Lauren Kim: A Musical Virtuoso
While many high school students dabble in some form of music, it is rare to come across astoundingly raw talent and scholarship in such young musicians; but those are the exact words that embody Lauren Kim, Adv. 905. For over ten years, Kim has grown to love playing the piano and music in general, sharing that it is her “superpower.” Years of hard work and hours practicing were well-worth it, Kim said, “as I got older and started experiencing the effects of music as well as the valuable friendships I could make through performing with others, I started to love it [music] and now think of it as an integral part of who I am.”
Most Northsiders probably know of Kim’s nationally broadcasted performance on NPR’s “From the Top,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to young musicians. With thousands of viewers and listeners, Kim was not one to shy away; she admitted to the HoofBeat that she actually loved the spotlight and “how it reflected off of the black and white keys glistening in front of [her].” Kim’s solo piano teacher advised her and her duo partner Colin Song to audition for “From the Top.” As she was auditioning and applying, the leadership team of the radio station encouraged her to send in another application for the Jack Kent Cooke Award, an award given to twenty exceptional musicians ages 8-18.
Kim hesitantly began the application, saying, “[I was] doubtful that I would receive the generous scholarship.” However, the Northside junior was ecstatic to hear that she was one of twenty selected across the nation and that she would finally be able to buy the piano of her dreams with the $10,000 she received through the award.
Kim is also involved with the Music Institute of Chicago, or MIC for short, as a piano merit scholar. She spoke fondly of the school, likening it to a “second home” where she has spent “fourteen years walking through its creaky doors, asking for the keys to a practice room, making passionate friends, and attending lessons.”
Having developed such a strong and close attachment to music, Kim said “I know for sure that I will keep the hobby close by my side for my entire life.” While she currently participates in many competitions, she looks forward to entering “the realm of performing and practicing purely for fun.” Her passion and love for various types of music is clearly seen in the breadth of instruments she has experience with: the piano, violin, ukulele, guitar, viola, and cello.
Kim urges other aspiring musicians to “stray away from thinking about music as an obligation.” She emphasizes the importance of having fun and enjoying music. Personally, she likes to think of a story or scene to portray to the audience because it “calms nerves and makes performing seem more like a friendly conversation.” Through pursuing classical music and sharing her love for it with the world, Kim hopes to “uncloud the everyday stigma surrounding it.” Taking on a voice of passion and empathy, she expressed the importance of urging children to explore classical genres and erasing the negative ideas associated with it. Even after achieving such prestigious awards and opportunities, Kim is humble and remains true to her fundamental love for music.