Overcoming Shyness with Music
In this edition of Student Blogs, we speak with Year 13 student Liyong Wang, recipient of the Yew Chung International School of Beijing Performing Arts Scholarship, about the scholarship process and tips for students looking to apply. Also, as a member of the popular student rock band CHROMA, Liyong shares how he first became interested in music, the story of his favourite performance, and what he plans to do after graduation.
Please Introduce Yourself
I’m Liyong, from Malaysia. I’m 18 this year, and I’ve been living in Beijing since 2008 when we moved from Kuala Lumpur. I’ve been a student at YCIS Beijing since I was in Year 4.
What first got you interested in the arts?
It was music. I really enjoyed listening to all sorts of music when I was young. I didn’t know what it was at that time, I just knew I liked it. Because of this, I started learning guitar, and then my passion for music grew.
Can you tell us about CHROMA?
I’m now a part of a student rock bank, CHROMA, which is fun because the people I play with are really good. There are two singers, Katie Zhang and myself, and we alternate between duets and singing individually. We’ll decide which songs we’re going to perform, and then we match the vocals with which type of voice would best fit that song.
Do you have a performance that you’re proudest of?
The performance that first comes to mind is the IGCSE recital. I did a song called I Miss You, by Frank Ocean. It was challenging for me because I’d never sung a whole song with just a piano as accompaniment. All of my previous performances were with the band, and having a lot of other instruments could cover up any mistakes that I made. But being solo on stage, the audience could hear everything I did, including any missteps. But in the end, I was pretty happy with the performance.
How has the YCIS Beijing Arts Programme influenced you as a person?
It has helped me with my confidence a lot. Before I began performing, I was very shy. I would get nervous talking even in front of a small crowd, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to sing in front of people. But over time, I got used to the audiences and being the centre of attention. The school’s Arts Programme gave me many opportunities to perform in front of the school, which greatly improved my confidence.
Could you please explain the scholarship application process?
First, you have to fill in a form and choose which category of scholarship you would like to apply for. I chose Performing Arts. The next step was to write down what instruments I played, at what level, and to highlight any achievements or awards during the past year.
If your application is approved, the scholarship committee will offer you a chance for an interview. Mine was in the auditorium, where I was met by two teachers who asked why I applied for the scholarship and what I would do with the scholarship if I were able to receive it. Then I was asked to perform any piece that I liked.
What strategy did you use to demonstrate that you were a suitable candidate for the scholarship?
I tried to show my personality through the performances I chose. One piece was purely guitar and singing – which I felt highlighted my strengths. The other piece was with the piano, which I chose in order to show that I am constantly learning new things and trying to improve myself.
How has your experience been at YCIS Beijing?
I’ve been here for most of my life, and I feel like the people are very friendly. When new students join, they’re instantly welcomed into the YCIS family.
We don’t really have clicks in our Secondary school. Of course, there are groups of people who share similar interests and will spend time together because of that – but it’s not that different groups of people don’t communicate with each other. Instead, it feels as though we’re one big group, with pockets of individual interests.
What are your plans for the future?
I do still plan on pursuing my passion for music. I’ll continue to write and perform music, however, I would like to focus my university studies on another area of interest – graphic design. I plan on going to an art school, and would like to apply for a graphic design major.
What tips do you have for other students applying for a YCIS Beijing scholarship?
Showcase your ability to the fullest, even if it’s something you don’t think you can do well, just try – because it shows that you’re constantly pushing yourself. I didn’t learn piano when I was younger, but I at least tried learning it in Upper Secondary school. I think that it’s important to push yourself, and then to show the scholarship committee that you’re always trying to improve.