Summer Course 2017

AY Academy Virtuoso Course Summer 2017

Review Video

Virtuoso Course Certificate

Virtuoso Course students received Course Certificates which were signed by all masterclass professors, AY Academy mentors, Princess Alreem and AY Academy founder Amy Yuan.


Students also received hand-written comments from masterclass professors, AY Academy mentor and AY Academy founder Amy Yuan.

Virtuoso Course Students’ Parents’ Comments

AY Academy Virtuoso Course has been the most meaningful experience for my son Haichu, it has made a very strong impression on him. Haichu not only learnt the real purpose of playing the piano, he also experienced the huge energy one receives from music and arts. Haichu met many eminent figures in British society thanks to Ms. Yuan’s impressive personal connections and was very inspired by these meetings. Virtuoso Course was filled with colourful learning activities, they helped the students to get to know Britain through cultural customs, arts and society and even helped the students to develop deep fondness for the country and would like to come to Britain to study! We are very grateful to AY Academy for
giving Haichu a perfect and unforgettable summer. Our whole family feels very lucky to have got to know AY Academy and
Ms. Yuan. Thank you Ms. Yuan!

——Student Yang’s Mother

This summer, my nine-year-old son took part in AY Academy Virtuoso Course and benefited hugely from it.

The first time we saw AY Academy was on WaiTan Education’s wechat. We were immediately interested and thought an in-depth music-themed course would be great for my
son who is learning to play the violin. We got in touch with Ms. Yuan and trust was quickly built between us after knowing
Ms. Yuan’s education background in China and Britain and her teaching ethos. Three months before the course started, Ms. Yuan and my son talked a few times on Skype and she helped him choose his masterclass repertoire and taught him how to practice his scales and pieces.

In August, we took our son to Imperial College’s student accommodation in London where AY Academy Virtuoso Course was in residence. The accommodation building has very strict security rules and every door needs a resident card to access, we felt that our son will be very safe living here. There were kitchen, study
room, music room, games room and laundry in the residence so the students have everything they needed.

Virtuoso Course duly started on 3rd August. Ms. Yuan took them to practise, to have one-to-one masterclasses, to listen to concert and many more amazing activities. The students had a rare in-depth look into life in London as a musician and got to know the connections between all art forms. My son has learnt that architecture is frozen music, that gentlemen should always
think for others and that every practice session should have purpose. My son had his birthday in the middle of the course.
Ms. Yuan ordered him a lovely cake and arranged a birthday party for him, he was so happy. Every evening, the student wrote down their thoughts on the day and shared it on AY Academy’s wechat account. Ms. Yuan shared photos and videos
of the students every day in the parents chat group. Students and Ms. Yuan formed beautiful friendships, when I asked my
son if he missed home, he’d always say ‘I don’t have time to miss home, we are very busy everyday.’

Now my son has come back for two weeks, he is still asking:’ Mum, can I go to England again with Ms. Yuan this winter?’. When I look through the photos of the course, the children are always smiling, they really had a very happy and rewarding summer holiday, we feel very happy to get to know AY on our way.

——Student Zhang’s Mother

Virtuoso Course DAY ONE

One-to-One Violin and Piano Lessons

British Etiquette Lesson and English Afternoon Tea

Tour of Wallace Collection

First Impression of London

One-to-One Violin and Piano Lessons

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AY Academy violin and piano mentors give one-to-one lessons to AY Academy Virtuoso Course students to help them get ready for the course student concert at Royal Albert Hall.

Virtuoso Course students learnt about high-efficiency practice methods and improved on music vocabulary and expressions. Students found the lessons hugely beneficial, they realised that good practice methods can make their daily practice more efficient and also make it more fun!

British Etiquette and English Afternoon Tea


AY Academy is very happy to be able to invite British etiquette expert Sasha H to come and teach Virtuoso Course students.

Students learnt how to behave when meeting people, how to have good table manners, how to talk with people from different backgrounds and how to be a gentleman. Students expressed how much they appreciated the opportunity to learn about British etiquette and hope to behave more like a gentleman in the future and contribute to society.

Sasha H went to Marlborough School and was invited to Shanghai Debutant Ball 2013.

