Playing from the Heart: Years 1-3 Violin Concert
On Thursday 25 April, Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing) held its annual Years 1-3 Violin Concert. YCIS Beijing's young students treated their families and school staff to a magical musical performance. Invariably, the standard was exceptional due to the school's extraordinary violin programme. We speak to dedicated violin teachers Aili Ai 艾丽 and Cindy Guo 郭晓霞 about this year's concert, YCIS Beijing's violin programme and the benefits of learning the violin from such an early age.
Please introduce the violin programme.
All students at YCIS Beijing are required to take-up the violin from the start of Year 1. Students who join the school’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) programme actually receive their first lesson during the end of their K4 year. While we hold a minimum of two lessons a week for our violin students, many children take advantage of additional lessons offered daily, in the mornings before the start of school. Our students are required to take violin classes in the first three years of primary school as part of our core curriculum and often choose to continue, even into secondary school. We believe this is down to our focus on developing a love of music in all of our students. Talent, skill, commitment and determination are important, but love, cultivating a love of music in our students for us is essential.
The Suzuki method guides our approach to teaching the violin. However, we supplement this framework with other effective pedagogies, terminologies and learning methods from a range of sources.
While the annual violin concert is the high-point of the year for our students, we often lend their talents to other school events. For example, last year they performed at Global Community Day (GCD), the Seeds of Hope Concert and the school's Christmas celebrations.
Tell us about this year’s concert.
All students in Years 1-3 attended, even new students that joined as late as March or April. In past years all performances were organised by year, but this year we mixed things up a bit. We had year 2 and 3 play together to create mentorship opportunities.
How long did the students prepare?
The students worked very hard for nearly three months, meeting four days a week to practice together before classes and after lunch. These daily practices at school were voluntary. While results matter, our focus is always on teaching the children to enjoy playing. For us, the most essential part of our job is cultivating a love of music in our students.
“Delight, enjoyment, pleasure and doing your best is the important part of practising, not perfection”. - Aili Ai 艾丽
“Yes, this is true, but after three months of intense practice preparing for the concert the students have learned if there is no pain, there is no gain.” - Cindy Guo 郭晓霞
Congratulations to our extraordinary violinists on a job well done! For a full list of the songs played at this year’s concert click here. If the below video does not work click here to view a video of last year’s concert.