RE Accompanist Mr. Arn Xu on his passion for the performing arts


Jake Perdigon '24

Mr. Xu practicing for a performance.

Although many students have not yet had the pleasure of meeting him, Mr. Arn Xu is a key component of the Ransom Everglades performing arts program. His introduction to the RE community was his first performance as Keyboard 2 for the 2019 Upper School musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” He was later given the opportunity to work as the accompanist for RE’s 2021 performance of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Along with Performing Arts Teacher Ms. Laura Montes, Mr. Xu now co-teaches the new Advanced Vocal Techniques and Performance course at the Upper School, as well as the Vocal Ensemble at the Middle School. In these classes, they teach various musical skills such as sight reading, music theory, holding 4-part harmonies, and many other aspects of choral singing.  

Mr. Xu grew up near Philadelphia and moved to Miami when he was 10 years old. At six years old, his mother, who used to sing and play piano growing up, encouraged him to take piano lessons, and it sparked his love for performance. His passion gradually increased as he kept playing. “Every year I found myself becoming a little more serious about it, dedicating a little more time to it, and finding motivation I didn’t think I had,” Mr. Xu said.   

He initially planned to study Biology or Biochemistry, and gained “lab research experience, culturing stem cells, even getting [his] name on a paper, and doing the dishes in the lab.” He only applied to the University of Miami for music, but as the college audition process continued, he realized his true passion was playing piano.   

He described his work for his application as “the most self-fulfilling,” and realized “that sitting behind a piano would be better than any desk or computer.”  He eventually graduated from UM’s Frost School of Music with an undergraduate degree in Piano Performance, and he went on to receive his master’s degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from The University of Toronto.   

Mr. Xu enjoys a wide variety of music genres such as classical, jazz, R&B, and bluegrass. His two favorite artists are Mac Miller and Vadym Kholodenko. Aside from playing the piano, he also enjoys cooking, playing soccer, and going to the gym.  

Despite having only been teaching for a short amount of time, Mr. Xu has already left a positive impression on his students. They have described him as kind, inspiring, humorous, and a pleasure to work with. Sophomore Jaerla Sajous ’25 described how his passion for piano translates into the classroom. “You can just tell that he loves music, and he loves helping other people out,” she said. Henry Berler ’25 also noted that his class is enjoyed by many, and that “[Mr. Xu] is a kind and patient teacher who always encourages us to do our best.”   

Mr. Xu’s love for music extends beyond his position at RE, as he also teaches private lessons and accompanies various performances at UM. He has a busy schedule after his morning classes, usually teaching piano from 4-7 p.m. and attending rehearsals from 7-11 p.m. In addition to teaching two classes this year and accompanying the musical, he plans to contribute to many other areas such as RE’s band, orchestra, and drama programs.   

Mr. Xu enjoys working as an accompanist because it enables him to “connect and create music with another person and help them shine even brighter.” He is proud of the progress his students have made as they prepare for their first performances, and he looks forward to the work ahead.   

“I’m excited to see how far I can help develop these programs in my year here,” he said.