Tour of Wallace Collection

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Wallace Collection is a art collection in London open to the public, housed at Hertford House in Manchester Square, the former townhouse of the Seymour family, Marquesses of Hertford. It comprises a world-famous collection of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with magnificent holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms and armour, porcelain and Old Master paintings arranged into 30 galleries.

First Impression of London

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Students had a busy, fulfilling and happy day as their first day in London. Apart from lessons and class, students visited Daunt Book’s beautiful Marylebone store and stood at the entrance of Royal Academy of Music. They had a great time in our hall of residence playing games before bedtime.

Virtuoso Course DAY TWO

One-to-One Violin and Piano Lessons

Round-table Talk with Former Chief Executive of ABRSM

One-to-One Violin and Piano Lessons

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AY Academy violin and piano mentors give one-to-one lessons to AY Academy Virtuoso Course students to help them get ready for the course student concert at Royal Albert Hall.

Virtuoso Course students learnt about high-efficiency practice methods and improved on music vocabulary and expressions. Students found the lessons hugely beneficial, they realised that good practice methods can make their daily practice more efficient and also make it more fun!

Round-table Talk with Former Chief Executive of ABRSM 

AY Academy is honoured to invite Mr. Richard Morris to come and talk to the students.

Students listened carefully to Mr. Morris and learnt about the aim and purpose of ABRSM exams. The following is the students’ comment on the talk:

Student Zhang:“Mr. Morris talked to us about violin and piano skills and showed us books on music. “

Student Yang:“I learnt so much from this round-table talk. We talked about how to correctly practise the piano and what to look out for during exams and performances. The real purpose of ABRSM exams are to help us to understand music and to express ourselves freely in music. Every grade is like a milestone, it makes us feel rewarded and fulfilled. We also talked about sigh-reading. It is not aimed to give us a hard time but to teach us to be practical with music. In the future, if I go to a dinner party I can sight-read a piece and play for my friends.


Virtuoso Course Student Concert at Royal Albert Hall

Escape Room

Video Call and Present Exchange with Princess Alreem

Virtuoso Course Student Concert at Royal Albert Hall

Ready for Royal Albert Hall!


Arriving at Royal Albert Hall


Prince of Wales Room

Rehearsal and welcoming Princess Alreem’s PA



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Royal Albert Hall

AY Academy hosts Virtuoso Course Student Concert at Royal Albert Hall. Students were super excited for the concert especially after the one-to-one lessons with AY Academy mentors.

Escape Room 

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Lunch at Aubaine Restaurant

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Exchange ideas with AY Academy photographer during lunch



After lunch, AY Academy Virtuoso Course came to the escape room situated in Tower Bridge, ready to complete a mission! Students listened to the rules and task intently and were very proactive in the process of completing the task. Our team finished the mission in time to get an award card.

Video Call and Present Exchange with Princess Alreem

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Students video call with Princess Alreem and thanked her for the thoughtful arrangements she made for them. Princess Alreem prepared meaningful presents for the students and enclosed a letter which encourages the students to chase their dreams and always aim higher. Students also prepared thoughtful presents for Princess Alreem. Her Highness is very grateful for the presents and wish to meet the students when she visits China next year.



Drifting box and Princess Alreem’s letter inside

Students’ Thoughts of the Day

Student Zhang:“We first went to Royal Albert Hall to perform. All my hard work in the practice paid off, I am so happy. Then we went to the escape room, there are many hidden away clues and tactics, I think I am more clever now. ”

Student Yang:“I performed Allegro, Intermezzo and Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the Prince of Wales Room in Royal Albert Hall. I had delicious beef steak for lunch, amazing. Then we went to escape room, there were a lot of hidden clues and poems, I couldn’t understand most of the English so I wasn’t very useful, part from my constantly curious hands which found some clues. Dinner we had some amazing chocolate tarts, I am so full.”


British Museum

Royal Albert Hall BBC Proms

British Museum

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British MuseumBritish Museum) British Museum is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection, numbering some 8 million works, is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759, in Montagu House, on the site of the current building. Its expansion over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of an expanding British colonial footprint and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the British Museum of Natural History in South Kensington in 1881 (it is nowadays simply called the Natural History Museum, and is separate and independent). In 1973, the British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the British Museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and as with all other national museums in the United Kingdom it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions.

