Student Spotlight: Angela Kim ’12 Fiddling in the Moment

On Wednesday during All-School Meeting, all the PA students heard Angela Kim ’12 play a violin solo as part of the Symphony Orchestra. Yet, the concert was merely one of her six concerts she is scheduled to perform this week. She has also been a frequent appearance in Grasshopper Night, playing the electric violin. The Phillipian interviews this talented violinist about her musical passions. Q: When and how did you pick up your instrument? A: I started playing the violin when I was four. I went to a concert and heard a violinist playing the violin. I thought its sound was very pretty and elegant. After watching the concert, I was very eager to play the violin myself. So, I asked my mom, and she took me to the violin academy in Korea, where I picked up violin. Q: What drives you to play violin? A: Playing violin or any other instrument might become very stressful if you’re only caught up in competing or auditioning. But, I enjoy playing violin because it can work as a way to relax and relieve stress when I’m stressed out from other academic commitments, etc. Every now and then, I play my favorite pieces when I’m too stressed out. Q: How are you so confident on stages and concerts? A: Actually, I’m still nervous when I perform in front of the crowd. When I was in middle school, I even had to get special medication to calm myself – I would just stop playing because I get too nervous on stage. After years of practicing and performing for big crowds at concerts, I learned a technique to overcome my nervousness. I try to not think about how well I’m playing my violin at the moment, but I try to think of something else rather and let my hands play on. Q: Are you considering violinist as your future career? A: No, but I would like to continue playing violin perhaps by joining amateur orchestras. I know life as a musician is hard since it’s very competitive, and I don’t want music to be so stressful like that, because I want to enjoy playing it and keep it as my way of relaxing and relieving stress. Q: What music programs are you participating in at Andover? A: I’m part of the Chamber Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra, and the chamber music program. This year, I’m also playing for “Applachian Spring,” and I play at any occasion I can perform. Q: What are some of the major musical achievements outside of Andover? A: Outside Andover, I go to the New England Conservatory in Boston every Saturday to play in the orchestra there. I leave at 6:50 am in the morning and come back at 7:00 pm at night. Also, I went to a prestigious arts and music school called Yewon in Korea before coming here – I’d say that’s one of my musical achievements. Recently, I’ve auditioned at a musical competition where I placed as a state representative violin player, and I will be performing in New Jersey this winter. Q: How often do you practice your violin? A: When I was preparing for audition to get into the music school in Korea, I practiced for about 8 hours a day minimum back then. Constantly playing for the orchestra also helps me practice. Q: Do you have any advice to your fellow musicians? A: I’d say the biggest problem I have now when performing is trying to not get nervous on stage. I would suggest that when you get nervous, stop playing, and you have to tell yourself you can do it and be confident. Music is what you should do because you enjoy it, and yet, you should still set aside some time to practice your instrument regularly. Especially if you’re still learning how to play your instrument, you should commit a lot of time to practice if you want to improve.