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Jakarta Globe Interview with Cecillia Young

Cecillia Young sebelum tampil di acara Christmas King Foto

Cecillia Young sebelum tampil di acara Christmas King Foto

Musical instruments are as diverse as the people who choose to play them. Cecillia Young describes learning to play the violin at 5 years old as a ‘love at first sight’ decision.

Now a high school student, she performs as a soloist and in orchestras, and has released her own album combining traditional Indonesian music with the violin’s classical origins.

Beyond showcasing her violin talents, Cecillia spreads her enthusiasm by teaching small children how to play the delicate instrument. And sometimes, she’s just there to listen

to them chat away, depending on the mood of her
underaged clients.

She does all this while hoping to one day run her own Cecillia Young music center.

Violin is hardly the most popular instrument here. Why did you choose it instead of, let’s say, the guitar?

I enjoy the extra challenge. Violin is unique in the sense that it is not easy to play. You need to put it on your shoulder, fingers hold the strings and the other hand holds the bow. It’s a position people might feel very uncomfortable in. I really find excitement in performing with the complicated instrument.

You just released your own CD, ‘Bali Sutrepti.’ What does ‘sutrepti’ actually mean?

Sutrepti means tertib dan lestari [in order and everlasting], so ‘Bali Sutrepti’ means an orderly and everlasting Bali. I am Indonesian and I love Indonesian traditional music. Indonesian traditional music becomes something special if I mix it with violin. It’s a touch of a traditional music meets classical.

So why Bali?

Bali is the so-called window for Indonesian tourism. Believe it or not, most foreigners know Bali better than Indonesia.

What kind of experiences have you had performing live?

Frankly speaking, most of my performances have been large events, with a full orchestra and thousands in the audience. For these events, all of us have to practice two to three months before performing.

For solo events, I was really proud to have the opportunity to play in front of Governor Fauzi Bowo and the mayors of both North and East Jakarta.

And what will your next music project be?

My long-term plan is making my own Cecillia Young music center. So I’m now looking for investors for the project. I am also preparing to make another album of traditional music from Indonesia.

How were you first introduced to the instrument?

When I was a little girl, 5 years old to be precise, I saw a violin at a music store. From the beginning, I liked the cute and small form of the violin. When I tried to play it, I found that it produced a beautiful sound. So I can say that I fell in love with the violin at first sight [laughs].

And years later, you are teaching violin to kids as well?

Yes. Well, it’s more of my personal mission. I myself came from nothing, and I can now proudly say that I’m a professional violin player. I teach violin because I want my students to have the same experience, starting from nobody to become somebody. Plus, by teaching, I also can practice and learn more myself.

What’s the biggest challenge in teaching violin to children?

Children below 6 years old easily get bored, tired and have difficulties concentrating on certain activities, especially pressing the string and holding the bow. It demands extra patience to teach young kids. I always try to act like their friend, so they can talk to me about their difficulties without any pressure to perform well. Sometimes they don’t really feel like studying the violin and prefer to share their stories instead. When that happens, I have to listen and respond to them as a friend. Gradually I will steer them back to practicing the violin again after they’ve had a break and refreshed themselves.

Indirectly, I learn about psychology; how to acquire and maintain the interest of children to learn something new, especially playing the violin. Can you believe that I teach them the basic music notations by coloring or drawing music notes with cute pictures? This is the most effective way for them to learn violin.

You’re an advertising model as well. Is this a sign of you being tempted to try a new career?

It’s more about seizing opportunities. Somebody asked me to model because he knew that I am pretty popular as a violinist [laughs].

You are still a student at SMU Tarakanita. How do you balance music and school?

I arrange it so that my performance and practice schedule will not conflict with school. I do my daily practice only after I finish all my school assignments. I will focus on my academic pursuits first and foremost, no doubt about that.

You graduate from high school next year. What are your plans for the future?

Besides violin, I will go to medical school. I want to become a doctor who is a professional violinist as well [laughs].

Cecillia Young was talking to Edison Lestari.

Foto – Foto Cecillia Young sebelum tampil di acara Christmas King Foto 14 Desember 2011

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