Article by: Kyle Kim
The first few minutes of stepping on the grounds of Kuala Lumpur to participate in the IASAS Cultural Convention for music were one of the most emotional times of my life. The experience of traveling to another country and performing with other student musicians seemed extraordinary and dreamlike.
The first day of the Cultural Convention consisted of adjudications, which involved a solo performance in front of judges who offered their feedbacks. As I stepped into the room for my adjudication, I was scared and nervous, but I was comforted by the support I received from friends and the upperclassmen, who were also awaiting their own adjudication. When face-to-face with the judges, I shook and trembled with fear, begging myself not to mess up. After my performance, relief washed over me as I received life-changing feedback to help me on my musical journey.
The second day was the adjudication for the octets, which involved 8 people from the same schools playing different instruments. We all experienced the same anxiety, having only ten minutes of practice. When we arrived at the adjudication room, we made eye contact with each other throughout the piece to ensure that nobody was lost and to support those who made mistakes. It was as if we were talking to each other, but communicating through music instead of with words. At the end of the day, we received great feedback and were proud of each other. We were like a big family.
While I experienced many great things during IASAS CulCon, the most important insight was that beyond providing people with something nice to listen to, music has the ability to connect people and allow them to bond as a group. This experience has fueled my passion for music and has pumped me for the next three years of the Cultural Convention.