The performing arts have always been a strong interest of mine, and throughout my school years I have participated in many activities in addition to taking classes in the arts. For most of elementary and middle school I participated in theater productions and took dance classes, and I enjoyed these, but my biggest passion was music. Since I was seven years old I have participated in school choir, and I started taking piano lessons at age six. Although my main instrument so far has been voice, I also taught myself some guitar, ukulele and percussion.
My main commitment to the arts has been through choir. I have been singing in choir for most of my life, but more opportunities surfaced once I entered high school. In ninth grade I attended the AISA choir festival at Korean International School in Seoul, a weekend which allowed me to meet other singers and train for a group concert. Unfortunately that was the final year that the festival took place, but since then, I was selected to perform in the Kanto Plains Honor Choir during grades nine, ten and eleven, and hope to audition next year as well. All three years this event has been a remarkable experience filled with long hours of practice and other students that are passionate about singing. Through this choir I have even made friends from other schools in the Tokyo area. Being able to sing a variety of styles in choir has been very beneficial to me, as it has allowed me to explore genres that I might not have otherwise expected to enjoy.
As part of the IB program, I take Music at the higher level. So far this course has been very demanding but has taught me a lot about different areas of musical study, as it includes performance, composition, ethnomusicology and analysis in its assessment. Through my other music classes, private vocal lessons and experiences with choir I was quite familiar with performance, and even composition somewhat, but the other two areas have been a challenge to pick up. I am, however, very grateful that the course allows students to explore different paths within the field of music, as I am considering it as a path of study for university. I think that my participation in this class has definitely urged me to improve my practicing habits and will continue to push me through the next year. At the end of eleventh grade, I was happily surprised to be named high school musician of the year at YIS. This award gave me recognition for all of my work and improvements in music class and as a singer throughout the year, and I am very proud of my achievement.
Outside of school, I have attended two different musical summer camps, one after ninth grade and one after tenth. The first one, A Cappella Academy, gave me the opportunity to sing contemporary a cappella with other high school students and the accomplished group, Pentatonix. During this 10-day camp, we prepared for a final performance and each group recorded a song that was produced and put together in an album on iTunes. The next year I attended SOCAPA for two weeks in New York City, where I took songwriting classes and received the opportunity to record my own work in a recording studio. Both of these experiences, while quite different from each other, taught me a lot about my own skills and how I can use them for different purposes. As a result of my time during these summers I am very interested in both arranging contemporary a cappella music and general composition, which are both options I have been able to explore in my DP Music class.
Music has played such a large role in my life so far, and I know that it will continue to do so, whether or not this is in an academic environment. My experiences have allowed me to develop as an artist, and over time I feel that I have gotten better at expressing myself through my music and my compositions. I am glad that I have been able to participate in such a variety of musical endeavours, as they have all taught me something important about my interests and my personality.