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21 Year Old’s Rare Music Brings Peace

Posted to MichiganNow.org on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

INTRO: The presidential candidates debated foreign policy Monday night. Today is the 67th anniversary of the United Nations.  To mark the occasions,  professors at Michigan State University brought in people from around the world to highlight the need for sustaining natural resources and understanding people from other countries. Michigan Now’s Chris McCarus reports.

Engineers and bio chemists took up most of the conference agenda. But a 21 year old student named Xu Shutsing stole the show.

“I’m studying psychology here at Michigan State University. This is my second year. I love it here. I don’t want to go back even though my visa is past its expiration date. I’m kind of confused about it.”

Shutsing performed at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. About 60 people had gathered to celebrate the United Nations. She stood 5 foot ten in heels and a black satin dress. But she sat on a chair to perform.

“Chinese have three tones. Ah, ah, ah, ah. So Chu is third tone. Xu Shutsing is my name.”

McCarus tried to pronounce her name.

“Yeah you got it,” she said.

Her instrument is called a Lio Tching. It’s about a foot and half long. It’s about the size of a mandolin. It has 4 strings but 29 frets. This gives the Lio Tching a big range of notes.

Shutsing has played the Lio Tching since she was a five year old in Shanghai where she started and finished art school.

“It’s just played on the stage not on the street. In history at the beginning it was used to accompany someone singing opera. We have many kinds of opera. It can be played.  I was the head of the Shanghai Student Orchestra. But Shanghai has 5 orchestras. We are one. I am the head. We play just for festivals.”

Music travels through time and space just like food. Shutsing says the liotching is a lot like…

“Guitar. I can play guitar actually. Violin is also connected to guitar because it also has 4 strings. Guitar is pretty close.”

And how about the connection between Shutsing’s music and psychology?

“Why I want to study psychology is because some of my friends as well as myself, we have heavy pressure on our shoulder during senior year in high school.  At that time I always have a headache. But once I’m playing it the headache is all gone. It’s kind of magic. That is true. Once I play it the headache is gone and anything uncomfortable is gone. Maybe later on I can combine psychology therapy with music therapy.”

The formula works on other people too. Everyone in this room listening to 21 year old Shu Shutsing had a smile on their face.

One of the listeners was Dr. Nury Bauzan de Senes. She’s the Consul General of Uruguay in Chicago.

“That instrument sounds like another instrument that is used in Italy called mandolin. It’s more of less the same idea. The sound was great. I like it. One day I saw in the United Nations in New York one orchestra. The director is Uruguayan Jewish from my country. To see that classical orchestra and the musicians together from Israel and Palestine play together was amazing.”

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Xu Shutsing, 21, of Shanghai, performed at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing October 21, 2012. She says very few people play the Lio-tsing that she's played since the age of 5.

Xu Shutsing, 21, of Shanghai, performed at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing October 21, 2012. She says very few people play the Lio-tsing that she's played since the age of 5.

Today is the 67th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

Today is the 67th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

Dr. Nury Bauzan de Senes, Consul General of Uruguay in Chicago.  She compared the Italian mandolin to Shutsing's lio-tsing 4 string instrument.

Dr. Nury Bauzan de Senes, Consul General of Uruguay in Chicago. She compared the Italian mandolin to Shutsing's lio-tsing 4 string instrument.

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