News story from Brentwood School

Violinist Adds String to Her Bow

Brentwood School Year 10 boarding student Sara Wu hit the right note in her recent ABRSM Violin Diploma exam receiving a ‘very rare’ distinction.

Photo: Brentwood School
Boarding student Sara Wu
Boarding student Sara Wu

12th November 2021 — Sara, who only recently turned 14, first picked up a violin when she was four years old and admits to being a rather reluctant student in those early days!

“At first my mum wanted me to learn piano and violin and I was reluctant to learn both instruments. Having said that, I continued with lessons and, though my initial lack of motivation and passion slowed down my progress (compared to some of my childhood friends), I’m still proud of myself for achieving so much.”

Sara’s passion for music has certainly grown in the interim and she took the Diploma exam only three months after her Grade 8. She remains modest, however, and admits to being ‘a bit lazy’ when it comes to putting in the practice.

She explained: “I am ashamed to admit that I don’t practise as much as peers who are the same grade as me. My previous violin teacher recommended at least one hour of practice a day when I was preparing for Grade 7, but I was lazy and only did an hour a week until I started the Diploma!

“A couple of weeks before the Diploma, I started practising for two hours every day. It wasn’t as intense as the routines of many other musicians but it sure paid off.”

Sara, who joined Brentwood School from the Yew Chung International School in Hong Kong, was attracted to the School by the Music Department’s prolific social media coverage. “I seem to enjoy the music a lot over here and Brentwood School has made me love music even more….and feel slightly less nervous about performing. All the teachers are so friendly as well!”

Sara is looking forward to pursuing her musical career: “When I was younger I had a phase where I wanted to perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in an ‘orchestra’. I currently don’t have any aspirations, but I think I soon will, as music becomes a bigger part of my life here at Brentwood School. I was a violin player for the School House Ensemble in House Music! It was such a fun experience.”

Brentwood School Director of Music, Mr Florian Cooper, said: “We are delighted about Sara's fantastic Diploma level achievement, where she joins a number of other musicians at Brentwood who have already received these highly coveted and very rare musical distinctions.

“As a multi-instrumentalist (piano & violin), Sara is a hugely valued member of the Music Department and we are all excited about her rapid progress and future journey.”


Brentwood School (Coed 3-18) is a day and boarding school in Essex.

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