Channel NewsAsia

Singapore's young musical prodigies

A couple of young musical talents have been busy putting Singapore on the international stage. They not only won competitions but also made international classical music media sit up.

SINGAPORE: A couple of young musical talents have been busy putting Singapore on the international stage.

They not only won competitions but also made international classical music media sit up.

Nine-year-old award-winning violinist Samuel Tan is Singapore's latest child prodigy.

"I started playing the violin before I turned 3. I love playing the violin because the sound of the violin is very nice, and it sings beautifully," he said.

The little violinist proves that talent supersedes age.

At the Postacchini violin competition held recently in Italy,
Samuel not only won in his category but also beat contestants as old as 35 years old to win the entire competition.

His prize was a handmade Postacchini violin.

"I did not expect to win so I felt very happy. I felt excited to play in (front of) such a huge audience," said Samuel.

Samuel picked up the violin as a toddler, after being mesmerized by a Mozart festival performance on TV.

Janis Tan, Samuel's mother, said: "At the beginning of 2 years old, he wanted to start but we kept on confirming with him, asking him 'do you really want to start?' Each time he said 'yes'. So we finally enrolled him in a class."

Twelve-year-old pianist Nicole Tay is another young rising music star.

She recently won the national round of the Steinway Youth Piano competition, and will be representing Singapore in the Asia Pacific final.

Nicole's career began early with strong parental guidance and true love for her hobby.

"Music is a very universal language, and I find that by playing the piano, I am able to communicate my innermost feelings and truly express myself," she said.

Despite her age, she has learnt the art of balancing studies and music.

"I'm in the gifted education programme at Raffles Girls' Primary School, so I definitely have quite a lot of homework and project work to do. Usually when I come home from school, I'll try to finish my school homework first, and then after that, I will practise piano," she said.

While it's common for children in Singapore to pick up an instrument, not many do get to the levels of Samuel and Nicole.

Celine Goh, general manager of Steinway Gallery, Singapore, said: "From what I know, many parents...enrol their children in music lessons or start music lessons as young as 3 or 4.

"I will take a general perspective and say that perhaps only the top ten percent makes it to grade 8, and out of which maybe the top three or five percent becomes as good as Nicole."

As Samuel and Nicole have proven, true passion is the key ingredient in making a musical genius.
 

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna