On persevering to achieve a dream

compose music

My dream job is to be able to play in a symphony orchestra. Although the competition in Germany is very competitive, I’ll try my best to win an audition.

Lance, sharing his experience studying music in Germany

What’s a typical day in Germany like?

I start my day with a good breakfast. After breakfast, I’ll ride the bicycle to school to practice music. Lunch is usually at the school canteen, and after that, I will continue my practice. In the evenings, I will be home to cook dinner and then chill for the rest of the day. Sometimes, I will watch concerts of symphony orchestras.

How did you become interested in your major?

I was hooked on orchestral music when I was 10 years old. Thanks to John Williams’ amazing music in the movie Star Wars, I’ve decided then and there to pursue music. I started by playing the trumpet in my primary school band, and during high school, I played the trombone.

Why did you choose to study abroad?

As an adventurous musician, I have always wanted to travel abroad to experience the different faces of music. 12 years of studying music in Malaysia is enough. It’s sad as Malaysia’s music education hasn’t mature.

How’s your academic journey to Germany like?

After I graduated from a Chinese independent school in Malaysia, I started my Bachelor studies at Soochow University in Taiwan. Then I took a one year break to build up my connections in Malaysia before I continue my Master’s degree in Germany.

Why did you choose a German university over another European one?

In general, German universities (and Hochschule) provide free educations. This makes studying in Germany relatively cheaper than many other countries. I would say that it’s worth the money even when compared to Taiwan or Malaysia.

More importantly, Germany is the birthplace of many notable composers in music history and also host to many international music events.

What do you like about German education?

In general, students here know when to study and when to relax. They know what they’re doing, and what they want to do. I like this student environment, and I find that I have a more balanced lifestyle here.

The younger generation in Malaysia is spoon-fed a lot. I find many of the subjects in school to be unnecessary.

How will you compare German and Malaysian education?

Every field in Germany is respected and students are free to pursue the career of their choice. In Germany, education is very hands-on. Students will have to do at least one semester of internship to practice what they have learned. The given tasks are always related to their studies. Best of all, the internship allowance covers the living expenses.

What can you say about students in Germany?

They are more independent and they respect everyone. My classmates and instructors made me feel welcomed too.

How did you get used to the German lifestyle?

I try my best to adapt to the local lifestyle. For example, Germans prefer bread while Malaysians love having rice with curry or noodles as breakfast.

What major challenges did you face to be able to fit your new lifestyle?

As I missed Malaysian food, I learned to cook my own meals. That is time-consuming. As a result, I learn to better manage my time. Having said that, I do enjoy cooking.

How do you manage your monthly budget in Germany?

Budget-wise, Germany is student-friendly. There are student prices for museums and concerts, and that’s a big saving!

What are your future plans?

My dream job is to be able to play in a symphony orchestra. Although the competition in Germany is very competitive, I’ll try my best to win an audition. Even now while I’m studying, I have been going for auditions with orchestras in this region.

10 years from now, I can see myself helping to develop Malaysia’s music scene. We’re really lacking when it comes to music and culture.