Leila Lok

2014 AMEF Student Recognition Award recipient

We follow up with Leila since winning the Music Performance Award in 2014, and she shares her own tips on how to present a successful application for the Student Recognition Awards (SRA).

Tell us something about yourself.

“I am 16 years old and in Grade 11 at Bishop Carroll High School. I started learning to play the piano when I was five years old. In addition to playing piano, I also sing, play violin, percussion, and table tennis. As well, I love rock climbing and skating.”

Why did you want to study music, and more specifically, the piano?

“I wanted to study music because I realized it was something I enjoyed and am very passionate about. My first exposure to a musical instrument was a hand-me-down toy piano from my cousins. I loved the sounds it produced and the piano fascinated me at this young age. Playing the piano makes me feel very relaxed, as if I am able to escape reality and I never think of practicing as a chore or task.”

What difficulties have you faced in the past when paying for your music education?

“I do a lot of activities relating to music, so there are many fees that my parents have to pay for, like the costs for trips to international competitions with the school band, summer music camp fees, registration fees for music competitions, piano lessons, theory lessons, and music scores.

“I want to become a well-rounded musician, so I also take private lessons for violin and voice too. Because I am committed in so many activities, it is difficult for my parents to pay for all of it.”

How did you learn about the AMEF SRAs and what interested you about them?

“I learned about the AMEF SRAs through my piano teacher, Peter Rudzik, and one of his students had previously won the award. What interested me about the AMEF SRAs was that the awards would allow me to have more piano lessons and I would also be able to buy more music scores since they are quite expensive.”

As a recipient of the 2014 AMEF SRA in the category of Music Performance, what did you gain from receiving this award?

“The award gave me a lot of encouragement and motivation to continue to strive for excellence in music. I am also very proud to put this award onto my resume in addition to building my self-esteem as I continue to pursue music.”

Has the AMEF SRA impacted your life in a unique way?

“The first time I applied for the award I didn’t make it into the top five, but that didn’t make me give up. In fact, I tried again the next year and made it into the finals. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to win anything because I had some tough competitors who have won numerous awards in festivals. However, from my experience, I learned not to let these thoughts of others’ success discourage me from trying.

“I feel that this experience winning the AMEF SRAs has renewed an even stronger desire on my part to persevere in fulfilling my dreams.”

What do you do think the AMEF SRAs can do for other aspiring young, Alberta music students?

“I think the AMEF SRAs can give a lot of motivation and encouragement to other aspiring young, Alberta music students to succeed in music. Based on my own experiences, I would say that future competitors should keep persevering no matter what the outcome.”

What successful tips do you have for other music students who are applying for the AMEF SRAs?

“Some tips for music students who are applying for the AMEF SRAs is to pick a video that you enjoy and feel very confident about and you should be very honest and passionate about what you write in the application.

“Even if you don’t win any award, just know that you are still proud of what you did and can always apply for the award again next year. In other words, apply with the mind-set of not just wanting to win, but really enjoying the experience. Don’t think of it as a stressful task, believe in yourself, and know that it’s worth it!”

And finally, where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

“I see myself becoming a concert pianist who travels the world in sharing my music in ten years. Even though I know that it’s going to be a very difficult journey, I will continue to strive for my long-term goal.”

Leila Lok
Leila Lok
photo: Pryma Photographers

Check out her 2014 video application