Ri Ye Un from Sopho Kindergarten in Hyongjesan District, Pyongyang, took the first place in the 13th national contest of kindergarteners with amazing talents held in June last year.
The jury members unanimously commented that she was delicate in playing the kayagum, a national musical instrument, the tune was correct and all the elements of playing, including tremolo and thrumming, were wonderful, and that it was rare for children to skilfully play the folk song Ongheya which can be called the ensemble of kayagum playing.
The girl began to learn playing the kayagum not long ago.
Two years ago, Jong Hyang Sim, a teacher at the kindergarten who was guiding children in their sound detection and sight reading, happened to notice that the girl answered faster and more accurately than others. As she had heard that Ye Un learned how to play the electronic organ for a short period, she made her sit at the organ. The child played the organ in a comparatively skillful way, to the admiration of the teacher.
In view of her physical preparedness and sensitivity to music, the teacher thought that it would be reasonable for her to teach the child how to play the kayagum, a stringed instrument of the Korean nation.
It is easier said than done for one to possess a smooth kayagum playing technique in one’s kindergarten days. Only the one with a strong attachment to and passion for the traditional instrument can achieve a good result in playing it.
While helping the girl deeply acquire the time-honored history of the kayagum and its superiority as a traditional stringed instrument of the Korean nation, Hyang Sim focused on making her practise several execution methods like tremolo to preserve the quality of clear and lovely sound.
Ye Un immersed herself in playing the kayagum while burning the midnight oil, enduring the pain of her cracking fingers.
In the course of this, she acquired various playing methods and began to distinguish herself as a little prodigy who was able to express her sentiments vividly according to the moods of the music works. In this way, she made her debut in the national contest of kindergarteners with amazing talents.
In April this year she entered primary school.
On her first day at the school, many people blessed the rosy future of Ye Un who is bringing her talent into full bloom thanks to the benefits of the socialist free compulsory education system.