Yong Kai Xiang
Baritone Saxophonist & Drum Major
Fuhua Secondary School Concert Band
I joined band when I was in secondary one. Back then, I had no idea what I would become in the future and did not know how to play any instruments. My journey in band gave me new friendships, wonderful experiences and new skills.
During my time as a secondary one student, I was new to the world of music and did not know much about band. After joining the band, I met friendly seniors and teachers who showed us what the band was like and I learned many things about music since then.
As I progressed in the band, I was able to catch up to my peers around me who had experiences playing the instruments. This motivated me to strive harder in band to become better in playing the saxophone.
I enjoyed playing in the band as I was able to forge new friendships with my other band mates. For example, we practiced different music pieces together and saw various personalities of our band friends. As it was exhilarating to tongue with the whole band when playing a fast piece, we would often burst out in laughter after playing the fast sections which drew us closer to each other.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, band practices were put on hold and the band was unable to practice together. It was challenging as not many of us were motivated to practice our own instruments at home and many became lazy due to Home Based Learning (HBL).
I only became excited when we were able to gather together as a section to practice under our music conductor to prepare for SYF 2021. When the band was able to gather in full, we practiced together but faced several problems in tempo transition and dynamics. We had to make many changes to our playing and learn to follow our conductor, Ms Samantha Chong.
Under the guidance of Ms Chong, we only managed to get our parts right after a long while. It was tough getting everyone to cooperate and play our notes accurately as some band mates have difficulties adjusting to the new arrangements.
As the day for SYF performance drew closer, we had more practices with tutors, receiving their feedback on how to improve, and also to discard our bad habits of not looking at the conductor when playing. The video recording that we made allowed us listen to how we sound, and we realised our mistakes which we were ignorant of. Ms Chong encouraged us and we focused on preparations for our choice piece towards SYF day.
On the day of performance, the whole band was nervous, and many of us were tense as it was their first time performing at the Singapore Conference Hall. I was not as nervous as I had experience playing there in the past during SYF 2019.
When we started playing, we could hear the differences in how we sound in the hall as compared to our school. Although we were nervous, we were able to calm ourselves and do our best on the stage. It was truly an enjoyable and unforgettable experience!
Now that the SYF is over and that I have stepped down from CCA, the thing that I will miss the most about band will be playing with the whole band. During our practices, I was able to experience many different emotions in our music, and enjoy listening to the other sections playing the melodious parts.
Overall, I believe that our band has done our best for SYF. Joining band is definitely not regret for me as I gained many things from it, such as friendships, experiences and music skills.