Interviews with the 2013 IU Youth Competition Winners -Junior Division

Thanks in part to Executive Director Petar Jankovic, the Indiana University Guitar Competition had a successful fourth year. We asked the youth competition winners for some insight into their personal experiences from the event.

Kairey WangFirst place winner Kairey Wang has played the guitar for 7 years. She attends Boulan Park Middle School and currently studies with Helen Rottenburg. She also studied with Scott Gossage, Patrick O’Connell, Rob Watson, and Brett Hoag.

How much do you practice?

I usually practice from 1-1½ hours every day. If I am playing in a competition, then I play for a longer time (I practice 1 to 2 hours, have a break, then practice again, have a break, etc). But if I am really busy, I practice as much as I can or don’t practice for the day.

What music did you play at the competition?

Etude No. 7 Op. 60 by Matteo Carcassi and Sunburst Jubilation by Andrew York.

How did you prepare mentally?

I told myself to relax, have fun, and try my best. If I don’t do these things, I feel extremely tense and being tense makes it harder for me to play.

What are you goals for the near future?

I want to get used to being in front of an audience by playing in more recitals, concerts, and master classes. This will help me prepare for other competitions. Getting used to an audience will also help me with other things that I have to do in front of a crowd.

What are your goals for the long term?

To do well in more competitions, especially the Guitar Foundation of America Youth competitions. I would also like to learn different types of guitar music that are more unique and aren’t quite classical but still include the technique used for classical guitar.

What is something unrelated to the guitar that is interesting or unique about you?

I like cross country running and I like to cook/bake. I think I like cross country running is because it is a competition against yourself. I like cooking and baking because it is fun to figure out how to make something that you never could do before.

 

jacob tan unedited photoSecond place winner Jacob Tan has been playing the guitar since he was 5 years old. He started with the electric guitar and moved on to classical guitar at 6 1/2 years old when his teacher suggested it. He started studying with Jason Behr when he was 9 (after his teacher recommended that he move on to a classically trained guitarist).

How much do you practice?

I usually practice an hour a day Monday though Thursday. I have lessons on Friday and I usually don’t practice on the weekends. I do 30 mins of what my teacher assigns me and 30 minutes of repertoire.

What music did you play at the competition?

I played one song. Prelude number 1 by Villa- Lobos.

How did you prepare mentally?

I usually don’t get nervous. I’m eager to perform. I was really excited to go to Indiana University and to compete in my first competition.

What are your goals for the near future?

I hope to go to more competitions out of state and do more performances. I couldn’t compete at the Wilson Center Guitar Festival but I was able to perform at their young performers showcase. I also recently played at the Wilson Art Center for the solicitors who go out and get donations. Ill be playing at my conservatory’s Performathon in November.

What are your goals for the long term?

I hope to study guitar in college. I might want to be a guitar teacher or a radiologist.

What is something unrelated to the guitar that is interesting or unique about you? I swim on the Elmbrook swim team and I go to practice 3-4 times a week and meets on the weekends. I am also learning how to speak Mandarin.

 

Third place winner Yian Wang studied with Scott Gossage at Silicon Valley Guitar School. He now studies with Anthony DiMambro at Suzuki Royal Oak Institute of Music. He has played guitar for 5 years. Yian attends Bemis Elementary School.

How much do you practice?

I usually practice from 20 minutes to half an hour each time. I am trying to practice every day, but it is hard sometimes.

What music did you play at the competition?

I played Waltz by Paganini and Etude and Lesson by Sor.

How did you prepare mentally?

When I am at the competition, I pretend this is just one of my recitals. When I feel nervous, I tried to remind myself: let the nervousness be your friend.

What are your goals for the near future?

I want to finish learning Suzuki guitar book 4 and start book 5.

What are your goals for the long term?

I hope to win GFA competition.

What is something unrelated to the guitar that is interesting or unique about you?

I love anything related to football. I know a lot of trivia on football. I like to make up some trivia questions. Sometimes they can be challenging to adults.

 

Constantin cleverly disguised as Percy Jackson.
Constantin disguised as his hero Percy Jackson for the school parade.

Fourth place winner Constantin Chekardzhikov is 7 years old. He has already received several top prizes in solo and ensemble competitions. He started playing the guitar at age 3 under the guidance of his father Vasil Chekardzhikov. He currently attends the Ivycrest School of the Arts taking weekly lessons for solo, chamber and guitar ensemble. In his free time he loves to read books. He takes classes in tennis, gymnastics, taekwondo, and ballroom. He also studies violin and electric guitar.

How much do you practice?

I practice few minutes everyday, as much time as my schedule allows me.

What music did you play at the competition?

I played Torrito by Zennamon from the Bridges Royal Conservatory of Music series. I also played Waltz from the second Suzuki book by Calatayud.

How did you prepare mentally?

I attended a 3 weeks guitar course in Switzerland along with my dad who studied with maestro Georgi Vassilev at The HEMU Campus at Sion in the beginning of October. Every day I practiced technique, memorized my new material and had fun discovering new concepts presented by maestro Vassilev.

What are your goals for the near future?

To learn to find balance in practice and have fun during competitions.

What are your goals for the long term?

Make new friends and love the guitar for the rest of my life.

What is something unrelated to the guitar that is interesting or unique about you?

I love my teachers in taekwondo, tennis, violin, gymnastics, ballroom and guitar. I have been taking lessons in those areas for several years now and with consistency and love results are coming through. I got a silver medal for both poomse [taekwondo] and sparring at the Nationals in Chicago. My violin teacher is getting me ready to audition for the Titan youth orchestra at CSUF. But over all reading is what I do most, as I spent a lot of time in traffic going to and from school and all of my lessons.

I am very thankful to all my friends, teachers and parents for all the joy and opportunities around me.

 

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