17 March, 2021

From Dalian to Berklee College of Music: Jenny’s Success Story

Student with principals during graduation

Jenny Liu, DAIS/DHA graduate of 2020, has been studying music since she was 4 years old. As a small child, she liked music a lot, and felt very envious when she saw others singing and playing the piano. That’s why she decided to start taking piano classes at such a young age, and achieved great success in that.

She got the grade of 10 (the highest grade possible!) at the national piano examination administered by China Music Association, and also got a distinction (137/150) at ABRSM Music Exam recently. Apart from piano, Jenny also knows how to play guitar and yangqin – a traditional Chinese string instrument.

After being accepted to Dalian Huamei Academy, Jenny continued studying music at our school. During her 4 years at DAIS/DHA, from Grade 9 through Grade 12, she has been able to attend several music classes with our amazing music teachers Mr. A, Mr. Tescue, Ms. Olga van Doorn, and Mrs. Gifford: Foundations of Music, School Band, Advanced Chorus, High School Choir, and AP Music Theory.

From Dalian to Berklee College of Music: Jenny’s Success Story - Jenny Liu

One of the most exciting and memorable things for Jenny was taking part in DAIS music concerts. She could play different roles there: singing in the choir, playing the keyboard, or accompanying school choirs on the piano. “I feel so much fun and satisfaction when I am on the stage. I just enjoy the feeling of performing in front of others.”

Jenny is fond of all genres of music, from classic and traditional music to jazz and pop, but she mentions Taylor Swift as her favorite singer. “Her love story really catches my ears,” says Jenny.

“Please be brave to let teachers realize your talents, and catch every opportunity that will let you shine.”

Jenny Liu
DAIS Class of 2020

But music has never been Jenny’s only passion. When she was in Grade 11, among other courses, she took a Psychology class… and totally fell into it! Psychology looked really exciting to her because it could explain her own personality as a human being in different perspectives.

Given that special interest in psychology, and a genuine talent in music, Jenny started to research how to combine both areas of her interest in her future career. As a brilliant student, she got many acceptance letters from different colleges and universities during her senior year, including the University of Toronto, UIUC, UC Davis, UCR, all of them offering a psychology major as her first choice.

But all her dreams came true when Jenny heard about Berklee College of Music and its Music Therapy major. It looked like a magic pill for her. Jenny loves music, and she wants to help people and change their lives. Combining two passions in one looked difficult from the very beginning, but studying music therapy in this college looked like a perfect decision. Jenny got an offer from Berklee, and also a scholarship of $11000 per year as a truly talented student with very good academic grades.

From Dalian to Berklee College of Music: Jenny’s Success Story - Jenny Liu

After the graduation from DAIS, Jenny took a half year gap year, and started attending Berklee from this spring semester. She is doing well right now. Because of the pandemic, the college had to apply online learning, but they are adjusting class times based on students’ time zones, and Jenny has no problem with staying up learning.

The thing she enjoys the most is the interaction between faculties and students at Berklee. They all have a really close connection with both teachers and classmates. Jenny’s classmates are truly talented, and it is much fun for her to talk about music with them.

We asked Jenny, “Do you feel yourself part of the college community? Or the bigger world music community?” “Absolutely!” she answered, “Berklee just presents soooo many chances for us as students. We have famous alumni from all around the world give us classes every week. I still remember the time when famous Charlie Puth came back to our school and gave us some good advice”. (Charlie Puth is a famous American singer, songwriter, and record producer; he went to Berklee on a full scholarship, graduating in 2013 with a degree in music production and engineering)

Her plan right now is to graduate from college and come back to China to help people in her home country. Jenny wants to become a teacher or a music therapist, and we can only wish her best of luck. We at DAIS are sure that all her dreams will come true!