CyberFair Project ID: 4430

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: The Golden Memories of a Saxophone in Houli
Category: 4. Local Specialties

School: Ming-Dao High School
    Taichung County, Taichung County, Taiwan

7 students, ages 17 - 18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 10, 2006. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2004, 2005, 2006

Classes and Teachers: Lu Hsin-kuan

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Houli Town is located at the northernmost edge of Taichung County. Its old name was Neipu. The town is located between Dajia Creek and Daan Creek, inside of Chishing Mountain and Yuemei Mountain. Its name is derived from its geographical location. Its climate is temperate and its resources are plentiful, so it is a place with many geographical advantages. Houli is famous for its horses, as well as the production of flowers, which ranks number two in the nation. Toyota’s television commercial helped promote this home of the saxophones. It is a place that is filled with both industries and culture.

2. Summary of Our Project

The Houli Town of Taichung County is known as Taiwan’s music capital. The saxophones that are made in Houli have first-rate qualities. Unfortunately, even though it produces one third of the saxophones in the world, Houli’s saxophone industry is unable to make a name for itself, since it has long been playing the role of the supplier for other major companies in the world. In order to improve its competitiveness in the global market, the industry, the government, and the academia need to come together to work toward a better future. Being a part of the Taichung County, we are honored to be participants, in hope of spreading the words about this unique local industry to the public. We also hope for the beautiful sound of Taiwan’s saxophone to be heard in every corner of the world.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our school is connected to the Taichung area Internet hub – National Chung Hsing University – via a dedicated T1 line. We are also connected to the TAnet, the Hinet via three two-way 512K ADSL lines, and the Heshin System via a cable modem. All these Internet connections are fed into a load balancer so that different ISP’s could be sorted out. The parents and students use mostly 512/64K ADSL lines by Hinet at home.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

(1) Getting to Know the Musical Instruments - Since it is the first time for the most of us to come into contact with a saxophone, our knowledge about this strange yet familiar musical instrument is quite lacking, not to mention playing it. Therefore, we asked the director of our school’s brass band Mr. Chang-Yi Lei to be our consulting teacher, so he could lead us into the realm of the saxophones. Mr. Lei said, since we have picked this topic, we needed to understand it inside out, and even learn how to play saxophones. It is the only way we would understand the uniqueness of a saxophone’s sound quality and tone.

(2) Lack of Skills - There are several first timers to the research project on our team, therefore they may be somewhat deficient when it comes to the hands-on parts of the project. We have decided to share our work loads in a way that we would each select a part that we are good at, then we would ask the teacher to help us put them all together. This way everyone could be on the same page, and the project could proceed smoothly.

(3) Integration of Opinions - Perhaps it’s because we wanted this project to be perfect, or perhaps we are each very stubborn, we sometimes argued with each other because of the difference in opinions. Our teacher said the only way to progress is by arguing, but he wanted us to calm down to discuss them one by one, after we each had expressed our opinions. We always ended up with a sound conclusion.

(4) Constraint of Time - Because of the heavier course load during high school, we started working on this project back in the summer to avoid not having enough time to work on it. When the school started after the summer vacation, we used our lunch break and the computer classes to finish the project step by step. Even though we still couldn’t utilize our time efficiently, it still didn’t dampen our enthusiasm and determination to finish this project.

(5) Lack of Transportation - Our team members live in the Taichung, Changhua, and Nantou areas, just like most of the students in our school. As a result, we live quite far from each other, so it is difficult for us to meet after the school hours. Fortunately we have the assistance of the volunteer parents to solve our transportation problem.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

We believe that if we put our minds and efforts into promoting Taiwan’s saxophone, it won’t be looked at as just a musical instrument anymore; it will become the mixture of history, humanity, and environment.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

(1) Local Unique Character - One third of the world’s saxophones are made here in Taiwan, and seven out of ten saxophones that are made in Taiwan are made in Houli. The saxophone is undoubtedly the most representative industry of Houli, as well as one of Taiwan’s proudest local-specific industries in terms of humanity, history, and feelings. With a goal of showing the whole world the unique character of the local community, we are using it as the main topic of this research project. We are hoping to show the fruit of hard work of the collaboration among the industry, the government, and the academia, so that Taiwan’s saxophone could be heard in every corner of the world.

(2) Resource Sharing - The Internet is known as “the whole world under the same roof”, showing an ideal of information sharing. Without impinging on the intellectual copyrights, the users could enjoy fast and convenient information on the Internet, as well as providing their own data for others to see, so the spread of information is faster and broader. We hope that a lot more people will be able to enjoy the information of the hometown through this research project.

(3) Peer Collaboration - In order to break away from the low-priced competition from overseas, our government is assisting Houli’s saxophone industry to enter the higher-profile markets. A common brand name of “Saxhome” has been established. This brand name needs everyone’s participation and promotion for it to become a well-known name in the industry. Our mission is to use the information that we had learned to build a peer relationship with the community so we could help in selling the local-specific products of our hometown.

(4) Mutual development - In this age of advanced technologies, using the convenience of the Internet to develop the industry is one of the most expedient ways. We wish that, by creating Chinese and English webpages, we could use our minuscule forces to help the local industry to develop the local-specific products of the hometown.

(5) Combining and Educating - The goal of CyberFair is to use the spirit of “educating and combining” to strengthen the link between the school and the local community. Being a part of the community, we have the obligation to combine what we had learned at school to participate in the promotion of community affairs, so that the whole world would know about this fine industry in Taiwan. This is the ultimate goal of applying our education to real life.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

(a) Desktop PC, Notebook PC – These were used to create and edit websites.

