“PIANO students should not limit themselves to what constantly is the misconception that certain things can only be achieved by adults.
“You can become an awesome pianist once you have this mindset in place,” said Loh Xi Yuan.
As his accomplishments attest, the nine-year-old has fully embraced the mindset. In November last year, the SJK(C) Pin Hwa (1), Selangor, pupil earned his second spot in the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR), certifying him as the “Youngest to Complete Licentiate Diploma Piano Performance”.
This was in recognition of him passing the licentiate (LTCL) piano examination from Trinity College London, an examination board based in the United Kingdom.
The LTCL is equivalent in standard to the final year recital of an undergraduate degree.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Xi Yuan had only undergone 11 months of physical lessons before he took the examination.
The first MBR certificate he earned was in 2020, when he was recognised as the “Youngest to Complete Highest Piano Exam Level”.
Then six years old, he passed the piano Grade Eight examination, also from Trinity College London, after only five months of lessons as a beginner student.
In addition, he recently won the second prize at the 5th Piano Island Festival Competition held in Kuala Lumpur – an event that saw him performing for the first time in public.
Xi Yuan – who has also won six awards at musical contests held in his school with titles such as the best solo player and the best musical interpretation performance under his belt – attributed his achievements to countless hours of practice.
In his early learning stages, he practised the piano five to six hours daily, eventually taking a shorter time as he developed his skills.
“My teacher taught me for three to four hours daily, then two to three hours, as I knew better about the scores,” he told StarEdu.He also expressed his gratitude for his parents – who signed him up for piano lessons after seeing how he had resisted putting down his baby keyboard as a three-year-old – and piano teacher.
“I would like to thank my mum for encouraging me to keep moving forward, my dad for working very hard to pay for my fees, as well as my teacher who provided guidance for me to become a better pianist,” he said.
With musical greats such as Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin as his inspiration, Xi Yuan regularly listens to music arrangements in hopes of following in their footsteps.
“My teacher guides me on how to play from the technical aspect, while my mum guides me through my practice.
“I also ask my parents to find out about the music scores that I like,” he shared.
Sydney, 18, a student in Kuala Lumpur, is a participant of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team. To join Star-NiE’s online youth community, go to facebook.com/niebrats.