Tsz Wun (Michelle) Wong
"What appealed to me most about Surrey was the tranquil environment on campus. I was born and bred in Hong Kong, where you can’t escape the hustle and bustle, and unstable political environment. The only thing I wanted to focus on were my passions - music, singing and always exploring.
I decided to move to the UK at my final year of secondary school and it was a life-changing decision for not only myself, but my whole family as well. I struggled between the options of the studying in university and conservatories as I didn’t know which mode of study would suit me the most, plus I had to prepare enormous amounts of paperwork to move to the UK.
What appealed to me most about Surrey was the tranquil environment on campus. I was born and bred in a city where you can’t escape the hustle and bustle, and unstable political environment. The only thing I wanted to focus on were my passions - music, singing and always exploring. Here at Surrey I found an abundance of resources to help pursue these goals, with support from our lecturers who truly believe in us and encourage and inspire at all times.
I really enjoy the suburban environment here with greenery all around. There is a significant difference in terms of the air quality here compares with the air quality in Hong Kong and I feel healthier here and enjoy being more active. I grew up around the prime area in Hong Kong with everything so accessible and thriving, it took me weeks to get used to shops being a 15-minute walk from my house and closing at 6pm!
I started singing aged six in the Hong Kong Children’s Choir and over ten years I was fortunate enough to work with and be taught by top-tier musicians in the city. I can speak three languages fluently and consider music to be another language that I use to express myself.
The Music BMus course at Surrey provides students with lots of freedom and flexibility to explore specialisms, but at the same time provides insights on other unfamiliar areas you might want to explore. I've been able to build up a more solid foundation in music to become a more well-round musician, alongside polishing my singing skills. The diversity and flexibility of the Music course in Surrey allows me to combined musicology, performing and composition. I didn’t know much about Jazz music before university, as my main focus was on classical music and opera. However, I started to explore jazz after hearing more in the performances around the department. I’ve discovered new areas outside of my comfort zones by exploring new composers, like George Crumb and John Cage, which have taught me to write music with more advanced techniques.
Lecturers here are extraordinarily experienced and specialised in diverse styles of music. They are friendly and encouraging to students and always open and supportive to students’ ideas. They try their very best to support us in achieving our goals, despite how ridiculously hard it is. They are always there to back us up mentally and physically as well.
YOUR LIFE HERE
I take part in a few societies and music groups alongside my studies. I’ve been the Chamber Choir manager for the past two years, the Secretary of the Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Service Society (HKPASS) last year and I also sing in the University Choir as well. Being in societies and music groups enable me to widen my social circle as well as gaining more experience in managing music groups.
It’s really hard to pick the best moment at Surrey as everything that’s happened in these two years has been magical. If I have to pick a rewarding moment, that would be the day that I completed my performance on Judith Weir’s King Harald Saga as part of my assignment. Another highlight would be performing at the lunch-time recitals on the offer-holder days, with PATS Studio one packed with an audience.
Studying here is a completely eye-opening experience, and I feel so lucky to be able to have study nothing else other than music in a week! As I’ve had chances to explore different genres and styles of music, I’ve started to see myself as a more well-rounded musician, other than ‘the girl who merely performed well at school’.
Being an opera singer has always been my dream job and I am hoping to pursue that as my future career. But in the short term, I have planned to continue my study here at Surrey for a Music Masters and possibly pursue another degree specialising in voice performance in a conservatoire.