Year 9 violinist at Meriden in Sydney, Heather Kim, has been awarded the Licentiate Diploma in Performance with Distinction, the highest qualification attainable from the Australian Music Examinations Board.
The AMEB’s qualifications are recognised as a national benchmark in music education across Australia. The Licentiate Diploma is awarded to just 10 per cent of candidates who attempt the qualification.
Heather said she was driven to sit for the Licentiate Diploma in Performance (LMusA) after being awarded the Associate in Music Diploma (AMusA) with Distinction, but there was a demanding workload involved in seeking the higher qualification.
“One of the challenging things for me was the repertoire I had to practise and perform,” Heather said.
“However, the most challenging part of doing my LMusA was balancing my schoolwork and my violin practice. In the end, it was great to meet another goal that I had set for myself and worked very hard for.”
And work hard she did. Heather practised, and continues to practise, violin daily for two-to-three hours on school days and for four-to-five hours a day on weekends and holidays.
“First, I do slow, critical practice with the metronome for accuracy on the whole piece, section by section. While I’m doing this, I focus on my intonation, rhythm and dynamics. Next, I try to incorporate as much musicality into the piece as I can and I do this by listening to a variety of musicians that play my repertoire. I listen to how they interpret the music and the different styles they play, then apply the richness of these interpretations to my own performance.”
Heather has been playing violin since she was five years old and also plays the piano. She said the appeal of the instrument is in its beauty and its challenges.
“When I started playing the violin, it immediately felt like home, like it was a part of me, and it still feels that way,” she said.
“I love to express my emotions through music and I love how many opportunities there are for musicians to be part of something bigger, like orchestras. It is very interesting to perform with other people and make connections through the music.”
Meriden’s Director of Music, Jodie Spooner-Ryan, said the school was extremely proud of Heather’s musical achievements thus far.
“It is wonderful that Heather has achieved this award with Distinction at such a young age,” she said.
“Heather is a member of our Amadeus Program, a program that nurtures our hard-working and dedicated high-level musicians. We look forward to continuing to support her musically and academically to allow her to approach music in a holistic manner. Heather should be very proud of her consistent determination and dedicated hours of practice.”
In early 2019, Heather travelled to Brazil to perform in the Festival de Musica de Santa Catarina (FEMUSC). One of the most important youth music events in the world, the festival brings together some of the world’s most talented musicians from 20 countries for a series of classes and concerts. The experience gave Heather a taste of where her violin could lead her.
“FEMUSC was my first experience travelling to perform with musicians from a diverse range of backgrounds,” Heather said.
“Later, I undertook an Australian Chamber Orchestra program, which allowed me to learn a repertoire for Chamber Strings and to play with many talented musicians. I would like to build on these experiences when I finish school, travelling to perform on stage, both solo and with ensembles.”