blew harmonica, I could learn what music is." For Li Yongxiang, learning music itself is a part of mastering the harmonica's skills.
Recall the first time at the age of 26 to compete in the World Harmonica Festival in German with the Harmonica Association , Li Yongxiang said that he had never competed after learning harmonica; initially he only wanted the experience of participating and to learn from it, he never thought of ranking first at competing for the first time. He even got seventh place in the harmonica solo. Several people frequently gave Li Yongxiang thumbs up when they saw him. Later, in 2002 and 2004 respectively, he got second place and first place of the harmonica solo.
Moreover, harmonica shortened the distance between Li Yongxiang and his idol. He talked about the process of acquainting his idol, the Belgian international fingerstyle guitarist Jacques Stotzem, when Stotzem came to Asia for tour performance. After Li Yongxiang heard his show, he immediately took advantage of break time to practice harmonica, and even deliberately went to the end of the line for signatures, only to perform for his idol. Li Yongxiang did not expect Jacques Stotzem to stop him just after he blew a few notes. Stotzem picked up his guitar and they started playing together, and the two became friends. Even at Jacques Stotzem's 2003 concert in Taiwan, Li Yongxiang was invited to perform with him. "I did not expect such a day, and I'm really happy!" As he recalled, Li Yongxiang still seemed quite intoxicated.
When talking about why he did not go for a harmonica related job, Yongxiang only laughed and said: "It is enough for me to have a job to feed myself and to keep my hobby at the same time." He recently collaborated with the guitarists and pianists in school in his spare time, and also paid attention to his own record, therefore he regularly puts up his harmonica performance online to let people enjoy. Li Yongxiang took himself as an example to emphasize that it doesn't matter if one is not a musical major; the most important thing is to hold passion and interest, and to persevere in learning. "It is important to know what oneself lacks, and it will be okay if one finds ways to fill the gaps."