This season, BYSO alumni spotlights will feature alumni who are doing essential work during this time of crisis. Enchi Chang, ’13, Violin, is currently a 4th-year medical student at Harvard Medical School and runs the HMS Chamber Music Society. Enchi is also a violinist with the Longwood Symphony Orchestra – an orchestra comprised of healthcare workers from Boston’s leading hospitals and universities, including doctors, medical students, research scientists, and therapists.
Prior to the pandemic, Enchi’s regular schedule consisted of daily rotations in hospitals, expanding on her clinical experience before applying for a residency in Ophthalmology. However, her schedule changed drastically once COVID-19 hit – she and many other medical students doing rotations at hospitals were pulled out for their own safety and protection, as well as to conserve PPE. Inspired to find a way to help others around her, Enchi started the Virtual Bedside Concerts Program at Mass General Hospital. “It was hard for me to just stand by because I wanted to do something for the people who were suffering. This program brings one-on-one, live music performances to patients and staff members in hospitals in the Greater Boston area. It’s great for patients who are isolated in the hospitals and musicians who are looking for ways to perform or help with the COVID effort.” She is looking to expand to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham & Women’s Hospital soon.
Enchi (second from the right) and her chamber group from Harvard Medical School.
In addition to honing her time management and teamwork capabilities, Enchi notes that there are many parallel skills specific to both music and medicine. “Body language, and communicating without words, are hugely important. In music, you can’t speak to your fellow performers during a concert, so you rely on the body language of the conductor or the other orchestra members – you interact without talking. In medicine, you also have to learn to read the room – you may need to gauge if there’s something a patient isn’t saying or isn’t able to communicate just through words.”
“Learning to interpret information is also important. Music is ultimately a bunch of dots and lines on sheet music; you, as the musician, get to take and interpret that based on your own experiences and what you already know. In medicine, you are also taking the data that is presented to you and interpreting it to make conclusions. Both fields require you to take your past experiences and knowledge and combine that with the data to make an interpretation.”
Enchi as a 5th grader in REP.
Enchi’s experiences at BYSO are what keep her coming back now, even as an alumna. “BYSO is where I made many of my closest friends. The community is so strong, and I love coming back to see my friends and to meet other alumni in the community. I also love meeting and guiding the next generation of students – BYSO has evolved so much, even since 2013, and it’s important to me to keep up with that, and to help out where I can.”
Enchi’s advice for current students and other alumni? “Don’t be afraid to fail. Many times, we hear about people’s successes, but the reality is that their list of failures is just as long – if not longer – than what you’re seeing. Don’t be afraid to take that first step, send that first email, and to try again if you get a ‘no.’ Be persistent, and don’t let that fear of failure stop you from doing the things you love.”
Are you, or someone you know, a BYSO alumni with a cool or interesting story or life update to share? Contact Jessica Chen, Development & Alumni Relations Associate!