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Young Musicians of the Future

January, 2011
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Who are the young musicians of the future?

The answer was found on the night of Saturday November 27th at the prestigious Young Musician of the Future Competition held at the Legend Garden Campus of Dulwich College Beijing.

musicians-group-s25 top student musicians from seven of Beijing’s international schools participated in this year’s competition. The schools included: International School of Beijing, Western Academy of Beijing, Harrow International School Beijing, Beijing City International School, Beijing BISS International School, Canadian International School of Beijing and Dulwich College Beijing.

After performing in the heats, only 6 students entered to perform at the final concert: Shirley Wang from CISB, Lee Kwan Hee from WAB, Jasmin Spooner and Julien Bell from DCB, Po En Chen from Harrow, and Jason Ying from BCIS. Each student played a short piece of music of their own choice using their beloved instruments.

Jason Ying, a 14-year-old from BCIS, was the big winner of the night with his extraordinary guitar performance.

jason-s“I was really excited. I sort of knew that I was going to win,” Jason said. “For my guitar performance, personally I think I played well. When I finished and waited for the clap, I was wondering why the audience didn’t clap for me. I actually waited for a ‘long time’. I could see that the audience enjoyed my music so they needed time to come out from my music.”

This is not the first time Jason Ying participated in this competition. Last year he finished in second place. He likes this competition for two reasons: Firstly, it gives young performers confidence. Secondly, it helps students who want to be musicians.

“I’ve not decided what’s my future job will be,” said the boy. “But, I started playing guitar because I liked it.” Besides his favorite guitar, Jason also enjoys playing violin, piano, cello, flute and many other instruments as well as having a passion for photography.

“I have played guitar for almost 5 years. I practice every day but if I decide to be a musician, I would practice more. Not just guitar, but every instrument; the person who wants to learn must have talent. Everyone can play an instrument, but to be able to bring the audience into the music, the player must have talent, and know what they are playing by understanding the piece.”

Being the 1st prize winner, Jason is entitled to perform a full concerto with the Beijing Youth Orchestra, which is a phenomenal achievement for students under 17 years of age.

“Of course the experience playing with the orchestra is good for my IB. But really, music is something that can let me "speak out" the feelings I can’t describe using any language.”

jasmin-1sFor DCB student Jasmin Spooner, who also entered the final round competition and impressed the audience with her marvelous cello performance, this was her first time in this competition and she was extremely impressed with the overall level of musicianship and standard of performance.

“I haven’t participated in this competition before, and I feel I could’ve played better on the night,” said the girl. “This was a good experience and I am glad I did it. I learned that to play well you need to be focused and prepared and not let anything get you down.”

Jasmine started to play the piano at the tender age of 3 and took up the cello at age 5. She now has superb skills in both and recently passed Grade VIII in both cello and piano with distinction at the ABRSM exams. She likes playing other instruments too, such as flute, violin, guitar and drums.

“They’re both beautiful instruments. I don’t really remember it being difficult, only that I enjoyed playing it and just making music,” said Jasmin. “Music is more than just a hobby but part of my life; I may consider becoming a musician in the future.”

The other finalist Po Ann Chen, from Harrow International School Beijing, is the youngest player of this competition and this is also her first time to participate in such an international school music competition. Although she didn’t win a prize in the competition, Chen still wowed the audience with her dancing fingers on the piano keyboard.

po-en-chen-s“I think I did really well and the judges also said I played really well,” said the girl. “This competition gave me a lot of desire to do better and it also gave me a sort of view of some good musicians in the different international schools. And I’m also glad that I had this opportunity to be able to make the finals and enjoy the music from different people from different places in the world and the opportunity to be able to perform in front of everyone who loves classical music.”

Chen has been playing piano for about 7 years, and she started to listen to piano music and concerts when she was 4. “It was very tough, since I had very small hands, I couldn’t even reach an octave when I was 10 but now I can. But I still practice every single day to make it perfect and flawless.”

Despite her young age, Chen doesn’t lack in performance experience at all. When she was younger and still in Taiwan, she participated in different stages and levels of piano, trumpet, vocal competitions, exams and concerts. She performed a vocal solo in the National Taiwan Concert Hall when she was 9 and she was also a member of the head of the trumpet in the music academic orchestra. Here at Harrow, she recently won an inter-house piano competition.

“I think I want to do it next year again. I think this competition is a very good opportunity for people to see what they’ve done, what they need to improve on and to be able to share the music with everyone and also enjoy other people’s music,” Chen said. “I really like music so I want to be a musician in the future.”

Why not? The next competition will be launched in September 2011, according toShane O’Shea, the DCB Head of Music, who is the coordinator of this event on behalf of the Beijing Music Network.

shane-sO’Shea had the idea of setting up the Beijing Music Network and launching the Young Musicians of the Future Competition three years ago. He simply hoped to allow international students the chance to have fun working together, composing and playing music as well as competing on stage. The members of the network are International school music departments.

“The Beijing Music Network is for all; it is not affiliated to one school specifically,” O’Shea emphasized. “The main purpose is to offer students many platforms to perform and train them so they are ready for a career in professional music if they so choose.”

 

Advice from young musicians:

Jason Ying: Doing music or not depends on the student. To know how to play an instrument is good, but if you want to feed yourself with music, it will be really hard.

Po Ann Chen: Keep loving music is an important thing and enjoying the music that you play.

Jasmin Spooner: Just have fun with it. Don’t push it if you’re not enjoying it or working so hard you don’t do anything else. Music is a wonderful thing not to be abused.

 

By Xing Yangjian

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