Shavonne Looi Sze Ern
“I am from Singapore and I am going to be 10 years old in August. My favourite colours are glittering gold, bright yellow, baby blue, jade green, lavender purple and luminous pink. My favourite animals are the puppy, the kitten and the bunny. My favourite foods include ribeye steak, fish balls, fried chicken (especially from KFC), roasted duck and Korean rice. Currently, my favourite composers are Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I love the intricacies of Bach’s music, especially with his 2-voices and 3-voices complexities. On the other hand, it is the lightness yet emotion-filled Sonatas of Mozart that attract me. However, my current favourite classical piano piece is Vivace by Georg Philipp Telemann.
My parents both sang in their school choirs and my dad learnt the piano when he was young. I started learning the violin at 3½ years old and the piano at 4½ years old. My violin teacher is Ms. Yap Shu Mei and my piano teacher is Dr. John Sharpley. I have also taken piano masterclasses with Dr. Krystian Tkaczewski and Ms. Kseniia Vokhmianina.
At the beginning, my parents just wanted to expose me to music in general, to develop an appreciation for music. As I started learning the piano and the violin, the music and beautiful sounds coming from these two instruments triggered something within me. It stirred my spirit and compelled me to want to learn music, to know how to play the instruments. I also wanted to be able to play the music that my family likes.
My day starts at 5.30am as I get ready for school. As a school prefect, I have to be in school by 6.45am to perform my duties. After school, I am usually back home by 2pm (unless I have enrichment classes). Dinner is at 6.30pm and I go to bed by 7.30pm. If time permits and I do not have a lot of homework to do after school, I try to put in an hour of piano practice during weekdays and two hours during weekends. Before covid brought the world to a standstill, my parents would regularly bring me to attend concerts, to hear masterpieces played by world-class orchestras and soloists. We would also go for musicals such as The Lion King, Matilda, Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin and Cats when they came on tours to Singapore.
My other hobbies include reading, drawing, colouring, and coding. I read a wide variety of authors and my favourite author is Enid Blyton. I have read her entire series of Famous Five, Secret Seven, Mystery Series, St Clare’s and Malory Towers. I also love sports and especially enjoy running, inline skating, badminton and tennis. During the school holidays, I am allowed to play computer games (with my friends and cousins) such as Minecraft, Roblox and Fortnite.
For me, music is something that I run to whenever I am angry as it soothes me, especially Christian worship songs. Of course, there are also many pieces that I love to play when I am feeling happy. My parents signed me up for the London Young Musician (LYM) competition because the judges provided constructive comments to help me improve on my playing (on top of giving me a grade). Not every music competition provides the judges’ comments. LYM is also transparent on who their judges were and published their credentials on the website. Besides just presenting the winners with an exquisitely designed paper certificate, LYM also awards the winners with beautifully designed trophies with the winners’ names engraved on them. The trophy design is different for
every season. Finally, if you win a gold award, you get to give a winner’s speech and it is uploaded onto the website.
I feel exhilarated and my hard work has paid off! This is a really great achievement for me, being ranked 1st in the whole world. It means a lot to me. Winning this motivates me to go further in my music education, to dig deeper into the music that I play. I will always remind myself that nothing is impossible when you put your heart and mind to it.
Taking part in London Young Musician competition every season is a good way to help motivate you to keep learning new pieces and perfecting them. Taking music examinations is good and participating in competitions is another way to benchmark yourself. Most importantly, enjoy the journey as you learn to play the music."