Virtuoso Course students had an in-depth tour of the museum and were amazed by the extent of human history and wisdom.

BBC Proms

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BBC Proms is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in central London, England, UK. Founded in 1895, seasons now consist of concerts in Albert Hall, chamber music concerts at Cadogan Hall, additional Proms in the Park events across the UK on the Last Night of the Proms, and associated educational and children’s events. By 2009 the total number of concerts had reached a hundred. The season is a significant event in British culture. In classical music, Jiří Bělohlávek described the Proms as “the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival”.


The Proms first started in 1895 at the Queen’s Hall. Founder Robert Newman thought the cheap standing tickets are the informal atmosphere would suit and attract people who don’t normally go to classical concerts.

Conductor Henry Joseph Wood is the person most closely related to the Proms. He was the conductor for the first concert and expanded the repertoire in the future concerts. In 1920s, the Proms has become a major music festival where compositions by Claude Debussy and Richard Strauss and other contemporary composers were performed.

In 1927, BBC took over the Proms. In 1930, the newly formed BBC Symphony Orchestra started to perform at the Proms. The concerts stopped during the Second World War and the Queen’s Hall was destroyed in the war. The Proms concerts started again after the war and moved to its current venue Royal Albert Hall.

​Students were amazed by this grand occasion. First half of the concert was the world premier of a contemporary piece composed by Mark Simpson and the second half is Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony. The great contrast between the two pieces were something new to the students, they realised that music doesn’t have a box to fit into, it can be any shape or form and the only important thing is to express yourself.

Students’ Thought of the Day

Student Zhang:“I saw silver and gold coins from ancient Greece and British Museum. At the Proms I listened to two really good pieces of music.”

Student Yang:“We went to BBC Proms, it was a very nice concert?. I understand that we should arrive 15 mins early for a concert otherwise we risk bothering other audiences to stand up for us. We should also go to the loo before the concert starts.


One-to-One Masterclass with Royal Academy of Music Piano Professor

Consolidation of Piano Masterclass and Preparation for Violin Masterclass

One-to-One Masterclass with Royal Academy of Music Piano Professor


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Royal Academy of Music Piano Professor

AY Academy Virtuoso Course’s Piano one-to-one masterclasses are given by Royal Academy of Music Piano Professor Nicola.

Virtuoso Course students learnt that good techniques should serve the music. The reason why we practise scales and etudes is not to play like a machine, but to be able to express our musical ideas with freedom. This understanding will help the students to have more personal interpretation and expression in their music. Professor Nicola wrote masterclass comments for the students and signed their Virtuoso Course certificates.

Piano Masterclass Consolidation and Preparation for Violin Masterclass


After the piano one-to-one masterclass, AY Academy piano mentor gave one-to-one lessons to the piano students to help them consolidate what they learnt in the masterclasses and to answer their questions.

Meanwhile, violin students had one-to-one lessons with AY Academy violin mentor and rehearsed with AY Academy piano mentor for the next day’s violin masterclass. It was the first time the violin student ever played with piano accompaniment, not to mention it was the wonderful Royal Academy of Music alumna Mina. The student felt very lucky and excited.

Students’ Thought of the Day

Student Zhang:“At the piano masterclass, I learnt that we should relax our wrists when playing the piano. In the afternoon, I had lessons and played with piano accompaniment for the first time. It was a completely new feeling, sounds really good! It also made me enjoy the piece more. In the evening, we had Chinese food, it tasted like home cooking in Beijing.

Student Yang:“In the past few days’ studies and travels, I learnt a lot. I also learnt so much in the masterclasses. There is a great difference between piano teachers in China and England, Chinese teachers focus more on techniques and English teachers focus more on music. I want to play more musically instead of playing like a machine. I understand now that techniques are used to make music. We can only play nice music if we understand what the composer is trying to say.


One-to-One Violin Masterclass with Leader of BBC Orchestra

British Science Museum

Birthday Dinner for Virtuoso Course Student

One-to-One Violin Masterclass with Leader of BBC Orchestra



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AY Academy Virtuoso Course violin one-to-one masterclass was given by the leader of BBC Orchestra Nathaniel.

