[FEATURE] Malaysian Youth Music Festival 2013

The Malaysian Youth Music Festival 2013 organized by the Malaysian Youth Orchestra Foundation (MYOF) was held on the 14 & 15 September at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel & Spa. The Music Festival has been an annual event since 2007, and has attracted students from all over the Asean region, as well as supporters in forms of music educators and musicians from around the world to serve as the adjudicators during this festival. (Click here to read more about MYMF 2013)


The School of Music is proud to have several students who participated in this festival. We managed to catch up with a few of them and asked 3 main questions:

Q1: List “Top 3 Things that I learned from this festival”
Q2: How did you manage to balance schoolwork with participation at this festival?
Q3: Describe the knowledge and skills learned as a student from SoM/UCSIU in preparing for the festival


Tan Tzu Kuang

Currently pursuing Foundation in Music, Year 1, Semester 2
Won 3rd place in the Young Artist Category YA17

With Mirzan Mahathir, Chaiman of MYOF
With Mirzan Mahathir, Chaiman of MYOF

Tzu Kuang has performed at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture with a group of music students, and at the Closing Concert of Euroasia 2013 Music Festival. His past achievements include:

  • 1st Place (Classical Open Category) in the Roland Piano Competition 2013
  • Silver award in the Asia Piano Competition 2013
  • 1st class Certificate (Adolescent Intermediate) in the 13th Hong Kong (Asia Pacific) Piano Competition Malaysia Preliminary Contest.

Tzu Kuang shares, “In my category, the competition was very tough. Everyone plays at a high level and has amazing musicality. There were Indonesians that participated and played very well. They were in the same category and won 1st and 2nd prize.”

By participating in this festival, Tzu Kuang has more confidence in himself and in the pieces that he plays. He has also learned not to please the judges too much with over singing a passage in a percussive piece. The most important lesson he learned from this competition is to prepare earlier! Due to his focus on schoolwork, “I almost forgotten about learning my piece for this event” he claims.

When asked about how he balances his time between preparing for this festival and schoolwork, Tzu Kuang shared,

“There were many challenges with the practice time and not getting enough of practice. I think the most important thing is the love for music. If you are already busy the whole day but really love music and have the drive to practice, then no matter how tired you are, you can still go to the piano and practice.”

Tzu Kuang cites that his lecturer in UCSIU, Mr.Loo Bang Hean “has helped me a lot in my technical facilities and musical maturity. UCSIU’s classes has also helped my rhythm to be much more stable because the piece I played required a very steady rhythm. I met a lot of friends in UCSIU who have the same interest as me. I was able to play for them as if I am performing at the festival and it helped me with my nerves on stage because I actually “practiced” performing to them.”

Lisa Chung Li Sun

Currently pursuing her B.Mus in Classical (Violin Performance), Year 2, Sem 3
Won First prize (GOLD) in the Violin Solo Open Category. Lisa performed Legende, Op.17 by Henryk Wienaiwski. She was accompanied by Lisha Wong.

Lisa with her accompanist Lisha Wong (2nd from left) and category judges
Lisa with her accompanist Lisha Wong (2nd from left) and category judges

Lisa has performed in KLPAC with the KLPAC orchestra and various string ensembles. From this festival, she has learned that “Memorizing your music is important. I understand the musicality much better than just reading from the score, and this has benefitted me greatly.” It has also reduced her stage anxiety because “the more experience performing in public or in competitions, it will reduce your nervous level and build up your confidence level”. Lisa has also learned to “understand your weakness in your piece. By analyzing difficult passages in fragments, then joining all the passages like puzzle, it helps to learn the piece more effectively.”

Being a sophomore, Lisa has learned how to analyze and understand the styles and musicality of this particular piece that she performed by doing some research or listening to recordings of the piece. Ensemble playing has also helped her a lot as

“my experience from CME class, I find it helpful to rehearse together with pianist. My performing skills have also improved from attending and performing in lunch time student recitals organized by the School.”

