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Sanny Wu DipABRSM

Sanny's Story

As a Year 10 student here at the British International School, Ho Chi Minh City, our incredible musician Sanny is awarded an internationally recognised ABRSM Diploma in performance on piano, equivalent to a higher level education certificate.

Sanny began playing the piano when she was only 2 years old. During her time at the school she has been involved in a number of music ensembles from piano accompanist for chamber choir to pianist for the school productions. Last year whilst in Year 10 Sanny received confirmation that she had passed her DipABRSM in performance on piano. DipABRSM stands for Diploma of The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and is an outstanding achievement as it's beyond Grade 8 practical level and is equivalent to a higher level education certificate. On the 14th April 2018 she attended the ABRSM Diploma Awards Ceremony at the Concorde Hotel, Singapore. Let’s find out more about her journey to receiving her Diploma…

At what age did you start playing the piano and what inspired you to start?

I started interacting with the Piano as an instrument when I was 2 years old. My mother introduced me to the concept of music before I can remember and she was the one who decided that I should start learning the piano, hence I think my mum has led me to this path. I have also learnt how to play the Violin, Recorder, Viola and Guzheng but I feel the biggest connection with the Piano.

What do you enjoy most about playing the piano?

I love the sound that the piano makes. There are times when the melodies and harmonies made can really reflect the player’s or audiences' emotions which makes it very engaging. Personally, I enjoy the versatility. There is a huge variety of expressions that a piano can play for a solo piece, from the simplest and purest melodies to such complicated harmonies and textures.

I think another aspect that is so interesting about the piano is how well it can be played in ensembles; the ability of the piano to play such rich sounds (and a wide range of styles) compliments other instruments’ textures incredibly well.

  • Sanny Wu DipABRSM
  • Sanny Wu DipABRSM
  • Sanny Wu DipABRSM

How did you feel when you received your DipABRSM?

When I received the white envelope, I couldn’t believe that it was a hard envelope with the words “Certificate: do not bend” on it. I am incredibly grateful to have had a chance to take and pass this exam. It is a huge musical achievement in my life so far.

I also thought back to when I started at BIS HCMC in 2005 as an F3. I didn’t know any English then. I came into a class of people of the same age as me speaking this language that was so new and unfamiliar. It has been such a brilliant journey from being a student who knew no English, to writing 1100 words programme notes for my Diploma exam using that same language.

What did your parents say?

My parents were delighted and congratulated me, but also immediately reminded me to thank all the teachers that have been supporting and teaching me throughout the process of preparing for this exam because I couldn’t have done it without them.

In particular, I want to send massive thanks to my music teacher Mr Alexander for giving me so many opportunities to extend my musical abilities and experience in school. And also my form tutor, Ms Astley, for the countless number of times she has wished me good luck and supported me through my entire journey.

It has been such a brilliant journey from being a student who knew no English, to writing 1100-words programme notes for my Diploma exam using that same language. Sanny Wu

What would you say to other students considering playing a musical instrument?

Music itself is so incredibly amazing and complex - many people love listening to music but the satisfaction felt is definitely brought to a new level when you are able to play the piece that you love.

Even though classical music does give you a very strong musical foundation, you can also explore different genres or styles that you enjoy. Additionally, you don't necessarily have to practice a long time to improve, it's more about efficiency than quantity. 

How do you balance your time between practicing the piano and your school work?

Playing the piano is a form of entertainment and relaxation for me - sometimes I play before going to school, or to motivate myself to continue with work. The IGCSEs definitely requires commitment (to learn, revise for exams etc.), but it's possible to free up some time to do something I enjoy because I don't like using my studies as an excuse for me to give up my hobbies - if a task has been prioritized, then time shouldn't be the excuse for it being incomplete.

Mr Ian Alexander, Director of Music here at the British International School, Ho Chi Minh City shares his thoughts on Sanny’s success,

This is an outstanding achievement and once again shows what an incredible musician Sanny is. This accreditation is recognised highly by international qualifications bodies as it is an extremely challenging standard. Congratulations to you Sanny! Mr Ian Alexander, Director of Music

From the entire BIS community we'd like to say a big congratulations to Sanny. You are an inspiration to younger musicians and highlight that with passion, ambition and determination there is no limit to what you can achieve.

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