“I feel lucky and happy”, he said after getting the gold medal.
In the Singapore International Solo and Ensemble Competition which was concluded in the summer vacation, Zhou Ziran (Tutor: Yang Xinan; Homeroom teacher: Tong Yuanyuan) of WAIS String Orchestra from Class 401 won the gold prize in the Violin Solo Amateur Group with Violin Concerto in a Minor.
When asked about the feeling of wining the prize, Zhou Ziran said he was “lucky and happy”. He did not expect to take the gold medal, “because the judges said my stage performance could be better."
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本次比赛由Hitmaker Global Academy主办、新加坡斯坦福特音乐学院协办，共有870位选手参赛。
Organised by Hitmaker Global Academy and co-organised by Stanfort Academy in Singapore, the competition attracted 870 contestants.
A semi-final was added this year. The competition chairman was Zuo Jun, professor of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore.
The competition vice-presidents were Darrell Ang, artistic director of the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra, and Zhu Wen, a violin professor of Australian Institute of Music. Artistic advisers were Ian Bofinger, Hardy Mertens and Igor Budinstein. The jury president was Wojciech Waldemar Wisniewski. Judges were from famous music conservatories or professional orchestras in China, Singapore, Netherland, America and Australia.
"The students of Wuhan Australian International School are highly capable. They are smart, active and are very perceptive. In the compulsory string music course of the year two students, we respect our children's wishes and let them choose between violin or cello. After all, interest is the best teacher. Then based on their choices, we will give professional advice and guidance to their parents."
WAIS has a variety of courses on sports and arts. After joining the school, swimming, fencing, choir, physique training, and arts and crafts designing should be learned by the students as compulsory and core courses.
In addition, the school also provide courses such as piano, instrumental music and etc.. For children with genuine interest and talent, clubs will be set up and more professional guidance will be given. The goal is that every student who enters WAIS can learn swimming, fencing and a musical instrument, and reach a certain level of skill.
Zhou Ziran was chosen by his teacher Yang Xinan in the school compulsory course.
“After communicating with his mother, he joined the club to learn the violin in one-for-one lessons. In my view, Zhou Ziran is a talented and diligent student.
He never asks for leave easily and he takes time to practice every day after school.His mother is an integral part of his success. She accompanies him during practices and making sure he follows notes.
For string music learning, classes are very important but limited, so it is crucial to practice after class. Zhou Ziran often sends me recorded practice videos that day to ask me for suggestions before going to bed at night. Basically, small problems can be corrected and solved at any time.”
His mother: Zhou enjoys the double happiness of music and life
“It is pretty fortunate for us to be able to learn the violin, swimming and fencing at school. That's why we came to WAIS. Before Year 2, we knew nothing about violin. However, he won the prize in just one year through studying entirely in class during school hours. I really want to thank the school and Ms. Yang." Words of Zhou's mother are full of gratitude.
Yang Xinan, graduated from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, was introduced into Symphony Orchestra of Hubei Opera and Dance Drama Theatre through talent introduction by the Culture Department in October, 2009. She is a young violinist of the Symphony Orchestra of Hubei Province, and has participated in grand concerts at home and abroad as a violin soloist on many occasions. She has been awarded the Teacher of Excellence, whose students have won highest awards in international and provincial competitions.
So,how does Yang, such an excellent teacher, gave her lessons in WAIS?“ The class should be efficient and full of real substance. She teaches them basic skills and helps them practice etudes with proper methods and great patience. Most importantly, the lesson should stimulate interest and are liked by children.
Zhou Ziran hopes one day to be able to stand on more and larger stages like Ms. Yang and enjoy the highlights brought by music.” Zhou’s mother gave concise and well versed comments. She also told us a few stories that happened in learning the violin.
We’ve been under lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic after having only 6 lessons. Zhou Ziran played the violin on the balcony every day. He played My Motherland and Me the most. Even her mother did not expect that the music would not only accompany the whole family but also soothe the neighbors. “They often came to the balcony and chatted with us.” she said. It was then that Zhou Ziran really developed a relationship with the violin.
After 12 lessons, Zhou Ziran was admitted to Hubei Youth Orchestra (affiliated to Hubei Symphony Orchestra, which is a platform to exchange ideas and learn art for excellent musical talents in Hubei province). Besides, he won the first prize of violin at the district level of the Small Artistic Talents.
"Musical instruments can create happiness. But one cannot feel that musical happiness if he just plays in competitions. We are enjoying the happiness of both music and life.” Zhou’s mother said the string orchestra of WAIS is quietly changing her child.
He made new friends by participating in the orchestra. He learned patience and tolerance during ensembles. While practicing, he understood purpose and persistence. His character has changed for the better.
Nowadays, playing the violin has become a part of Zhou Ziran's life.
He will play the violin every day to practice basic skills. He also uses practice as a break after studying. The whole family binge watched TV series, read books, checked relevant information in learning the Butterfly Lovers and the Legend of the White Snake.
Happy Birthday was sent to family members on their birthdays. His mother was surprised to hear Day Lily when came back from a business trip. On New Year’s Day, Joy of Spring was played. The melodious sound of the violin has narrowed the distance between family members and made the family atmosphere more harmonious.
String Orchestra of WAIS: Promoting children's lifelong happiness and sense of achievement
The string orchestra of WAIS selects students through auditions. Only those students who have a foundation of playing instruments and the ability to read music can participate in the club. The club is equipped with professional string music teachers, who are all from the provincial symphony orchestra.
Violin has excellent tone, which is close to human voice. It also has a wide range and a strong performance. Cello has the rich sonority of timbre, which is good at playing lyrical melodies and expressing deep and complex feelings. Each of the two instruments plays a particularly important role in the orchestra. It is not easy to learn a string instrument. The age of a child also determines whether he or she has a strong ability of understanding and operation or not. Therefore, it is of vital importance for parents to choose a professional teacher for their child.
At WAIS, we will improve children's playing abilities and interest and cultivate their sense of cooperation through teachers’ professional guidance and long-term training.
The school can also provide parents with information and stages of various competitions at home and abroad. Students of WAIS can take part in the Music Grading Test and concerts at school. They can participate in the recording of TV programs and various performances outside the school as well, which have been highly praised.
Finally, back to the question of “Why learn the violin and why join the string orchestra?”
In the opinion of Ms. Yang, she thinks that if one cultivates the perseverance to do the necessary steps well every day, the thinking ability to analyse problems and the creative spirit to solve problems from an early age, one will be a winner and achieve success and happiness in any situation. It is much more important than playing the violin itself.
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Zhou Ziran chases his dreams with love and dedication
He gifted his diligence and hard work to his most beautiful years
The story of him and the violin goes on
The road ahead is still long
May he ride the wind and waves across the sea
May he break through the clouds to the sky and astonish the whole world