oh sweety you even know guqin~
There used to be a guqin theme restaurant in Beijing, but it might close now. There are quite a few learning studios. If you don't have to listen to a formal concert, you can visit one. I don't think people there would mind to give you a show. Where do you base?
pipa is relatively less fahsionable at the moment IMO.
One hidden gem in Beijing is Beihai Folk Band. I don't know if they have a fixed schedule, but mostly in Beihai Park on Saturday. Before it was at 10 am but some say now maybe 1 pm...
They look at this: http://www.56.com/u53/v_OTg1OTgzMjI.html (they also have a pipa~)
But in winter if the weather is not good, not sure the elderly will still come out ~,~
In Beihai Park you show and ask locals direction for this 北海公园民乐队
Too bad you are not in Kunming. Easy to hear traditional instruments in the afternoons in city parks. Retired people gather to play for their own amusement and pleasure. It is their hobby; they are not being paid. They spend lots of time rehearsing on weekday afternoons, and then on weekends do actual free performances. Often two or three people will sing. Sometimes folk music, sometimes snatches of opera.
But not the guqin. It stays at home because it's difficult to carry and set up and tune. It doesn't like abrupt changes in weather. These various "qin" instruments are more often used indoors.
This is true in most medium-sized Chinese cities where the weather is not too bitter. I've heard similar groups playing all over the southwest and southeast. Similarly, folk dancing is popular as an active hobby, mostly for the retired population, though younger people join in as well. Not rare to find instrumental performance, singing, dancing all together in the same park. Lots of fun.
If I'm visiting a new smaller city for whatever reason, I usually gravitate to a city park on Sunday afternoons in search of such treats. Snacks are usually for sale nearby. For visitors who are in search of "the real China" (whatever that might mean) such informal gatherings provide a very nice taste of it. Low-key, "family" entertainment. Mostly by and for locals. Easy to strike up conversations.
I congratulate the Original Poster on seeking out these opportunities.Edited: 11 October 2015, 08:29
Thanks for the infos, will check out Beihai. I usually try to make a visit to Jingshan at the weekends, a lot of singing, sometimes an instrument or two. There used to be a cafe near Xidan where guqin was performed regularly, but no more. I am a bit surprised that there seem to be no concerts given in any of the concert halls, even been to one back home in Sweden....
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