PETER KRUSE hated playing the piano. A strange place to start for a well-known Shenzhen musician who can play the guitar, ukulele, mandolin and, yes, the piano.
“When I was a kid, I hated piano because my parents forced me to learn it,” said Kruse, a native of Chicago, Illinois.
“However, when my brother gave me an electric guitar, I had no teacher and I would just create my own music. Eventually, I became good enough to join a band and even make money playing guitar,” he said.
Kruse came to Shenzhen in 2013 and teaches music at an international school.
“Whenever I teach, I try to remember what inspires me about music, and I try to relay that to the students,” said Kruse.
To inspire his students, Kruse sometimes plays movies at the end of class, said Tiffany Faass, a Grade 9 student.
“When my students perform a song in front of the class, they are often nervous at first,” said Kruse. “But by the end of the year, they’ve developed a confidence which also helps them become more confident in everyday life.”
Kruse studied music performance in Judson University. He later completed an internship under award-winning composer Michael Aukofer and co-wrote some songs with him.
In Chicago, Kruse played in several bands and opened for the Grammy nominated-band Blind Melon. Rufus Tree, one of Kruse’s bands, released an album with two tracks featuring Grammy nominated guitarist Phil Keaggy. Another musical project, A Gain of Ten, attracted note from Yahoo Music, CCM Magazine and Classic Rock Review.
Kruse can often be spotted performing at Shenzhen open mics in McCawley’s, La Casa, Frankie’s and The Terrace.
“I think the best music is often a combination of artists adding their unique musical colors to a song,” Kruse said.
“Not everyone who studies science will become a scientist, and not everyone who studies music will be a professional musician. However, both of these subjects are important because they make people think,” said Kruse.
For some students, just seeing their teacher play is enough to motivate them. “I don’t have much interest in music,” said Amina Lalmi, a Grade 9 student. ”But when I see Mr. Kruse playing music, it gives me hope that maybe I will be as good as he is one day.”