(b) Telephone – It was used to reach teachers, parents, team members, industry people, government offices, and customer service.

(c) Recording Pen – It was used to record interviewee’s words, as well as voice reminders for ourselves.

(d) Conventional Camera, Digital Camera, Digital Camcorder - These were used to record the entire production process, as well as record our field trips.

(e) Television - It was used for newscasts and related special reports.

(f) Monitor - It was used to view briefings and the videos that we recorded.

(g) Scanner - It was used for scanning pictures and photographs.

(h) Computer Software – (1) WORD2000 - Word processing (2) Dreamweaver MX - Webpage creation (3) Flash MX - Make animated pictures (4) Adobe Photoshop CS - Image processing (5) Adobe Illustrator CS - Illustration for images (6) SwiSHmax - Special effects for texts of title and first page (7) PHOTOIMPACT 8.0 - To edit drawings, photos, and pictures (8) Ulead GIF Animator 5 - Producing photo animation (9) WS-FTP95LE - To transmit data files (10) MS-IE6.0 - Searching Internet information and check results (11) ACDSee32 - Browsing pictures (12) MS-Outlook Express - Sending and receiving e-mails

(i) Library, Cultural Center - We searched for needed information in these places.

(j) Museum - It was used for collecting information and conducting interviews.

(k) Books, Magazines - These were used to search for and double-check information.

(l) Newspapers, Media - These were used to collect articles relating to the main topic.

(m) Verbal Interview - The most treasured information came from the oral narratives of related individuals.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

(1) Participation - We have given ourselves the roles of cultural historians, with the hope of recording the texts and images of Houli’s saxophone industry for the past sixty years. In order to obtain the most realistic information, we have tried to arrange for our team members to participate in the events of local industry, so we could come into contact with the industrialists face-to-face. When we met with the government officials and the industrialists for the first time, we told them that we are the students at the Taichung County Ming-Dao High School, and we interviewed them because of our participation in the cyberfair for Taiwan’s schools. Many of the interviewees became intrigued by this research project, and they would inquire about this cyberfair event. We gave them the website so they could go see it for themselves. We also told them that, according to the Guinness World Records, this is the largest grass-root website competition.

(2) Promotion - We are using the website to promote Houli’s saxophone industry both to people inside and outside of our school. We are recommending this fine musical instrument to the brass instrument club of our school. We told them that when the former president Bill Clinton of the U.S. visited Taiwan, our president Chen gave president Clinton a Houli’s saxophone as a present, to show everybody that Houli’s saxophone has entered the main stage of international affairs.

(3) Mass Media - We have submitted several articles to various major media to inform them about the contents and news of the press release conference of saxophone industry innovation. Our hope is to gather the attention of the public about this local-specific industry. Because of the accuracy of our topic, we have gained the friendly cooperation of the media, as they published our articles.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

It is incredible that a fire-damaged saxophone could mark the beginning of a local industry for the global market. It has become one of the most significant accomplishments for this country in the past sixty years. This is unquestionably the result of determination and perseverance intertwined with a little luck and coincidence. But how did they create this musical miracle without their firm resolve? After studying the history of Houli’s saxophones, the biggest impact it gave us is that “everything is accomplishable with enough will”. We have learned that, with enough efforts, success will always come at the end. We have also changed our attitude toward everyday things, and learned to turn peril into opportunities.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

(1) Minister of Economic Affairs, Ms. Ho Mei-yueh; Director of Industrial Development Bureau, Mr. Chen Chao-yi; Director of Ministry of Economic Affairs Mid-Taiwan Office, Li Chong-chin - During the press release conference of saxophone industry innovation, we learned about the assistance our government is giving the local industries. The goal is to continually research and develop new products, so they could always better themselves.

(2) ITRI/MIRL, Ms. Tsai Shiu-ru - She patiently answered all the questions we had, and she provided the data and pictures that we requested, so that we could complete our research project on time.

(3) Houli Saxophone Industrialists - From the history to the explanation of musical instrument to playing instruction, the saxophone industrialists taught us everything they know, which enabled us to learn a great deal about saxophones.

(4) Diapason Saxophone Quartet - They were very generous in supplying the music that they played in the National Music Concert Hall, called “Loves Greeting”, to be used as our background music.

(5) Rigel Arts, Ms. Josephine Lin - “Rigel Arts” is the only professional agency of Jazz music in Taiwan. Ms. Lin was very nice to supply the pictures and information about Jazz to us.

(6) Local Elders - They tirelessly introduced to us various points of interest and places to eat local-specific snacks. The information they provided for us is really invaluable, which is why they are the treasures of the town.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

(1) Discovering the Harmony of Humanity and Technology - Humanity could showcase an area’s unique quality, and technology could extend the life of the industry. Together they could highlight an area-specific industry. We had discovered that Houli’s saxophone industry is drawing on this town’s rich humanity and combine it with a traditional type of industry, as well as modern technology. This is an exciting discovery, because it combines the essence of the old with the new, so that the humanity is not just about the past, and the technology is not just about the modern days.

(2) The Lesson of Teamwork - In the old days, people were used to working alone, trying to do everything behind closed doors. As a result, they were not able to keep up with the fast-changing world. Now people are beginning to realize that the only way to survive is by teamwork, combining the individual efforts into a common goal of the team. This research project has taught us a lesson in that “strength comes from teamwork”.

(3) The Surprise of Strong Vitality - Faced with the challenge posed by China and other developing nations, Houli’s saxophone makers use innovation and improved quality to fend off the competition, giving them a second wind. We are both amazed and touched by their display of resiliency. This is the best interpretation of life’s vitality.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 4430)

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