When Helen Flint, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Lecturer, asked her students what they had been doing in the semester break, she was surprised and delighted to hear Jiang, Ziying (Fred) and fellow student Sinze, Mo (Mason) are currently part of and regularly performing with the Melbourne Youth Orchestra. We caught up with Fred, Mason, and Helen to hear all about the Orchestra and life at Trinity.
How did you first find out about the Melbourne Youth Orchestra?
Mason: My teacher back in China, she had experienced studying in Melbourne for eight years, and she played music here and knew there was a youth orchestra in Melbourne. I told her I would come to Melbourne to study and she suggested to me to join the Melbourne Youth Orchestra, keep the skills up playing violin. Otherwise, I’m going to stop playing if I’m not in an orchestra.
Fred: I was facing the same problem with my instrument the bassoon. Probably, if I didn't join the Melbourne Youth Orchestra I would have already given up the instrument.
Why did you decide to audition?
Fred: I just wanted to meet some new friends and improve my English. Most of the students in the Orchestra are locals, there are only 4-5 Chinese people in the Orchestra, and we are the only two Trinity students in the Orchestra. My motivation is I would also like to meet some new musical friends and I didn't want to give up my instrument because I have spent so many years playing.
How long have you been playing Fred?
Fred: I played the piano before I played the bassoon and I started to play the piano from when I was four years and six months, then I changed to this instrument from the fifth grade of elementary school.
What about you Mason?
Mason: I’ve just played violin for 12 years.
How much time do you devote to your music, and does this impact your studies?
Mason: I don’t think so. For now, each Wednesday and Friday I spend an hour practicing in the basement of the Gateway building. So, just two hours a week.
What about with the Orchestra?
Mason: We practice three hours every Saturday with the Orchestra, we spend the whole Saturday afternoon every week.
T: What would you like to study at University?
Fred: Commerce at the University of Melbourne.
Mason: Probably Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Melbourne.
So, music is more of a passion or hobby? You don't see it as a career?
Fred: We really love playing our instruments, and we really enjoy classical music, symphonic music, but I don't think it will be a career.
Helen Flint, EAP Lecturer
How did you first find out about the students’ involvement?
Helen: When we came back from the last holiday, the first half hour of the lesson I just asked them to tell me something they did besides sleeping and eating and Fred told us all about his concert in the recital centre.
Fred: We had our second concert of Melbourne Youth Orchestra (MYO) during the last holiday.
Mason: Concerts are always in the holidays, during the Trinity break.
Helen: And he also told me that he went on a state music camp.
Where was that?
Fred: We rehearsed in St Leonard’s College, and the last day we performed at Monash University.
How does it make you feel as teacher to hear about the achievements of your students?
Helen: Very proud, I love finding out about what they do, and when it’s something useful and following a passion I think it is something that should be shared and celebrated.