TWENTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD Andrea Sim is an accomplished violinist who has performed both in Malaysia and abroad in countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam.
She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Music, and was a member of the prestigious Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO) from 2014 to 2019.
She has also performed in classical concerts, as well as commercial events such as the recent Anugerah Juara Lagu. She even teaches music to youngsters, as she loves moulding young minds.
When did your passion for the violin begin?
“When I was two years old, I expressed a keen interest to learn the violin. We were staying in Ipoh at that time. But my parents could not find a good violin teacher, so I did not get the chance to learn to play then.
“In fact, the violin was not the first music instrument I learnt to play. I learned to play the piano first, at the age of five. I only learned to play the violin at age 11. I became serious about learning the violin at 15.”
Did you love the violin more than the piano?
“I love both. In fact I must say my piano level was higher than my violin level. But my music teacher told me that if I want to be good, I have to choose between them. It is difficult to be good in both musical instruments. I need to give total dedication to one instrument.
“I feel more natural with the violin. With the violin, I can be more of myself. But I still play the piano even now, whenever I am free. Playing the piano relaxes me. I get frustrated that I cannot play the piano as [the same time] as the violin.”
If you were not a violinist, what career would you have chosen?
“I love music. I would have done something to do with music. I love writing. I would have probably become a music reviewer.”
Tell us more about yourself.
“My father runs an Airbnb business while my mother teaches English. I have one younger brother. He learned the cello. We have performed together in a concert before. I enjoy performing with my brother. Our parents have been very supportive of our music career choices.”
What advice can you give youngsters who plan to be professional violinists?
“You must be totally passionate about learning the violin. If you are not passionate about it, you can lose interest quickly. You need to put many hours of practice into your musical instrument. I spend at least three hours practising my violin every day. Only through practice, can you grow as a musician.”
What are some of the interesting experiences in your journey of learning the violin?
“When I was 16, I stayed in Vienna for three years to learn the violin with two renowned violin players, Barbara Gorzynska and Anna Kandinskaya, at the Prayner Konservatorium. I really cherish the experience I got from there.”
What are your strengths and your weaknesses?
“I am a perfectionist, and detail-oriented. That can be good or bad. In the past whenever I heard bad reviews about the way I played my violin, I got depressed. These days I no longer allow these comments to make me feel that way.”
Why do you like music so much?
“I believe music helps audiences to heal and to celebrate. For me, music helps me cope with the stress and the difficulties of life. Music helps to relax me. Music helps me to express myself. I also learned that music is a universal language. Music has no borders. When I travel overseas to perform, I do not have to speak their language. I just have to pick up my violin and play and they will understand me.”