INTERNATIONAL student, Stephen Lee, talks to Sol Ahn about studying music at Monash University, the 2013 International Chinese New Talent Singing Competition and his dream to be a music teacher.
Coming to Australia with a dream, international student Stephen Lee arrived on Australian soil to study music in hopes that he would be able to take what he’s learned back to Hong Kong and teach music to others.
He arrived in Australia five years ago with the expectation that he would work towards his dream, an expectation that he set very high for himself and an expectation he feels he will be able to achieve.
“When I first came [to Australia], it was great. I lived in the city so it was very convenient for me to [see different places and] try [new] things,” Stephen says.
Studying at Monash University, Stephen spoke about how he felt there was so much more to learn about music upon entering the university.
“When I got into university it was really good [because] I [had] access to [many different types of] music. [It wasn’t just] classical but also jazz and [other] well-known music around the world.”
Music [can act as] a medium or a bridge [for us] to communicate. Even though you don’t know the language or [understand] anothers’ culture, music is very good medium to share [that] culture.”
On music’s power to inspire, Stephen wants to be able to share his story and his emotion through music.
“Music [can act as] a medium or a bridge [for us] to communicate. Even though you don’t know the language or [understand] anothers’ culture, music is very good medium to share [that] culture.”
While studying to accomplish his dream, Stephen entered the 2013 International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship. The opportunity to enter the competition came from one of his friends who suggested he enter and use it as a means to move closer to his dream.
“I entered [the competition] to [gain] experience at first, and as a singing student, I practice at least 3 hours every day. It was relaxed experience,” Stephen says.
Stephen believes that his knowledge on how to sing in a classical capacity, and his commitment to practicing every day, was the reason he made it into the semi-finals.
Stephen couldn’t afford to get sick or risk damaging his vocal chords either for the competition.
“[Falling ill is perhaps] the most dangerous thing to a singer and because [the competition] was in winter, I needed to keep myself warm and drank lots of water to keep my [vocal chords] moisturized.”
Though Stephen didn’t make it into the finals of the International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship, he said he would like to participate on a television show like, The Voice if he’s ever given the chance.
“When I watch The Voice on television, the candidates are very good singers. I would like to practice with them,” Stephen says.
I know there’s a lot of pressure to be a musician – both financially and [through its uncertainty] – but don’t let the fear seize you.”
Reaching the semi-finals was only the start for Stephen though. Through the competition, he’s had the pleasure of making new friends – friends who share the same passion he has for music. In meeting new people, Stephen feels that sharing your dreams with peers who have similar aspirations is crucial.
For now though, Stephen is putting his efforts into studying. On advice he would give to fellow students, Stephen feels that student’s need not worry too much about the uncertainty that comes with working in the arts.
“Do not [be] afraid about what the future [will look like] because you do not know what will happen. I know there’s a lot of pressure to be a musician – both financially and [through its uncertainty] – but don’t let the fear seize you. What you can get from music is far more precious than anything else.”