📝By Eric Xiao
Musician of the Month is a series of SJAM Music blogs that highlights the accomplishments and experiences of one outstanding SJAM Music student each month. The Musician of the Month for December is Harry Kim!
Everyone in the SJAM Music Department has probably heard of the legends of the one and only Grade 12 student Harry Kim. With his unwavering commitments to his academics and SJAM Music, he is undoubtedly the model SJAM Music student.
Even before entering high school, Harry was already a musical prodigy, having played the clarinet for 4 years, guitar since Grade 2, and piano since the age of 5; guitar and clarinet are among his most proficient instruments, while piano is surprisingly among his least. However, the main spark that caused him to enter the SJAM Music program in Grade 9 was his sister, who was in Grade 12 at the time. She emphasized that being part of the SJAM Music community was a truly spectacular experience, which really pushed her younger brother to join as well. By joining SJAM Music, Harry was able to pick up a few other instruments, including the bass/double bass, electric bass, and bass clarinet.
Throughout high school, Harry has been a member of a plethora of ensembles and music groups. They include (take a deep breath): Junior Band, Junior Jazz, Intermediate Jazz, Senior Band, Senior Jazz, Clarinet Ensemble, String Ensemble, Music Council, the Matilda Musical band, Guitar Ensembles, Tahir’s Peers, Jazz Combo, and Doki Doki Instrumental Club.
Whew, that was a mouthful! That might just be the entire list of all the music clubs offered at SJAM (comment down below if you know one that isn’t in this list)! Let’s move on.
Harry finds pursuing music in high school a worthwhile experience due to the countless memories it has given him, ranging from little quirks during rehearsals to trips and competitions like MusicFest Nationals (something I will be unable to experience in my lifetime 😦 ). Music has also benefited his growth: during the rehearsal season for SJAM’s Matilda Musical last year, Harry constantly found himself short-pressed on time, as Matilda rehearsals would keep him at school until 8 pm every day of the week for a month! This really drove him to sharpen his organizational skills by finding the time and balance between his school and Matilda commitments. However, what Harry finds most beneficial from his experiences with SJAM Music is the countless number of friendships he has made. He even keeps in contact with several SJAM Music graduates, so he really means it when he says that he has made way too many friends!
Outside of SJAM, Harry continues to thrive in other music communities. For instance, he plays guitar for a praise team at a local church, and he has performed with the KW Youth Concert Band since Grade 10, playing the B-flat and E-flat clarinet at rehearsals and concerts.
Harry is an avid fan of many pieces of music. His notable favourites include Capricho árabe (an acoustic guitar piece), Superstition by Stevie Wonder, Sing Sing Sing, Platinum Disco, and various songs from the Whiplash album. And of course, he is a true K-pop stan, enjoying music like Crayon by G-Dragon and pieces from IU and Big Bang.
Harry’s a real go-getter not only within music, but outside of music too. He mentions that he enjoys breathing (something I dislike) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ On a more serious note, in his spare time, he likes to play video games, go on a grind with studying math and calculus, and read and write. Most importantly, he thrives in the company of his friends, spending much of his free time with them and “roasting Khaled Yaakoub Agha” (¯\_(ツ)_/¯) whenever he gets the chance.
For beginners to the subject of music, Harry gives a lot of helpful tips and advice. He tells beginners to
“expose yourself to as much as you can”
and that the
“best motivation for practice is playing with other people.”
He greatly emphasizes the notion of playing music around others, stating that
“second opinion is always better than just your own”
and that you shouldn’t
“be afraid to ask questions.”
On a more technical level, being able to
“listen to the genre of music you’re playing and how it’s supposed to sound professionally”
will really amp up your performances and turn you into a musical wizard.
Harry’s accomplishments and experiences within his academics and extracurriculars truly make him a spectacular student within school and SJAM Music. He plans on pursuing engineering at the University of Waterloo next year, but let’s hope that his memorable music moments will remain with him throughout his lifetime!
Thank you Harry for answering our blog interview questions, and stay tuned for next month’s Musician of the Month blog 🙂