Some people are born with musical talent. Zhuxuan, or Vivian, is one of those people.

“My true passion in life is music. My favorite is jazz, but I also love Chopin and Litz!”

Before coming to the U.S. on the PSE program, back in her home town of Changsha in China, Vivian’s musical talent developed and flourished. Playing piano has been her main focus for the past nine years, and her hard work and talent has been recognized by many.

In 2014 in Changsha, Vivian was awarded first prize in a provincial solo competition for her piano performance.

After arriving to Wisconsin on the PSE program last year, Vivian’s desire to branch out and explore other instruments landed her a part in the percussion ensemble at her school. Being an accomplished piano player, she quickly picked up keyboard percussion instruments such as the xylophone, bells and marimba. She soon branched out to auxiliary percussion instruments such as bass drums and cymbals.

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“Vivian was a very strong contributor to our band this year,” said James, the school’s band director. “She found many friends within the band program. I could really see her playful personality coming out toward the end of the school year. She is very friendly and quite a gifted drawing artist as well.”

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Vivian shares, “I have built such wonderful friendships with my team and the band director. It has been wonderful!”

Vivian and the other six students that made up the ensemble performed at a festival in March, where they received a superior rating, allowing them to advance to the State Solo and Ensemble Festival. At this event, held at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, their ensemble was again awarded a “first” rating.

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When asked about her PSE experience, Vivian recalls that her best memories are those related to her experience with music and the ensemble at school, which she cherishes deeply. She also reflects that her PSE experience has helped her learn to be more independent. She had a very positive and close relationship with her host mother, Wanda, who was constantly impressed with Vivian’s artistic talents and who describes Vivan as being “talented, quiet and thoughtful.”

“This experience has opened my mind to another world!” she exclaims.

Vivian hopes to return to the U.S. one day and pursue her dream of becoming a professional musician.

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