Find­ing your musical voice

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Higher Education -

“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_ academy@mu­

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.

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