Graduate Story – Howard L

At Harrow Beijing, the student profile is characterized by diversity. We encourage holistic development, which is reflected in not limiting students’ growth paths to a single academic achievement. Here, you will encounter top performers in various fields. Whether in science, arts, sports, or humanities, every Harrow student has the opportunity to discover and develop their own talents, explore and practice in different areas, and find their interests and life direction.

In this issue, let’s get to know Howard L and see how he grew into a musical talent and made his way to the world’s largest independent contemporary music school—Berklee College of Music in the United States.

Berklee College of Music

Contemporary Writing and Production

Join Harrow Beijing in Year 8

Seeking Self-Identity in Uncertain Times

When Howard first enrolled in Harrow Beijing, he wasn’t considered as a “good student” in the traditional sense. Like many of his peers at the time, he struggled to find his place.

“The inclusive environment at Harrow Beijing allows students of all personalities to fit in well. The teachers and students are very friendly and supportive. The teachers are also very dedicated and responsible, guiding me to gradually integrate into the environment and get on the right track,” Howard said.

In addition, Harrow Beijing offers hundreds of extracurricular activities and student clubs to help students discover their interests and find avenues for deeper exploration. It’s also an excellent way for students to integrate into the campus community for learning and living. As one of the founding members of Harrow TV, Howard developed his interests here. “My interest in music originated from film scores. I also enjoy photography and worked as an editor at Harrow TV, which gave me a new understanding of contemporary music,” Howard shared with us.

It’s Not That I Chose Music, But Music Chose Me

Howard is particularly fond of a quote by Grammy-winning American bassist Victor Wooten, which goes, “It’s not that you choose music, but music chooses you.”

Choosing to pursue a degree in Contemporary Writing and Production, Howard sees it as a natural fusion of his interests and educational background. His early experience learning classical piano made music an integral part of his life. Watching the movie “Whiplash” in Year 9 sparked his deep love for drumming. From then on, Howard began drumming and studied arranging, composition, bass, and mixing during his GCSE years.

Berklee College of Music values applicants’ comprehensive musical literacy and skills. Howard, with his perfect pitch, demonstrated exceptional musical qualities in his application. “For my A Level courses, I chose subjects that interested me: music, media, and mathematics. Harrow Beijing encourages personalized development, allowing me to study what I wanted. It’s this learning atmosphere and environment that provided me with the space to grow into a versatile musician and allowed Berklee College of Music to see my capabilities,” Howard said.

Harrow Beijing’s A Level curriculum is rooted in the renowned Harrow School in the UK and is taught by teachers with extensive experience in A Level education worldwide. Compared to other international curriculum systems, A Levels allow students to explore subject knowledge more deeply according to their own interests. Harrow Beijing’s A Level program is recognized by top universities around the world, including those in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, for its depth, rigor, and high quality.

In addition to high-quality courses, Harrow Beijing’s music department boasts first-class, professional teaching equipment. As a student in the music program, Howard notes that the advanced hardware facilities have provided him with significant assistance in his daily practice.

Falling in Love with Music at Harrow Beijing

Howard believes that the fusion of music and life is a very cool thing. “Many people are constantly searching for the meaning of existence, and music has helped me find the direction for the future and the meaning of life,” Howard said.

However, Howard, who started learning classical piano at a young age, didn’t initially fall in love with music; in fact, he was somewhat resistant. It wasn’t until he enrolled at Harrow Beijing that, through various opportunities to perform in large-scale productions, he began to truly enjoy music and understand the significance of being a musician, which he realized wasn’t about showcasing oneself but serving the music itself. “Before coming to Harrow Beijing, I didn’t have the chance to participate in large-scale performances. Every time I stepped onto the stage and heard the applause, the indescribable joy made me understand the power of music,” Howard said.

The annual musical production in the Upper School is the highlight of Harrow Beijing’s calendar, where Howard has taken on roles such as keyboardist and drummer over the past three years. Integrated with language arts, performing, and music, the performing arts education at Harrow Beijing is one of its teaching specialties. Offering courses in drama, music, art, and a variety of extracurricular activities, Harrow Beijing provides students with extensive opportunities to experience the charm of performing arts, while also gaining knowledge, expression skills, and building confidence.

“Musicals have allowed me to experience the charm of combining music with literature. Composing music for musicals requires not only instrumental skills but also a deep understanding of the storyline and emotional investment. During rehearsals, teams collaborate, striving for the success of the shared project,” Howard said.

Through practice on various stages at school, Howard has also developed a strong and stable emotional core, bidding farewell to feelings of panic and fear, allowing him to fully immerse himself in performances. This positive mindset has extended to his academic and personal life, enabling him to face academic pressure and other emergencies with greater confidence.

In conclusion, if Howard were to give advice to younger students, he would say: “When you want to do something and others may say you can’t, don’t easily give up. Stick to the path you believe is right; there is no wrong road. Maintain enough effort and interest, keep learning new things, and that’s enough.”

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