Sunday, January 8, 2012 @ 11:12 AM
“Even if you (all) don’t come back a better band or a better musician, come back a better person.”

Mr Wilson Ong

During the rehearsal in the morning, Mr Ong taught us to be more aware of our surroundings, do not subject ourselves towards horse blindness, do not be an inconvenience to others, and do not go in narrow minded.

Overall, the rehearsal was more productive.

Oh yeah, and Mr Ong gave us an analogy: In an airplane, be it passenger or pilot, both have to be seated and ready for the plane to take off. Similarly, everybody has to be ready to “take off” with Mr Ong ;)

Next up, Yodogawa technical high school exchange!

A mere 5 mins drive away from our hotel, we were welcomed with opened arms and affectionate smile by the Japanese students. Before the exchange even began, all of us were already impressed merely by their warm ups and tuning. Unsurprisingly, we were totally blown away by their performance! Especially the last piece, a medley of selected songs by The Carpenters. Their gimmicks, playing, music, EVERYTHING were just soooooo perfect!!! It was just like listening to some professional recording. We felt so intimidated :/ Indeed, they are not the top band in their prefecture for nothing! They were extremely enthusiastic, contagious, and at a totally new level from us, so high up there. The way they stand, the way they sit, all of their movements were sharp and really impressive. WE. NEED. TO. LEARN. FROM. THEM.

After their turn, we were up next, feeling all nervous and intimidated, yet so eager to put up our very best performance. True, the sudden change of plans threw us off our chairs. Saga Maligna was one of the pieces we were more prepared for. But oh well! Mr Ong told us, “U can’t reach their standard. Nothing you do today can. Does that make you more comfortable?”

The performance may not be great due to our anxiety, but at least we did the best we could.

The combined session was an eye-opener for us. The Sun Will Rise Again by Philip Sparke was composed in prayer for the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Under the baton of Mr Marutani, we believed that everybody had an enjoyable time. It was also the first time many of us played in such a huge band. It was totally a different experience! Perhaps it even changed our perspective towards band. Most importantly, we love it! It was really fun, even though it was just for a short period of time. We learnt to adapt to different conducting styles, to be ever prepared for anything and everything.

Memories of Friendship was conducted by our very own conductor, Mr Wilson Ong. Their focus was there even though they already had such a long practice (9AM – 9PM). We’ve got so much more to learn, seriously!

Reflecting back on today’s session, we certainly find a need for more focus during band practice. As our practice hours are much shorter, there should be no excuse that we cannot do so too. The amount of confidence exhibited by them should also be a learning point for us all. Individual confidence should not an obstacle for us to express ourselves musically, but instead, serve as a propellant for everyone to perform better. Music aside, the Japanese spirit of excellence should be one that everyone emulates. The Japanese strive to achieve their best in any aspect they involve themselves in. We believe that even though change cannot occur overnight, our intentions and actions towards excellence will surely bring about fruits of labor. Thus, we believe it is imperative that we adopt a forward-looking and positive outlook towards all future band practices.

Definitely, we came back not only as a better musician, but also a better person.


This is us after writing this post, please appreciate this post. Arigatou gozaimasu!