Music has always been a passion for freshman music education major, Ruiwen Su, from Beijing China. However, a meeting with F. David Romines, D.M.A., associate professor of music education, director of bands, and co-chairperson of the music, theatre, and dance department at Marywood, in Beijing China changed the trajectory of Ruiwen’s higher education aspirations.
During Marywood University’s Wind Ensemble travel to Beijing China to perform in the Beijing International Arts Festival, Dr. Romines saw potential in Ruiwen and encouraged him to visit Marywood University’s campus and learn about the University’s music education program. Ruiwen and his parents were excited for the opportunity, and during 2017 winter vacation, Ruiwen and his family traveled from Beijing to Northeast Pennsylvania to visit Marywood. While, at the time, language was a barrier, and his first impression of the U.S. was that it was really cold, Ruiwen knew that his dream of learning and playing multiple instruments would not only be a requirement of the music education program at Marywood, but would be the welcome opportunity he was seeking.
When Ruiwen graduated from his high school, Experimental School Attached to Haidian Teacher’s Training College (ESHTTC), in 2017, he then traveled to the United States and took English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for two years at Marywood University, where he’s made great strides in learning and speaking the English language. Dr. Romines said, “Ruiwen’s assimilation into the music department at Marywood has been remarkable. Not only has he adjusted, he is thriving at Marywood.”
Now a freshman at Marywood, Ruiwen is taking all his required classes in music education, along with his liberal arts classes, and is doing well in all of his coursework. He is a member of the Wind Symphony, the Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Band, and Orchestra. Recently, Ruiwen represented Marywood University in the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band.
Ruiwen said, “My first impression of Marywood was of how very friendly everyone was. Students put a Chinese flag in front of the door to welcome us. While at the time, there was a translation issue, I didn’t have any issue in recognizing the kindness that was shown to me by faculty, students, and staff.”
With his dreams set on becoming a conductor and continuing his academics post-graduation from Marywood, Ruiwen is satisfied now to be learning many new instruments and to be given the chance to do so. As Ruiwen explained, “In Beijing, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try to play new instruments. That’s not an option there, as there are already so many musicians who specialize in a certain instrument, a novice wouldn’t be given the opportunity to try something new.”
Outside of classes at Marywood, Ruiwen enjoys traveling to some of the larger cities including Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. What he’s found is that while it’s interesting and nice to travel and visit these cities, Ruiwen is really loving Northeast Pennsylvania, even though sometimes the weather is somewhat cold.
For additional information about Marywood University’s music education program, please visit the music, theatre, and dance department, at www.marywood.edu/mtd/index.html, or call (570) 348-6268.