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Juilliard Alumni Declare Our Students Absolutely Astonishing!

13 January 2016

Our first Juilliard alumni visit for Term 2 gave students and artists the opportunity to work together in musical workshops based around the artists’ instruments – the bassoon, clarinet and piano. Emerging from their Year 2 music class, bassoonist Ben Moermond and clarinetist Xiangyu Zhou expressed their amazement at the way in which the young students were able to describe music, using technical words to explain the dynamics they could hear during the workshops. In their words, “Absolutely astonishing!”

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The artists, who included Peng-Peng Gong on piano and returning for his second visit to NAIS Pudong, had a very full schedule. First up a tour of our Performing Arts facilities and curriculum discussions with Mr Phil Bailey, Director of Music and The Arts, then straight into the Year 7, 8 and 9 assembly for a 30-minute mini-concert also attended by some parents.

The skill and years of training to achieve such musical excellence was very well received by the captivated audience. The repertoire included solo and group works from Saint-Saens and Poulenc, modern classical pieces. For many it was the first time to see and hear a bassoon – a very large and impressive instrument – played.

Following the concert, a group of student music ambassadors, members of the orchestra and IGCSE Music students, accompanied the artists to lunch, and spent the time discussing their music studies and plans for the future.

During the final two periods of the day, Ben and Xiangyu worked with Year 6 and Year 2 music classes demonstrating their instruments, performing and discussing the pieces. Students were able to look at and touch the instruments and get a feel for how they are used. At the same time, Peng-Peng conducted a piano masterclass with four piano students, listening to them play and advising on technique. When asked if the students seemed grateful for the experience, Peng-Peng replied, “It was my thanks to them for making the experience so very enjoyable and rewarding.”

Summing up the day, Mr Bailey says, “Once again, this visit by Juilliard alumni performing artists has exposed our students to the highest standard of musical performance, giving them inspiration to be ambitious with what they themselves are able to achieve.”

Still to come this term, Juilliard Curriculum Specialist, Andrea Lee, will visit the school to continue her work with the Music Department and students as we embed the Juilliard curriculum.