Qingyu Zhu (Bronze Award Winner)

AY : Where are you from Qingyu?

QZ : I am from Shanghai, China.

AY: When did you first start playing the piano and why did you start?

QZ: I first started playing the piano when I was approximately 5 years old. I remember that I once saw a woman playing the piano on the TV, and I was absolutely amazed by it. Afterwards, I asked my parents if I can learn the instrument, and this was how I entered the world of music.

AY: What do you enjoy the most in your music studies?

QZ: I enjoy the most when I finally can play a beautiful piece well after a long period of practice. At that moment I would feel that I have achieved something great through my efforts and I can enjoy the music I produced.

AY: Could you please tell us how you make your practice more fun and efficient for yourself?

QZ: Firstly, always practice scales and arpeggios before start practicing the pieces, because they are the technical basis to support your pieces, there would be no point in practicing pieces without any technical basis.

Secondly, only practice a certain part of the piece that you are bad at each time, it would be a total waste of time to repeat the whole piece again and again without using your brain since you can’t get any improvements out of that.

Thirdly, singing out the notes while playing is a good technique for me to get to know the notes better and quicker, it helps to quantize my tempo, and it helps me to improve my pitches when singing.

AY: Do you play in a chamber music group or orchestra and if yes, please tell us about your favourite moments playing in the group.

QZ: Yes, I play double bass in the string ensemble in our school. But I only joined for less than a year. It helped me a lot on collaborating with other musicians and improving my own skill as a double bass player. My favorite moment is always when we have our actual performance since I can hear the magnificent music we produced together and I can see the signs of appreciation from our audiences.

AY: How do you balance school academic work with music practice and what is your best advice for efficient time-management?

QZ: I balanced my school academic work with music practice quite well in the past years. I always do my academic homework first when I went home without wasting any time. I am efficient with my academics since I can always learn well and produce high quality works in a small and acceptable amount of time. And after I finish my homework, I start practicing my musical instruments. I am quite fortunate in that my school highly encourages musical developments of the students. I think everyone at my age should be able to balance academic works and music if they are able to work efficiently. My advice is that you should do everything efficiently and don’t waste any of your valuable time. The quality of the work should balance with the time it takes. I see absolutely no point in producing an amazing work but taking 20 hours to do it. I prefer to give myself a time limit whenever doing my works. But I also suggest that students shouldn’t pay too less attention on academics due to musical reasons if they are not planning to go to conservatoires in the future.

AY: Did you find your experience at the 2nd New Talent British International Youth Music Competition a beneficial one? If yes, please tell us why.

QZ: Yes, I find it as a very valuable experience for me. I got to see so many brilliant music professors and each of their lessons were beneficial for me. I also love the passion for music from everyone near me, from the professors and musicians, to the other participants like me. It really influenced me a lot. I especially love the activity of listening to the speech from the headmaster’s wife of the Queen’s College. Her love for music influenced me and gave me the belief that music is a significant part of our lives. I also appreciated the wonderful performances from the other participants in this activity. I am truly amazed by them. Overall, I consider this activity as a beneficial activity for me as a young musician.

AY: Is there anything coming up in the coming months that makes you excited? Please tell us about it!

QZ: I am quite excited in that my piano teacher will be holding a concert for me and other students to perform. It would be a brilliant chance for me to improve my performing techniques and show others what my capabilities and potentials are.

AY: What advice do you have for young musicians who have just started learning an instrument?

QZ: I highly advice them to find a good music teacher and build good basis skills. A good teacher can develop a child’s passion for music. Good technique basis can make their path in the future more easier. Don’t rush too fast forward since it wouldn’t benefit anyone if you don’t learn everything step by step. Technical basis is relevant for every instrument. If you don’t practice from the beginning, you will always have to practice it one day, and it would be easier to start from the beginning. I didn’t build a good technical basis when I was small, and therefore I had to do it all over again when I grew up a bit. And it was chaotic for me to start from the beginning again after years of playing the instrument. Thus, I advice everyone to start from the basics and don’t follow my mistaken path.

Thank you Qingyu!