My music. My mentor.

Arianne Tan (BMus '16)
07 Dec 2021

I studied my Bachelor of Music at the ANU. Two weeks after I graduated, the ANU Alumni team invited me to their mentorship program and I jumped into the opportunity. 

I was soon connected to Mrs Marretje Ida Sonnenberg-van Wezel, a former music teacher at the ANU School of Music. Mrs van Wezel uses the 'sound before symbol' pedagogy in her music teaching. This approach is similar to how a child learns to speak - students first learn the tune of a piece by ear, and then read the notes to play. The beauty of this technique is that it uses children's innate talent to make music learning familiar to them, thereby stimulating their musical development from the subconscious level.  

Inspired by Mrs van Wezel, I am now continuing the 'sound before symbol' pedagogy as I teach instrumental music to young children. To study how this approach could be made the most effective in an online music learning setting, I am continuing the research of this pedagogy with universities and music professors in Australia and internationally. 

I dedicate my humble achievements including, being recognised with the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Award 2020 and the ACT Multicultural Award 2021 in Arts and Multimedia to my mentor, Mrs Marretje van Wezel who has inspired me tremendously and supported my professional development remarkably through our time together. 

A warmest thank you to ANU and the ANU Alumni team for providing me with countless opportunities and acting as a strong pillar from day one of my graduation to now, years after. 

In everything I do - in music and life - her teaching guides me. In my music, I aim to channel all her influence. Music is a universal language. Even if we are from different backgrounds, music moves us in the same way and we become one. 

Mrs van Wezel, thank you for looking after me so selflessly and showing me such unconditional love. I shall continue to share your musical wisdom in the days to come, to move, inspire and connect budding musicians around the world. 

I want to make learning music enjoyable for them, just like how you made it enjoyable for me. 

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