A group of Chinese students from a music camp were recently rewarded for their good work with school music trips to the University of Washington, where they had the chance to display their skills to the local students. 

School music trips are usually week-long visits, and the students on this one were treated to theirs in Seattle, where the eight Chinese exchange students were also allowed to experience the life of a touring music star. In between sightseeing, improving their English and attending concerts, they were asked to take highly intensive classes and to put on solo performances in front of an audience, in order to showcase their abilities. 

The group, which consisted of six flautists, a saxophonist and a pianist, were brought over in partnership with the local American International Education Development Council, as a way to allow them to experience American culture first-hand, widen their horizons, and give them a taste of an international exchange programme, school music trips and of a potential academic outlet. 

Though nervous, the students responded well to the initiative, noticing no more than a few differences between their methods of learning back home and those encouraged by the professors at the University of Washington. Curiously, the main difference had to do with Chinese teachers prioritizing technique over feeling, whilst American instructors tended to do the opposite. The students pointed out, however, that the famed ‘Chinese rigour’ is, to a large extent, a myth, as otherwise their learning at home or abroad did not differ all that much. 

Accompanying the eight students — of which a couple were impressed enough to consider enrolling in the University of Washington — was former pupil Zhao Rong-Chen, who graduated in 2009 with a Doctorate of Music and Arts. Chen welcomed the return to his alma mater and was happy to reunite with some of his former professors, as well as to see his own students learning from them. 

To book school music trips, contact School Travel Service at http://www.ststravel.co.uk/study-tour or call them on 0870 240 6828.