Following in the Footsteps of My Music Teachers at YCIS

Jingtian Ngiaw, Alumna, Class of 2015, Gubei Campus

I’m from Malaysia and I’ve been studying at YCIS for 11 years. Although I’m excited about graduation, I’ve made fantastic memories at the school. A lot of the programmes at YCIS helped me develop as the person that I am today.

The education here has been really great for me. YCIS focuses on the bilingual aspect of education and they focus on developing a well-rounded student. Since English is my 2nd language, the courses here really helped me develop my English skills since I was young. The Chinese programme here is considered to be the best in Shanghai international schools so the school gave me a chance to develop my Chinese skills as well. Also, other than learning the typical Maths, Science, and Humanities, I have learnt a lot of other things like History, Geography, and Music. Even though I didn’t take all of these subjects in IB, over the years I’ve gained a lot of knowledge in a range of subjects and I believe that this is really important for a student. In the IB programme, I focused mainly on developing as a musician and my favourite class was IB Music Higher Level.

Music is really my passion. Although my first instrument is the piano, which I learnt prior to YCIS, the school’s Co-curricular offerings helped to develop me as the musician that I am today. Since Year 3 until now, I’ve participated in choirs, bands, and orchestras. I believe that for any musician who wants to “make it” in this world, it’s important to experience different types of things. In choirs, I learnt how to work with other people by creating harmonies. In orchestra, I learnt to develop teamwork. Overall, the music programme at YCIS has been a huge part of my life. I’ve even made a lot of memories with the piano on campus. It’s been the piano that I’ve been using since I’ve attended school at the Gubei Campus. I’ve played it at concerts, different events such as IGCSE showcase night, and will play it at my own graduation.

My greatest achievement at YCIS is how I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone as a musician. One instance I can remember is in Year 10, when my teacher conducted an African music lesson and he encouraged me to play a percussive instrument with a really complex rhythm. I couldn’t get it for the first 10 minutes but my teacher was really supportive and he actually coached me through it. In the end, I did get the rhythm, and it taught me I could do a lot of things that I never before thought possible.

I was also the president of the Environmental Club at YCIS. The Environmental Club focuses on promoting environmental awareness around school. The club also volunteers at and donates money to the Million Tree Project where we plant 1000 trees in Inner Mongolia. I had the experience to participate in the trip last year when I was in Year 12. It was a wonderful experience for me as I had the chance to actually visit a place that needed help environmentally.

School trips were fantastic at YCIS, especially our Thailand Trip in Year 12! I also loved our Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) trip to Yangshou in Year 9. Through EOTC, every year, YCIS offers a trip to each Year level to a location in China where we can experience different cultures and learn about local activities. One of the best memories that I have from Yangshou is when we actually cycled from a village to a place where we were surrounded by mountains and we could see all the stars at night. I actually saw fireflies for the first time there ever! School trips at YCIS are really a great experience because the school makes sure that the international students understand the country that they live in by immersing them in their cultures and encouraging them to do activities that they wouldn’t normally do in everyday life.

The international environment here at YCIS is fantastic. Throughout the years, I’ve met people from many different countries who have been brought up differently from me. By coming to YCIS, I’ve learnt how to interact with people who don’t share the same beliefs as I do, and accept one another.

I’m going to miss the Music Department the most after I leave YCIS. I like to say that the Music Department is my second home in Shanghai. The teachers here are really nice and passionate about what they do and they have helped broaden my skills as a musician. When a teacher is passionate about what they do, the students see it, and enthusiasm is contagious. Their enthusiasm has actually inspired me to pursue music education in university. In the fall, I will be attending Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester and I’m very excited to begin this new chapter. When I go to university, I plan to follow the path of my teachers at YCIS and become a music teacher one day. I hope to work as a music teacher in the future who can also create an inspiring environment for aspiring musicians like I’ve had at YCIS.

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