Shanghai Journal #1: I’m here!


As the title says, we arrived uneventfully, if that’s an applicable word, on Monday. In other words, we’re here in Shanghai.

We’ve since registered at the police station as do all foreigners who arrive for an extended stay. And we’ve since successfully passed through the language barrier at a local department store where we purchased a microwave and a few other amenities.

The piano

I do need a piano on which to practice. There’s a Kawai dealer around the corner from me. I tried the Kawai they had in stock but it won’t work out.

It’s not well known but China is the world’s largest market for pianos. There are many Chinese brands that are available. Most of them, as far as I know, are mass manufactured and low quality.

On the other hand, my Steingraeber which I left in Leicester or a Steinway or all pianos known as top-tier are handmade and therefore crafted to a very high standard. That said, shortly before we left for Shanghai, we had dinner with a friend from Guangzhou, a huge city in the south of China not far from Hong Kong.

In her family were uncles and relatives who, decades ago, had worked in the Chinese piano industry. She explained to us that, in fact, there’s a history of artisanal piano-making in China. But you have to know where to look and how to find it. … Well, that will come later.

A concert in Hong Kong

On Friday, we leave for Hong Kong for a week. Among the different things we have scheduled is the concert I’ll be presenting at Chinese University Hong Kong. It’s themed It’s about time because that’s the name of my new CD which Is finally available as of last week.

The CD, is called It’s about time because, among other things, it is about time that I released a CD. And music is or could be called an art of time. In fact, there’s an interesting book called The music of the temporalists that’s about exactly that.

In any case, my CD is a two-disc set, all unedited. It’s the entire solo piano concert I presented last spring in Ellensburg Wa at a university in the US where I used to direct the music composition and theory programs.

Teaching piano, jazz, and improvisation on Skype and Facetime

Meanwhile, Skype and Facetime appear to work perfectly from here in Shanghai. I know because I’ve had a test conversations with friends in the US. The success of the connections demonstrates, I hope, that my VPN, short for virtual private network, is sufficiently strong and robust.

Access to Skype and FaceTime means during this period, from now until 1 June when I’m in Shanghai I can continue something that’s very important to me: Working through those mediums with piano students all over the world.

In other words, if you’re interested in lessons having to do with piano, improvisation, composition, theory , or electronic music, let me know. Or if you’ve studied with me previously and would like to resume lessons where we left off, well, let’s begin.


About the picture at the beginning of this post: it’s what I could see looking out the window of my flat yesterday at 8am. Shanghai, I think, is famous for early morning fog. If you can’t see anything in the picture, well, you are in fact seeing: FOG!


As many of you know, I’m active on Facebook and can be found there easily enough as Mark Polishook, which is of course who I am! Don’t hesitate to contact me. One thing I have learned from traveling is new adventures in new places are fun. But staying in touch with friends and family: That’s essential!