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BWYA Treble Makers: Tuned to the Fun of Music

May, 2018
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“Pop songs.”

“Jazz.”

“R&B.”

“Rock.”

“Punk”

When asked about their favorite types of music, the six members of Treble Makers, a student band at Beijing World Youth Academy (BWYA), produce different answers.

bwya-student-band-photos2Guitarist Andy Zhao, who likes heavier stuff, dismisses the preconception that enjoying metal shows a love of violence, while on the other side Keyboard Daniel Kim claims he can enjoy most kinds of music, but can’t stand rock.

Despite these differing opinions, the four girls and two boys, all in Grade 8 now, are working together as a group trying present ever better performances, particularly after their well-received show at the BWYA Wolves Talent Show in early February.

“We want more people to know us, see our performance and then give us more chances,” says Yilan Song, one of the three vocalists in the band. Another vocalist, Alice Wen, added, “We are just interested in this: play to the audience and have fun with our friends.”

Alice, Yilan and the other vocalist Yolanda Jin are the ones who came across the idea of making a band one winter’s day in December 2016 when they were in Grade 7. “We three have a very good friendship, and we usually sing together a lot. Then one day we came up with the idea that we form a band. We wanted to perform on stage,” Alice recalls.

They immediately called Andy and Daniel, who they knew had musical talent. And so the band came into being, in the beginning just consisting of five members. “In order to make our band name more interesting and attractive, we decided to use the word ‘treble,’ because ‘treble’ and ‘trouble’ sound very similar.” They agreed to meet every Monday after class and practice, and each song was decided democratically by a vote.

Yet it took them about six months to prepare for their first performance. It was a charity concert held at 798 art zone in Beijing in June 2017. Naturally, they all felt very nervous due to their lack of experience, and they didn’t know how to present themselves properly.

It was after the concert that they realized they needed another member. Andy, though he is also able to play drums, can’t play guitar and piano at the same time. That’s how Sissi Chen came on board.

“To perform easily before an audience is an experience that the majority of people don’t have at a young age,” says Sissi.

bwya-student-band-photos3The six of them debate which songs to sing, then make adaptations accordingly and improvise piano, guitar or drums when required. Being in the band not only brings fun for these six musicians. They have also learnt to understand, communicate and collaborate with each other as a group. Like Andy puts it, “In the classroom, you might learn about information you never knew, but in this activity, we know how to cooperate.”

“The band is both a learning process and a fun process,” Yolanda points out, “The band practice actually helps us learn, because can feel relaxed after a whole day of study.”

Daniel on the other hand sees the benefit from another perspective, saying: “You get to perform in front of other people, which allows you to connect with others in school, and also sometimes outside of school. There’s a real social benefit.”

Now, in the wake of the positive feedback after the BWYA Wolves Talent Show, these young musicians are aiming at the May Fair at the school and hoping to attend shows outside of BWYA, empowered by the progress made and the experience gained from their performances.

Yet no matter how the band develops, they will stick to their initial aspiration: the fun of music, as precisely expressed by Andy, “There are two groups of musicians: those who play from their feelings and those that play for technicality. I think we are probably in the ‘feel’ part.”

 

By Qin Chuan, LittleStar Magazine

 

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