Lisa learned to balance schoolwork and her participation at this festival by focusing more on preparing for the competition during daytime, and then complete her assignments at night.

Dr. Chan from UPMChan Mei Xuan

Currently pursuing Foundation in Music.
Won 1st Prize in the Modern Pieces Category (MB21), Piano Solo Performance (Age 18-21). She played “Etude de Sonorité No. 2” by François Morel.

Fresh from her win at the Asia Piano Competition in Taiwan earlier this month, Mei Xuan continues to gain her performing experiences by participating at this festival. She says,

“Although I’m still a freshman in the Foundation program, my piano lessons at UCSIU has strengthen my skills. I am happy to have dedicated lecturers who are ever willing to share their knowledge to increase my own. Meeting new friends has also broaden my views in music performance.”

When asked how she balances school work and preparing for the festival, Mei Xuan adds, “In my school work and competitions, I always set my priorities and allocate time accordingly. I am thankful to receive strong support from my family and friends.”

Lee Lyn Sheng

Bachelor of Classical Music (Hons) Piano Performance
Year 2 Semester 3
Won First Prize in the Open Solo Category (above 21 years)
Performed Etude No. 11, Pour les arpèges composés (composite arpeggios) by Claude Debussy.

Lyn Sheng flanked by category judges, Roger Lord(l) and Robert Chamberlain (r)
Lyn Sheng flanked by category judges, Roger Lord(l) and Robert Chamberlain (r)

Lyn Sheng obtained her LTCL not too long ago in 2012. Here, she shares with us her experience participating at this festival:

“It has been a wonderful experience. Nervous as I was, having to perform and compete against other competent performers, I enjoyed the entire experience. It was a challenging experience with an outcome that was rather unexpected! It was all too exciting and shocking for me to swallow at first. However, this has taught me to be more confident to face newer challenges in the future.

I am so fortunate for all the dedicated lecturers in UCSI. The preparation process was tougher as the competition drew nearer, and all the encouragement and guidance from lecturers who have taught me helped me improve and stay motivated.”

Ending the interview, she says,

“I can only thank all my encouraging lecturers and supportive friends for their support and motivation during this entire experience. It has been challenging, but totally worth it!”


Lim Zhi Ru

BMus Classical Young Artist Category (18-21 years old)
Performned Chopin Etude op.10 no.4 in C# minor and Debussy’s I’isle Joyeuxe

Lim Zhi Ru with fellow participants and judge, Dr. Christine Tan (r)
Lim Zhi Ru (2nd from left) with fellow participants and judge, Dr. Christine Tan (r)

Zhi Ru obtained her ATCL with distinction in 2010. Participating at this festival has given Zhi Ru more confidence and she has learned about herself as a performer. She shares with us, “Amongst the things I have learned from this experience include, never let another participant’s performance or rehearsal affects my playing. I also learned that the ultimate fruit of a competition is not the prize, but the satisfaction and improvement that I gain.”

She generously shares with us one of the best practice methods she used when learning the pieces she played for this festival, “I’ve learned that slow practice is always the fastest way of learning and it avoids bad habits that we might struggle when we try to play at a required tempo.

Slow practices also allow our brain to think musically and remain the relaxation of our hands.

When learning the Debussy piece, I am exposed to various hand postures that produces different tone colors. The Chopin is my first etude. It is technically hard and it is very fast. It requires a lot of relaxation of the body to play (at a) fast (tempo) but still sound intense. My lecturer, Dr. P’ng suggested various useful rhythmic practices to achieve accuracy in the rhythmic patterns. He gave me freedom to experiment different tone colors and find a suitable one on my own. He also gave me mental support by sharing his experience as well as helping me deal with psychological barriers.”

Congratulations to all UCSIU School of Music participants and winners of the Malaysian Youth Music Festival 2013.

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