We are happy to share our series of interviews highlighting our International Old Alleynians, or IOA in short, namely, our Dulwich College Beijing alumni. Their childhood and teenage years at DCB behind them, they were happy to share fond memories of DCB and tell us about their journey since then.
Let’s get to know Jason RYU (DCB 2020), who was interviewed by Cecilia T, Dulwich College Beijing 2022 student prefect for Alumni, Careers and University.
Jason RYU, DCB Class of 2020
Currently at Berklee College of Music - Boston, MA, USA
- Dual Major in Jazz Composition and Performance
1. Please share a memorable experience or moment from your DCB years.
Every moment I shared with my own jazz combo has been special to me. The band, along with all the ensembles I was a part of, was what motivated me to pursue a career in music. With the help of supportive teachers and amazing people in other administrative departments, I was able to form my own band and perform in venues outside the College. Many of the band members were heavily involved in organisations outside the music department and still committed to the band, which I respect so much. Some members are considering applying to music colleges, and I’m excited about all the great musical journeys they will take in the near future.
2. What do you like most about your current college life?
You get to meet one of the most diverse groups of people at Berklee. Everyone comes from different cultural, social, and economic backgrounds. Some come from similar backgrounds to mine: international school students who studied IB in Asian countries. Some are very different. My roommate from last summer was a 30-year-old Argentinian guitarist who studied computer science and had a stable income as a young professional. He decided to quit his job and spend all his income on tuition fees to follow his passion as a performer and audio engineer at Berklee. There are people here who risked everything purely for their love for music, and I’m grateful that I can grow as a person alongside them. Berklee made me realise that there is something far greater than the small world I was living in.
3. How has DCB prepared you for your college life?
Dulwich and Berklee are two very different environments, but similarities are the workload and the level of commitment needed. There will always be times when you’ll have to work alone on a project or an essay, but what’s more important is simply being present. In Dulwich, I would go to music ensemble rehearsals every day after class, and committing to them became more challenging as I approached finals or midterms. There were times I wanted to skip rehearsals to make sure the schoolwork didn’t become overwhelming. Still, I chose to commit to everything I signed up for because I loved doing it, and more importantly, I was aware that my presence impacted the other players. If one person doesn’t show up, the whole band falls apart. In Berklee, as with any other college, there are those who “disappeared” halfway into a project. The mindset I had in Dulwich carried over and kept me going even when the workload was too much.
4. What was your favourite class back in high school, and why?
It might seem a little obvious, but music was my favourite class in school. The materials we learned in class were fascinating, but I loved the amount of support we got from the music teachers. Especially during IB, when the students were struggling with the workload, the teachers were very understanding and encouraging.
5. One thing you would advise our current DCB students.
Whatever you do in the future, think about what you can contribute to the world, or at least to the people around you. That requires a lot of vulnerability, honesty, and self-assessment. I struggle to do this. I’m still figuring out who I am as a person and a musician. Remember that whatever worries you have about the future or yourself, there will always be someone you love who can help you out. In college and beyond, you will be meeting people who will be more talented than you at certain things. Remember that you will eventually find your true colour if you dig deep into your passion.
6. What’s your favourite quote?
“Good artists borrow; great artists steal.” Though there are disputes, it’s widely known to be said by Picasso.
7. Which word of each pair describes you best:
- Trombone / Piano: Trombone
- Introverted / Extroverted: I used to be introverted, but now I’m both.
- Movie / Book: Movie
- Hutong / Sanlitun: Sanlitun