Leo Yamada (Gold Award Winner)

AY : Where are you from Leo?

LY :I’m from Tokyo, Japan.

AY: When did you first start playing the piano and why did you start?

LY: I started to learn the piano at the age of five. Actually my parents first took me to a piano school at the age of three because I always became excited when I heard Liszt’s La Campanella. But I was too shy to play in front of a teacher, so my piano lesson was suspended soon.

After a year or so, a friend of mine asked me to play a four-handed piano piece with her at her piano school’s concert. I enjoyed playing in front of an audience, and since then I continue practicing the piano.

AY: What do you enjoy the most in your music studies?

LY: I like technical practices like scales, but prefer playing my favourite pieces. When I feel that my play is improving by doing technical practices or by following my teacher’s advice, I feel the happiest.


AY: Could you please tell us how you make your practice more fun and efficient for yourself?

LY: I choose a piece which I really like and want to play. And I imagine I play the piece beautifully. Then the practice becomes more fun while I gradually achieve what I imagine.

AY: Do you play in a chamber music group or orchestra and if yes, please tell us about your favourite moments playing in the group.

LY: I have never played in a group. But recently I did a piano duo play, and I enjoyed it when we produced a beautiful harmony.

AY: How do you balance academic studies with practice and what is your best advice for efficient time-management?

LY: I don’t do much of my school work. I just do my homework, which I try to finish first quickly. But I’m not good at managing time, and I often rush my homework at the last moment. I need to change that.

AY: Did you find your experience at the 2nd New Talent British International Youth Music Competition a beneficial one? If yes, please tell us why.

LY: It was a great experience for me. I could concentrate on my piece in preparation for the competition, during which I felt I improved a lot. Moreover, on the competition day, I enjoyed listening to many kinds of music for various instruments.

AY: Is there anything coming up in the coming months that makes you excited? Please tell us about it!

LY: After the competition, I joined the Chetham piano summer school and met several famous pianists. Some of them could teach me again in the near future, which makes me very excited.

In addition, I’m planning to take part in a piano competition held in Brno, Czech Republic. I will play Mozart Sonata K330 (1st and 2nd movements), which is one of my favorite pieces, so I am excited.

AY: What advice do you have for young musicians who have just started learning an instrument?

LY: I think to have a good object is important. I often watch Youtube trying to find a music piece which I feel really cool and want to play. It should be a rather challenging but not too difficult one. Then I practice the piece from time to time together with my normal practice. By doing so the practice becomes fun, and when I finally become able to play the piece easily, the sense of achievement is really great. Then I start looking for another challenging piece.

Thank you Leo!

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