ONE- Completing my Diploma Final Recital
One of the earliest highlights of 2017 begun in May, where I completed my Dip 3 Final Recital. I still remember feeling really nervous and excited at the same time, and when it was my turn to play, I was completely absorbed into the moment and had this massive surge of adrenaline inside me. It was also my first time performing in front of some of my friends, and I’m glad my dad and my friends were able to come. The final recital was also the day I realised how loud I sing while I play, which kinda threw me off for the whole day. Overall, it was a great accomplishment for me.
TWO- Entering BMus 3
After completing my diploma programme, I was accepted into the Royal College of Music degree programme and that is definitely one of the highlights of 2017. In my first year in NAFA, I thought I will never make it, and so I just wanted to work hard and hope for the best. I’m grateful to the school for having faith in me and accepting me for two more years. The standards are definitely higher, and the modules are also more difficult. I’m glad for the new opportunities I have received, including writing programme notes for the last Orchestra concert. My time spent in school has been quite enriching and fulfilling, a lot more is definitely in store for me.
THREE- Learning how to cycle (again)
I actually managed to cycle when I was fourteen, but after an accident which left a scar on my left knee till this day, I never cycled alone again. My foundation was not very good to begin with, so the moment I decided to pick up cycling again, I had to relearn it. I’m glad to have such a patient boyfriend to teach me how to cycle, and tolerating my frustrations and scoldings. Now I can go for our monthly cycling sessions without burdening him with a tandem bike, and I’m forever grateful. Being able to cycle again was definitely a personal achievement for me.
FOUR- Writing Xiao Long Bao
I just had to include this as one of my highlights because of how much joy this has brought to me and the people around me. When I was tasked to write a song for the Outreach class, I was so stressed out because I have never written/composed anything in my life, and I did not know what to write. I first thought of writing about something I love, like eggs, but my boyfriend suggested I write a song about Xiao Long Bao (shall keep the background story a secret for now, but I really love Xiao Long Bao). The more I brainstormed ideas for the song, the more I got the hang of it and the ideas kept flowing (and things started to become super hilarious). At first, I was very embarrassed to show the song to the class, because who the heck writes about such a random topic? But the class loved it and it made me love the song more. My family were obsessed over it and couldn’t stop teasing me about it (in a good way).
I’m also amazed and immensely grateful that a bunch of friends were so accepting of my idea that was initially so small and lame, and turned it into a meaningful project, from modifying the words to performing with a group of friends. Great ideas cannot be fulfilled alone.
This song is definitely going to be in my wedding and no one can stop me muahahaha.
FIVE- Returning to RVHS after four years
The same week after I finished my final recital, my juniors invited me back to my alma mater to watch the post-SYF Appreciation Concert. It has been 4 years since I graduated (I’m already Year 10 omg), and going back to a familiar yet unfamiliar place, I felt like I don’t belong in there anymore. However, seeing my RV String Ensemble juniors working so hard and reuniting with my juniors who have also graduated, really brought back heartfelt memories to me. From the rehearsals, to the practicing, to the STOREROOM, really makes me wish I could go back and relive everything again. Also, the way I listen to music and concerts have also changed, which also changed my impression of school performing arts groups. The passion and drive these kids have really reminded me of why I loved music so much in the first place to want to make it my career.
SIX- NAFA Convocation 2017
I’ve already written a separate post on it, so you can go read it here to find out what went down and how I felt, but that day was definitely one of the biggest highlights of 2017. I’m so glad my academic journey has went better than expected for me and till this day, I am grateful to the people who have helped me get there. A lot of things has changed for me since then, but when there are times that I feel down, I will always go back to this moment and be reminded that good things do not come easy.
SEVEN- Memorable concerts I have attended
2017 is also a great year for Classical Concerts, and I am glad to have attended quite a few of them (though sadly I won’t be able to include everything in this post, or it would be a thousand words more). I enjoyed Messiaen’s Turangalîla by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, where despite the whole programme only consisting of that one piece, it was a feast for the ears and my imagination. It was my first time listening to the Ondes Martenot live, which was really new to me. It also opened my ears to Messiaen’s music and I find myself appreciating his music more. Another one by the SSO was Mozart Requiem with the Singapore Symphony Chorus and TPCC. Mozart Requiem was the first work I encountered with the NAFA Chorus, and my memory of it is still very vivid. Masaaki Suzuki was a great conductor, and the orchestra and chorus were strong. The Amen chorus of his son Masaato Suzuki’s edition, was also new to my ears.
One of the major concerts I have watched this year is Angela Hewitt’s solo recital at the Victoria Concert Hall in May. I really looked up to her for her knowledge on Bach and the Baroque style, and I was so glad I managed to listen to her live performance for the first time on a Fazioli piano. Her performance of the Bach Partitas were executed with great control and touch, with careful attention to detail, and the Ravel Sonatine was fluid and full of character.
Lastly, not forgetting listening to Melvyn Tan’s performances, and I am glad to have attended all three of them. First, the Mendelssohn First Piano Concerto with the SSO, where I first witnessed his playing that was full of character, engaging communication and beautiful singing tone. Secondly, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major K.453 with the reSound Collective, where I experienced a solo pianist playing and conducting an orchestra at the same time, giving me new ideas on how Mozart’s piano concertos should be played (separate post here). Finally, his solo recital last Wednesday (27 Dec), which once again displayed his animated character, vivid imagination and strong communication. A musician like him is so unique that it is impossible to imitate.
EIGHT- Memorable Concerts I have performed in
I performed in two memorable concerts in my first year in the degree course. First would have to be my first time playing in the NAFA concert series (Winning Keys). It was the first time I felt relaxed and enjoyed myself throughout, so much so that my teacher even realised it. It was nice to be able to perform alongside my wonderfully talented schoolmates. Second would definitely be singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in the chorus with the TPO and TPCC. It was memorable for many reasons, I listened to this piece so many times both in concert and in recordings, and I finally knew the words to the chorus part and got to experience performing it. Also, it was my first time singing offstage in close view of the audience, which was super nerve wrecking and I don’t even know how we managed to pull it off, but we did.
NINE- Discovering good books and going back to reading regularly
This year, I decided to go back to reading regularly during my free time, I would read before going to school, read on the commute (when I’m not listening to podcasts) and read before bedtime (unless it’s some intense thriller novel by Dan Brown which would keep me up all night). I used to read frequently when I was in primary school, but I seemed to have stopped doing it afterwards, and I really want to go back to doing it again. I picked up my first book (Crazy Rich Asians) and from then on, I was once again hooked onto reading. I was reminded about my love for reading and how vivid my imagination could be just by reading a novel. I am also glad to have discovered some new good books and authors along the way, such as Roxane Gay (The Feminist, An Untamed State) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah, Half of a Yellow Sun). I gained new perspectives on life, and learnt new things about the world around me.
I have written separate posts on books I have read in October and November 2017, which you can read here and here. A post on December 2017 will be coming soon (if I’m not lazy to write it haha).
TEN- New relationship
Lastly, another big highlight of 2017. Gonna save this for next time haha ❤
Overall, I can safely say that 2017 has been the best year of my life so far, I don’t think 2018 is going to beat that, but I’m really looking forward to what life has in store for me in future!
Anyone staying up to countdown tonight? For me, I will be spending New Year’s Eve Night gorging on snacks and counting down to the new year with my family. Happy new year everyone!
Till next time, take care everyone xo