Virtuoso Course students learnt in the masterclass that we as musicians need to be responsible for every note we play. Our job is to make each note sound beautiful. This as an aim, we need to have strict standard for ourselves in our technique training. Bow hold, violin posture, bow stroke, intonation and so on are all very important. To make sure that our music moves people, we have a lot of things to consider such as the position of our bow, the strength in our arm and the starts and ends of our musical phrases. Nathaniel saw great potential in our violin student and thought the student very lucky to have learnt what he learnt today at the age of 9. Nathaniel signed Virtuoso Course certificates for the students and wrote comment on the masterclass.

AY Academy piano mentor Mina accompanied the student during the masterclass which made the experience even more special for the student.

British Science Museum


In the afternoon, Virtuoso Course students came to British Science Museum. The exhibition covers everything from aerospace, aviation, motor, engines to nuclear energy. Students were very interested and didn’t want to leave! We saw a quote from Russia’s father of aerospace – Tsiolkovsky from 1890s: “Earth is the cradle of human mind, but we can’t live in a cradle forever.” Students were deeply inspired by this and admire Tsiolkovsky’s vision. Humans have broken boundaries generations after generations, we believe that our students’ generation will create even more miracles during their time and perhaps we will finally make living on another planet a reality.

Birthday Dinner for Virtuoso Course Student

Happy Birthday!

We wish Simba a very happy birthday and may this year bring happiness and joy!

Students’ Thoughts of the Day

Student Zhang:“At the masterclass, I learnt that my posture is really important. I should make beautiful sound when I play the violin and put emotions in the music. Thanks to our piano mentor Mina for accompanying me. At the science museum, I saw Apollo spaceship and feel that we can always venture into the unknown and nothing is impossible. Today is also my birthday, Ms. Yuan ordered a big cake for me and we had a very nice meal with our piano mentor Mina and Ms. Yuan. When the waiter walked towards us holding a cake full of lighted candles, I was so surprised! I blew all the candles and was so happy.

Student Yang:“Today I sat in a one-to-one violin masterclass, I learnt some musical expressions and that music is all connected. We learn from each other, in communicating with masterclass professors my English improved massively and was even able to translate for my fellow student. It was very pretty near where the masterclass professor lived. In the afternoon, we went to the science museum, this is my favourite museum among all the ones I’e been to. There were a lot of experience areas in the museum and they had my favourite planes! I got to see and understand the structure of the planes and the parts of their engines. This has inspired me to think about our future and I believe that we can break boundaries again and go into space. The birthday cake was a great surprise, so pretty and so yummy, we all had a lovely dinner.


Oxford University

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university located in Oxford, England. It has no known date of foundation, but there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two “ancient universities” are frequently jointly referred to as “Oxbridge”. The university is made up of a variety of institutions, including 38 constituent colleges and a full range of academic departments which are organised into four divisions. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. Being a city university, it does not have a main campus and instead its buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. Most undergraduate teaching at Oxford is organised around weekly tutorials at the colleges and halls, supported by classes, lectures and laboratory work provided by university faculties and departments.

The much anticipated trip to Oxford has finally come! It was the first time the students took a train in England.

Students understood the collegiate system of Oxford quickly and thought the fact that the university is a city is wonderful! They adored the buildings and historical atmosphere and would really like to come to study at Oxford.

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Students’ Thought of the Day

Student Zhang:“Today we went to Oxford, we visited the castle where Harry Potter shot their film. We also went to the library and I bought a scarf. A very happy day!?

Student Yang:“It was a great trip to Oxford, though the weather was not great. We went to a lot of colleges and I learnt a lot. I remember Christ Church college the most, its dining hall is the scene in Harry Potter. It looks even better in real life than on the film.


National Gallery

Concert at St. Martin in the Fields

Big Ben and Westminster

Meeting Viscountess

National Gallery

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The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The Gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.[4] Its collection belongs to the government on behalf of the British public, and entry to the main collection is free of charge. It is among the most visited art museums in the world, after the Louvre, the British Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Virtuoso Course students went through the museum with AY Academy piano and violin mentors and had their questions answers regarding the artworks. They understood the link between all art forms and found musical inspiration in the paintings.

