Mar 03

@ AISG Band Festival


AISG Band Festival with conductor Dr. Gene Aitken


Seven SIS instrumentalists from grades 8 and 9 travelled to Guangzhou for the AISG Band Festival on March 2 & 3, 2014. Along with students from other nearby international schools, these student musicians rehearsed for a performance and participated in masterclasses and sectionals with area professional musicians including Joke Tummers (woodwind specialist), Michael Garza (woodwind specialist), Wilson Wang (brass specialist), David Notley (brass specialist) and Tony Bott (percussion specialist). Dr. Gene Aitken directed the festival band. The festival closed with a performance for the AISG community.


SIS percussionist, Se Jin, learned proper technique for playing triangle and suspended cymbals in the masterclasses. He stated, “I learned about various types of percussion instruments that aren’t widely known.”

Min Jun added, ” it was really valuable to learn some new clarinet skills such as different kinds of articulation and ways to practice playing high notes.”






frankminjunsungeuncaroline2 nolwenn&sungeunclemens2 nolwennminjun&sejin 

Mar 02

SIS musicians participate in Shenzhen Arirang


SIS musicians understand that music plays a powerful role in bringing communities together. At school, these students from all over the world learn to communicate and connect with each other as they create beautiful, meaningful sounds. As these students grow up far away from their parents’ home cultures, they also benefit from opportunities to connect to their roots. One such event took place recently in a Shenzhen park.

On a warm March 1st, 2014, the Korean community in Shenzhen, China, assembled a flash mob performance of “Arirang,” a popular Korean folk song, on a grassy park in Hong Shu Lin Gongyuan. Approximately two dozen SIS students joined this group of more than 80 instrumentalists and vocalists. The event follows a similar performance that took place one year earlier.

Shenzhen ArirangJanie

In 2013, on March 1st, on the street Ssamji-gil in Insa-dong, central Seoul, about 40 young musicians gathered. As a flash mob, they performed “Arirang.” By the end of the song, the numbers reached more than 100 as others had joined in singing. To date, the video of this performance, “This is Arirang,” has been viewed more than 350 million times on YouTube and has inspired others to recreate the event.

Yoo Jin

YTN News Channel in Korea came to the Shenzhen performance to record it and gather interviews. The crew interviewed many people asking them to express their feelings after watching the performance. SIS student Min Jun and Se Jin expressed that “it was a pleasure to inform others from different cultures about this Korean traditional song on memorial day.” Sung Eun enjoyed participating and was impressed by the audience turn out saying, “it was really cool that almost every Korean in Shenzhen met together and played music.”

Airirang performance


Arirang Woodwinds





Michelle and Chanhong

Arirang brass







Jan 26

AMIS Asian MS Honor Orchestra in Manila

Chanhong Chanhong avoiding photosSIS student Chanhong Jeon earned a first violin position in the AMIS Asian Middle School Honor Orchestra this year. Hosted by International School Manila, the festival included students from AMIS member schools in Asia and Europe.

Dec 12

Music composition – Twelve Bar Blues

Dec 02

Bayside students featured in regional magazine

Bayside students, Kayla and Katherine, are featured in the Winter 2013 “School of Rock” edition of Urban Family.

Nov 18

Music Professor in Residence at Bayside

American music professor in week-long residency at SIS shares insights with Bayside students.

During the week of November 11-14, Dr. Karen Fannin, Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Hendrix College in the United States, was in residence at Bayside working with students on a variety of skills and topics.


Dr. Fannin led rehearsals with each of the band classes sharing her insights on some of the basics of good musicianship including improving tone production and maintaining consistent pulse. As a  brass instrument specialist, she gave extra attention to middle school trumpet and trombone players helping them develop their sound. The students in IB Music learned about popular music in the early 1900s and had a discussion about college life and majoring in music. Each class heard duets performed by Dr. Fannin on euphonium and Dr. Gifford on saxophone. Dr. Fannin also spoke to high school students in an assembly and was available during lunch to answer individuals’ questions about higher education.


The middle school theater tech class learned about setting the stage for a large music ensemble and practiced techniques for making the process quick and efficient. Of the classes, eighth grade student, Nara Lee, said, “before doing set up, planning on who is going to do what specifically, makes it more fast. I learned how to sketch a set up and learned how many chairs and stands should be there by the number of people and different instruments.”

On Thursday, while Bayside students were busy with student involved conferences, Dr. Fannin paid a visit to the Nansha College Preparatory Academy and rehearsed the tenth grade band. At the end of the week, Dr. Fannin toured Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and attended a concert by the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Before departing, Dr. Fannin shared, “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Shekou International School this week.  It was exciting and rewarding to work with enthusiastic students who clearly take ownership in their learning.  It was a great pleasure to observe Dr. and Mrs. Giffords’ fine teaching and to collaborate with them in the classroom this week.”

Nov 08

Grade 6 Instrument selection

Grade 6 students have completed introductory units in music class and art class. They have also chosen to go to music or art for the remainder of the school year. The next step for the student who has chosen to go to music class is to select an instrument to play. Click the link to download the instrument selection form:

Sixth grade music letter & instrument request November 2013

Oct 13

Burying Your Head in the Sand is Not an Option!

I want my students to be intentional and assertive with tasks, to do their best work everyday, and to boldly take on challenges. Sometimes this means they need to step out of their comfort zones and try new things. Other times this may simply mean practicing tricky musical passages or doing homework assignments with attention to detail.

I gave an assignment recently that a majority of the students turned in incomplete. A critical component of the classwork involved the students selecting two short passages (8-16 measures) in the ensemble music they find challenging and writing a multi-step plan for learning to play the parts. Many students left these questions blank or gave vague responses. During the next class, I climbed on my soapbox. I made this poster to frame the discussion and explain the expression. I’m not the greatest visual artist, but making the poster helped me focus some ideas I wanted to share with the students.

A Classroom Poster

Jan 28

AMIS Asian MS Honor Orchestra Festival in Beijing

Matthew and SandyStudents from 23 international schools joined together last week to form the AMIS Asian MS Honor Orchestra and Honor Mixed Choir under the direction of Jonathan Mann (orchestra) and Darlene Elkins (choir). The festival was hosted by the International School of Beijing. SIS students Sandy Park and Matthew Leslie earned positions in the orchestra as a violist and a cellist. The orchestra performed works by Bartok, Finzi, Wang, Corigliano, and Jenkins. The finale of the concert was a work commissioned by AMIS featuring the orchestra and choir together called “I Choose the Light.”

Matthew’s blog, The Road Not Taken, contains a detailed reflection on the festival –

Oct 10

AMIS Jazz Festival in Kuala Lumpur

Dong Min and Brunno in Kuala Lumpur

Two senior IB music students, Dong Min Park and Brunno Soares, just returned from the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) Honor Jazz Festival hosted by the International School of Kuala Lumpur. They earned positions in the honor jazz band through auditions submitted last spring.

The festival offered opportunities for the boys to perform with other jazz enthusiasts in a standard big band and in small combos in which they displayed their improvisation skills. The combos gave performances at a pool-side concert at the Renaissance Hotel, and the final concert featuring all the participants was webcast live from the auditorium on the ISKL campus.

On stage @ International School of Kuala Lumpur

Like last year, SIS will host an AMIS music festival for choir students. The AMIS Asian Middle School Honor Girls’ Choir festival will be held on the Bayside campus 16-20 January.