Finding your musical voice
“I ALWAYS knew that music was my choice of profession,” said Kong Zie Lik.
By 2011, the global K-pop craze has taken Malaysia by storm and Kong was among the countless youths who worshipped their K-pop idols.
“It played a part in me deciding that music was the right path for me – I wanted to produce K-pop music,” he said.
With this strong passion imbued within his mind, Kong’s pursuit in music began at the Yamaha Academy of Arts and Music.
He shared that the three years spent pursuing his studies at the academy had been nothing but rewarding.
“Upon completing my Diploma in Music, I sensed that my musical outlook had matured. I began to pay attention to the finer details, which allowed me to enjoy and understand the many emotions and hidden meanings lying behind each piece of music,” he said.
Yamaha Academy offers students flexibility in choosing any musical instrument of their choice to major in and deciding on which pieces to learn.
They can also take up additional minor musical instruments.
At the end of each semester, students put what they have practised to the test by performing at an examination recital.
As part of the course in the Yamaha Academy, other modules offered are designed to develop the students’ understanding of European classical music theory and musicianship skills in a step-by-step process.
Modules include Historical Studies, Harmony Analysis and Music Composition.
Having a good competency of these topics enables students to realise that their appreciation towards music has grown more sophisticated, ultimately leading to a meaningful music experience.
The Solfege and Improvisation modules nurture musicianship skills through sight-singing, listening (recognising melodies, harmonies and chord qualities) and improvisation of motifs and short music excerpts.
This enables students to explore, find and communicate their own innate musical voices and ideas with these foundational skills.
In addition, the Masterclasses offer lectures by various external music industry professionals, providing students the opportunity to glean valuable industry knowledge, which could be somewhat inaccessible otherwise.
Students are also encouraged to perform in front of their peers and lecturers during Lunchtime Concerts to build stage confidence and enhance communication with the audience – qualities essential in becoming a musician.
At the Yamaha Academy, many activities and events take place each semester and students also get to enjoy discounts on tickets for certain external concerts.
“I have had the great opportunity to observe how world-class musicians practise their art, such as the Akihiro Tanaka Classical Guitar Concert, Akira Jimbo Drums Concert and Workshop (where I also worked as a crew), Yoshihiro Andoh Electone Concert and KL International Jazz Festival, to name a few,” shared Kong.
In addition to his academic responsibilities, Kong occasionally took part in music competitions outside of the academy to put his skills and abilities to test.
He won the first and second prize at the Malaysian Youth Music Festival 2014 competition (Young Artist Category) and Yamaha Asia Pacific Electone Festival 2013 competition, respectively.
The competitions taught him many lessons in music and life, allowing him to revise his skill, moulding him to become a better musician and person in the future.
“I am very lucky to have two great mentors who had faith in my capabilities and continuously pushed me to achieve heights I never once thought I could see nor attain,” said Kong.
Upon graduation, students may opt to further their studies at two universities – Middlesex University or the University of Wolverhampton – in the UK.
The next intake for September 2018 is now open for registration.
■ For details, call 03-7803 0900 ext 233, 264, 297 or e-mail ymmy_ firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to his academic responsibilities, Kong Zie Lik occasionally took part in music competitions outside of the academy to put his skills and abilities to test.