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Concert at St. Martin in the Fields

In the church of St. Martin in the Fields, students enjoyed a chamber music concert presented by the winner of Royal Overseas League. Repertoire included Beethoven and Shostakovich.

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Playing at the fountain after lunch

Big Ben and Westminster

Students were very excited to come to Big Ben and Westminster after seeing them everywhere on postcards and books. It was impossible to take one bad picture here.


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Meeting with Viscountess

AY Academy is honoured to invite Viscountess of Hinchingbrooke to come and meet with AY students. Julie is spends most of her time managing Mapperton estate and teaching yoga. Julie asked about the students’ time in England and talked about her children with AY students. (Julie is a AY parent)

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Viscountess and AY students


Big hug from Viscountess

Students’ Thought of the Day

Student Zhang:“Today we went to the National Gallery, there were ? and ?,very interesting. After the concert, we went to big ben and rolled around on the grass, so happy. Then we met Viscountess, she was very friendly and asked about our time in UK. I feel very happy and proud to be able to travel and study with Ms. Yuan.”

Student Yang:“Today we went to National Gallery, we saw Van Gogh’s Sunflower and paintings by Da Vinci. I understood a lot of the English descriptions and learnt a lot of new words. I also understood what the painter was trying to say with their paintings. Then we listened to a concert, very nice. We finally went to Big Ben and I was amazed by the sight of the grand building. We also saw Thames River, not as clear as I imagined. It is my favourite day today.


Exclusive Visit to Royal Ballet School

Romeo and Juliet Ballet at Southbank Centre”

Exclusive Visit to Royal Ballet School

Royal Ballet School is one of the best ballet institutions in the world. Founded in 1913, it is attached to the Royal Ballet. Students go through strict selection process to enter the school and many graduates go on to the Royal Ballet or top Ballet companies in the world.

The school teaches French, Maths and PE and has professional gyms and physic centres for the students and staff.

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AY Academy students toured around the Royal Ballet School under the lead of teachers from the school and sat in three different types of ballet classes. They felt the connection between the different types of performing arts, strength, accuracy and fluency are all important in both ballet and music. Students were amazed at how much ballet students work every day and appreciate that hard work will always pay off.

AY students sat in ballet classes at Royal Ballet School


AY students at Royal Ballet School

Ballet”Romeo and Juliet” at Southbank Centre

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AY Academy founder Amy Yuan with Virtuoso Course students at Southbank

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AY Academy Virtuoso Course enjoy ballet performance at Southbank Centre

After visiting Royal Ballet School, AY students and mentors came to enjoy ballet performance of Romeo and Juliet at Royal Festival Hall. Students saw how the hard work put in by the students at Royal Ballet School transform to the amazing performance energy on stage. You can only seem effortless when you put in the effort.

Students’ Thought of the Day

Student Zhang:“In the morning we went to Royal Ballet School and watched many ballet classes. They are so good at dancing! At lunchtime, we went to play at the fountain. In the evening, we went to watch ballet performance. There were many episodes and I found the performance very funny at times.

Student Yang:“We went to Royal Ballet School, the students were amazing dancers. This experience taught me that no matter what we learn we need to focus and put in the hard work.


Cambridge University

Visit Etiquette Teacher’s Home

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s third-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two medieval universities share many common features and are often referred to jointly as “Oxbridge”. Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions which include 31 constituent colleges and over 100 academic departments organised into six schools. Cambridge University Press, a department of the university, is the world’s oldest publishing house and the second-largest university press in the world. The university also operates eight cultural and scientific museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, as well as a botanic garden. Cambridge’s libraries hold a total of around 15 million books, eight million of which are in Cambridge University Library, a legal deposit library.

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The trip to Oxford left a strong impression on the AY students and they couldn’t wait to come and see Cambridge. Oxford and Cambridge are similar in many ways but also different in many ways. AY students dream of studying at one of these two beautiful cities and we wish them the best of luck!

Visit to Etiquette Teacher’s Home

This evening, AY students were invited to our etiquette teacher’s home. AY students used proper greeting phrases and behaved very well as polite guests.

Students’ Thought of the Day

Student Zhang:“Today we went to Cambridge. There were colleges and library. I bought many souvenirs for my parents and friends.

Student Yang:“Today we went to Cambridge, it is very different from London, the pace of living is much slower.

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