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"What I enjoy the most is being able to perform in the beautiful concert hall with my beloved colleagues."

My favourite activity is attending concerts in Kilden, a remarkable theatre and concert hall in Kristiansand. I even had a chance to perform here!

Jenny Chan from Hong Kong

Master in Music Business and Management (former student at Master in Music Performance)

Please introduce yourself

My name is Jenny Chan, and I am a pianist from Hong Kong. At the end of 2006, I decided to move out of my comfort zone and traveled to New York to pursue my higher education degree. After I completed my postgraduate study, I relocated to Kristiansand and started a new study journey. 

Why did you choose Norway?

Life is interesting as everything seems to happen in its way. When I was studying in the music school in New York, there was one Norwegian student who was very charming and friendly and this student brought so much joy to everyone. I have never met a Norwegian before, and know very little about Norway. So I started to feel interested in this country. The beauty of nature in Norway is irresistible and I believe that I will have a different perspective of life. Therefore, I chose to come to Norway. 

When looking at universities, what stood out to you about the University of Agder?

I would say UiA's is well organised. I spent most of my time in the music building. The piano is well maintained and each room is soundproof. What I enjoy the most is being able to perform in the beautiful concert hall with my beloved colleagues. I also think Norwegians are considerate and try to make students feel as comfortable as they can.

What was your first impression upon arrival?

Green and fresh air. I arrived in Kristiansand in the summer. The lush tree under the clear blue sky with the pleasant smell from the grass filled me with a sense of serenity. Besides green, there was also purple. An interesting word “buddy” in the middle of the purple shirt worn by the students from ESN (Erasmus Student Network). They took care of the international students upon arrival and I was very grateful to be assisted by them. I also joined them after a year of my study.  

What do you think about your courses?

I finished the Master in Music Performance, in 2018. I am now pursuing a Master in Music Business and Management. I am thankful for my teachers here, especially my main piano teacher, Sveinung Bjelland. My musicianship has noticeably improved and I still remember everything that I have learned from him. One of our teachers, Tellef Juva, treats the students like his family, and always spends time consulting with them. Every year, he prepares a warm Christmas party in his house for all pianists. I am also happy to study with my teachers, Daniel Norgård and Bendik Hofseth in my current courses. They are very passionate about music and help students understand how the music industry runs and what we should know about the music business world. We had a chance to join the big events in Kristiansand and enjoyed so many pop music concerts as well as visited the music record company in Oslo.  

What do you like about Kristiansand and why?

Kristiansand is an attractive city and surrounded by beautiful landscapes. It is located in the southern part of Norway, so the weather is not as cold as in other parts of the country. I especially like walking in the mountains in summer and sitting outside the café in the sun. I still haven’t visited the whole city, but one thing I would say is you can get almost everything you need in the city center. There are so many cozy restaurants and shops (Asian supermarkets as well!)  My favourite activity is attending concerts in Kilden, a remarkable theatre and concert hall in Kristiansand. I have seen numerous concerts there and even had a chance to perform in their gorgeous concert hall. Thus, I really enjoy my study life in this city.  

What was one thing you discovered about Norway that was unexpected?

Norwegian banknotes. Except at the beginning of the year, I used cash to shop or paid the bills, I haven’t seen any banknotes for a few years already. Payment is very digitised here, you can use bank cards in the shops, in the restaurants, to pay the bus fee or your bills, or even to purchase items in the food truck. One time I joked with my young Norwegian colleagues that if they have ever seen or used the Norwegian currency. I don’t have to carry cash with me, that’s something I did not expect.   

What would you like to share about the study programme to your home country? 

The Master in Music Performance is focused on practical and performances, so we have plenty of time to practice. I had both education in Hong Kong and New York. My study life there was very intense, and did not have a lot of time to rest. In contrast, my study life here is more relaxed, but not unrigorous. The program allows me to have a great capacity to gain a deep understanding of piano playing.

I discovered many things which I don’t know as a musician in the Master in Music Business and Management. Besides working hard on playing your instrument or making music, it is essential to know how to survive in the music industry. I believe that studying in UiA gives students different insights and enriches their knowledge of the study field. 

Do you think UiA has given you any unique opportunities? 

Yes, definitely. One thing I do not regret I have done in my life is to study abroad as it is a precious experience. Personally, playing the piano is the most important thing in my life and my passion for playing music has never ceased. I enjoy being on stage and sharing my music with my audiences. The most comfortable performance I have given is after I came to UiA. I feel more unrestrained to perform on stage and I realized that many possibilities could happen if you make the right choice.  I am happy that I chose to study at UiA, and I have an opportunity to share my study experiences here with all prospective students. Tusen Takk.