After constructing three instruments, I finally started taking formal guqin lessons—from Lui PuiYuen (吕培源).
This all came about in an interesting way. More than ten years ago, I found the 與古齋琴譜 (Abiding with Antiquity Guqin Manual, 1855, tr. Binkley) on the internet while looking for construction details. After making my first one, I decided to improve on the design, and in 2010, I was inspired to make two more instruments. I kept a construction blog, including an album of the entire process.
Jim Binkley, who translated the 與古齋琴譜, found my blog and wrote me with some questions. He now teaches computer science at Portland State University. I also asked him if he knew of any contacts in Southern California, since the guqin is a relatively obscure instrument. He said that one of the best players still alive is Mr. Lui, and that I might contact one of his former students, Alan Yip, and get connected.
After meeting up with Alan and later with Lui Laoshi, I started my first lesson on April 22. The curriculum started with 仙翁操 and 湘江怨. The next lesson included 古琴吟 and 秋風詞. Now, I’m working on 歸去來辭. Many of these are based on ancient poems.
I’ll try to post recordings when I get a chance.