An aspiring musician, Melvin Goh was part of the 6-piece band backing up Juwita Suwito at her recent performance at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas. “The MPO Happy Hour with Juwita Suwito” was also supported by a 11-piece ensemble of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) members. Check out the video here. Melvin is acknowledged at 8:10 onwards. Melvin has been touring with Juwita for a period of time, all while juggling his responsibilities as a student in the School of Music.
We managed to catch up with Melvin on his wonderful experience. Here’s an online interview:
What were you thinking when you got the offer? How did it feel like given the opportunity to perform in a grand hall with great musicians of such professional calibre?
When I first received the offer, I was initially blown away with fear, at the same time, filled with excitement and joy. To be able to work with such professional musicians that were at the top in the industry made me feel a little intimidated, but I was always reminding myself to be professional in what I do, and do my best.
What were the ups and downs while being involved in this project and balancing school work as a university student?
The downside was actually having to miss important classes such as theory and trying to catch up with what I missed from class, and also having to go through the hassles of getting letters of absence. The ups were going out in to the real world to experience hands-on of what it feels like to be working in the industry.
If you were to list your top 3 “things I learned from this project”, what would it be and why?
The 3 things that I’ve rediscovered are the importance of Preparation, Punctuality and Professionalism. I’ve noticed how the MPO musicians are really particular when it comes to practice times and making sure practices start and end on time. It totally dawned on me as a musician and how we always take punctuality for granted and treat it as secondary importance. When we are asked to play for an artist, I feel that it is very important to prepare thoroughly for practices and rehearsals before the actual performance. The MPO musicians have proven to be top class in their playing by doing just that. The moment rehearsals start, we are ready to play and deliver our parts and not waste any time. This also affects punctuality. Practice with preparation will result in a punctual rehearsal. Eventually all of this boils down to professionalism. Being good in what we do requires us to have certain characteristics such as humility, teachibility, patience and good character.
How did your experience as a School of Music student helped you to work with professionals?
My experience in UCSI has definitely equipped better as a musician in technical aspects such as playing, reading and grooving along with the band. What I’ve learnt in my private piano lessons definitely gave me a boost in my playing as well. Having the opportunity to perform frequently on stage in the School of Music boosted my confidence and corrected me of what to do and what not to do.
What would be the best advices that you received working with Juwita, the band or the MPO members involved with this project?
I would’nt say that there are any “best” advice, but I was encouraged by the band members (who were mostly older and more experienced musicians in the industry) by their playing, great attitude and musical wisdom. The advice that I thought was really insightful for me — as this was the first time I had the chance to play with an orchestra — is to give the orchestra space to shine by playing less.
On behalf of the School of Music, we applaud Melvin for his achievements. We look forward to his growth and further development as a musician. CLICK HERE to read more about Melvin’s other achievements.
Well Done Melvin!
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