Meet The Wong Janice
I first encountered The Wong Janice‘s work when I searched “cello” on the meditation app Insight Timer over a year ago. Not long afterward, I heard about her from several friends. I’ve been following her ever since.
The Wong Janice is an interdisciplinary artist, combining her skills as a cellist, composer, music producer, sound engineer, and meditation teacher. Wow!
I was thrilled that she agreed to talk with us about her craft and am pleased to share this interview with all of you. (The questions and responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Cello Museum: How did you choose the cello as your instrument? What drew you to it?
The Wong Janice: I started with piano lessons when I was around 6 or 7, and my parents thought it would be great if I could learn an instrument that I could play in an orchestra. A family friend knew a teacher nearby who taught the cello and flute, so I chose between those two instruments. Once I heard the cello, I just knew it was for me. And I’ve never looked back!
CM: What cellos do you play? How did you choose them?
TWJ: I have one primary classical cello, which I have had since I was a teenager, and that’s the one I use most, especially for recording and my main performances. I want the most beautiful sound for my cello meditation music, so that’s why I use it.
Although I don’t play it much at the moment, I have a 5-string electric cello from NS Design which I use more experimentally. I play it in bands as a session musician, which is cool because I can amplify it and play together with louder instruments without any problems. With this cello, I can even stand up and move while I play, which I love.
I recently performed on the first prototype carbon fiber cello from a Luthier friend, Urko Larrañaga, in Barcelona. It was the most beautiful and modern instrument I’ve ever played. I love combining modern techniques of using effect pedals and a loop machine with a modern instrument.
The cello is a classical instrument hundreds of years old, but there are still new ways to play and explore.
Music Producer and Sound Engineer
CM: I see that you’ve studied music production and sound engineering – even before the pandemic. What sparked your interest in this aspect of your career?
TWJ: I never really wanted to be a classical cellist, and I never really thought it would be possible for me to be an ‘artist’ and compose music on the cello. Yet, I wanted to have a creative career in the music industry. So it was kind of my dream job to be a music producer, either to help produce artists or make music commercially.
I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, so I took one year to discover and learn all I could about the more technical side of the music industry. The course I took was an advanced diploma at Abbey Road Institute in Amsterdam, and it was the best decision of my life. That led me to what I do now, and I’m genuinely grateful for it.
CM: How did you get into meditation? What inspired you to share this with others?
TWJ: Quite a few years ago, I attended a mindfulness session organized by my workplace, and it opened my mind in a positive way. A while later, I felt called to dive deeper into meditation and sat a 10-day Vipassana meditation course, which is very intense as you have a very strict routine for ten days and you are in complete silence for the entire time.
That experience changed my life, and I felt like everyone could benefit from being more in touch with what’s going on inside of them. However, I believed that the Vipassana course was not the easiest approach for beginners nor accessible to everyone. So I started to think of ways to bring the power and benefits of meditation to others.
In my experience with performing, I noticed that my music has always touched people in ways I could never imagine possible. So after I started to compose cello meditation music, and I saw it was reaching people and helping people – especially when intended for meditation. I was really happy. I felt called to make this my life’s work.
CM: How long have you been composing music? Do you publish sheet music? If so, where can our visitors purchase it?
TWJ: When I was in university, I composed a few songs in the singer/songwriter genre, but they didn’t go too well or last too long. I composed some instrumental electronic music for my assignments when I studied audio engineering. Still, it wasn’t until after I graduated and started my career as an artist in 2019 that I started composing cello music, and it was really exciting to do that for the first time.
Since I make cello meditation music, I want to be as free as possible, and therefore I tend to make up the music first by playing freely, and then I create the sheet music later. The sheet music is if people want to play the album versions of the songs. But, when I perform them live, I tend to play what my heart feels in the moment. So my process is a little the opposite of a typical composer and classical musician where you perform exactly what is on the music sheets.
For now, I only have two pieces of music for sale: Fear (30-minute Meditation) and Trust (Close Your Eyes), which you can purchase on my website. However, this year, I plan to release the sheet music for the rest of the 30-minute cello meditation tracks. So watch this space!
Pulling it All Together
CM: What was your “aha” moment that led you to combine cello performance, composition, and meditation?
TWJ: To be honest, it went quite organically. After I graduated from the sound engineering & music production course and was thinking about what to do with my life, I thought more holistically about my situation. I asked myself what I would like to do every day of my life for the rest of my life. Two things came to mind: play the cello and meditate. And that was how my cello meditation project was born.
Journaling for Grounding & Positivity: A 7-day Practice with Cello Meditation Music
CM: Please tell us about your Skillshare course.
TWJ: After hosting the team at Skillshare for a virtual cello meditation session, I was invited to become a teacher and offer my first video class on the platform. The class is a self-paced video class of 7 days where I take you through 7 journaling exercises combined with ambient cello music to feel more grounded and positive.
This class is for people with any level of journaling experience who would like to see how freewriting to the sounds of deep ambient cello meditation music can aid self-reflection and transform one’s mood. Whether you’re a dedicated journaler or a complete newbie, don’t be afraid to give this class a try, as you never know what the combination of music and writing can bring! One thing is for sure: The Wong Janice’s deep ambient cello meditation music will leave you feeling undoubtedly more centered and calm.
In this class, you will learn basic journaling techniques, starting with simple writing prompts to get you started in transferring what’s in your mind onto paper. We will then move on to more extended format writing prompts to allow the words to flow from your heart freely. At the end of the class, we will circle back and recap what we’ve learned.
By the end of this class, you will have covered seven new journaling practices. With daily practice, you can learn to express yourself better and understand who you are at a higher level, bringing more stability in your life, helping you feel more grounded, and radiating more positivity from within.
Once you have found your written voice, you will have the confidence and inner trust to express yourself on paper without the prompts and to use writing as a tool to help you feel more grounded and more positive whenever you need it most.
The themes covered in my course include:
How to Follow and Support The Wong Janice
Enter for a Chance to Win!
The Wong Janice: A One-year premium subscription to Skillshare (worth $170!)
- Comment on her contest post and say which skill you would love to learn on Skillshare if you won – and why. Only one comment per account is valid.
- To have a bonus entry, you can sign up for a free trial with her referral link. She will choose a winner on 1 February, 2022.
Cello Museum Journal Giveaway
To celebrate the new year, new resolutions, and The Wong Janice’s journaling course, we are doing a prize giveaway of one of our new notebooks.
The winner will choose one of the new designs pictured above, and two runners-up will each get one of our new stickers.
Whether you’re looking for a new notebook to use for cello lesson notes, classes, or as an everyday journal, this is a great option. We are giving away one journal and two stickers in a random prize drawing on 31 January 2022. Sign up below for a chance to win.
Don’t want to wait for the prize drawing? Get your notebooks and stickers here.
The prize giveaway has now ended. Thank you to everyone who participated. The winners will be announced on social media.
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