A Langley teen keeps busy by doing ordinary teenage things—studying for class and practising her favourite instrument.
But Kitty Liu, a 15-year-old who attends R.E. Mountain Secondary, has taken on a bit more responsibility than the average high school student.
Liu is the founder and director of a non-profit organization called the West Coast Youth Music Society (WCYMS).
“I wanted to spread the joy of music to other people, so that’s why I started this organization,” said Liu.
Liu founded the society in October 2017 after she first performed at a seniors centre.
“I still remember the joy that lit up on the seniors’ faces after hearing us play and that was when I realized how simple it was to bring happiness to others through music.”
The WCYMS is a non-profit group that is open to young musicians age six to 17 who want to perform at public facilities across the Lower Mainland.
Liu co-ordinates concert dates with various community organizations, such as seniors centres. Members of the WCYMS can sign up for the shows they are interested in performing.
The WCYMS has performed at various locations throughout Greater Vancouver, including the Langley Senior Village.
The WCYMS has grown from 10 members in 2017, to approximately 80 performers today.
Liu is always looking for new musicians.
“We are constantly recruiting more people. Not only is this a good opportunity to spread music to other people, but it’s also a good opportunity for the kids in the organization to have performance opportunities. It aids their music learning when they are able to play for other people.”
Anyone who takes music lessons and wants to perform can join the WCYMS.
Each concert usually consists of 15 performers, who are allotted one or two pieces to play.
Liu started playing piano when she was eight years old. It took her only four years to finish the Royal Conservatory of Music’s highest level of exams.
“It became one of my favourite things ever. Even now, whenever I feel stressed or anxious I always turn to music and it helps me a lot. I like how you’re able to really express your emotions and connect to the audience through music. Music is a universal language so you can connect with so many people via performing and playing.”
Signing up for a performance is a good way to motive yourself to practise, according to Liu.
“Whenever there’s a performance coming up, people are generally more motivated to practise because there’s the pressure of bringing your music to others and you want to let others enjoy your music more. Playing on stage and practising at home are different because once you’re on stage, more people are listening so you’re more mindful of each note and how you play it.”
And for those who may suffer stage fright, Liu offers some advice.
“Treat this as a learning opportunity rather than something that’s really scary. Treat it as a chance to express your music and to learn. It’s OK if you make mistakes. Everyone has a first time and everyone makes mistakes once in a while. Just focus on your music instead of thinking how other people judge you.”
For more information or to join the WCYMS, Liu can be contacted through her website at https://wcymusicsociety.wixsite.com/website