17 June 2022
In December last year, Augustine Leung (11 Jenkin) achieved a Piano Licentiate Performance Diploma (LMusA). This is one of the very highest musical achievements that a pianist can attain. Now, just six months later, Augustine has achieved an Associate of Music (AMusA) for violin.
With two musical acronyms after his name, Augustine is one of the most accomplished musicians ever to attend Girton and certainly one of the finest in Victoria for his age. When it comes to music, Augustine is obliging, reliable and generously shares his talents at Girton and beyond.
Below, Augustine talks about his rigorous practice schedule, what he loves about music and how studying music and playing an instrument can shape a life.
How long have you been playing the violin?
I have played the violin for about 12 years, starting when I was 5. My then-piano teacher suggested to my parents to start me on a second instrument, as the progress of my piano learning was steady.
As a matter of fact, my dad also learnt violin with me for the first two years. I was using a 1/16 size violin whilst dad used a full size. We practised and performed together as beginners, and I’m so grateful we had those fun experiences.
What level of dedication is required to achieve an AMusA in Violin?
In general, I spend around 5-6 hours weekly practicing my repertoire to achieve my weekly goals.
AmusA also requires candidates to have a vast knowledge of not just the instrument but also of music history, so I also read about music regularly.
How do you find the time to practise, especially seeing you are also so dedicated to piano, having recently achieved LMusA Piano?
I use a goal-oriented approach when it comes to practising instruments. I break bigger goals into smaller tasks and then tackle them accordingly. I slot a couple of them into the practice time (usually 30-45 min) into my daily study schedule.
I really enjoy playing music, so I find practice time quite relaxing and it’s a good getaway from homework and studies.
What do you love about playing the violin?
The violin is a very versatile instrument, and it can cover a wide spectrum of different musical styles. I enjoy playing it solo, and with a group of other musicians, fast and slow, emotional or relaxed. I love the fact that I’m able to express myself with my violin.
Which Girton ensembles are you in?
For violin, I’m currently in String Orchestra and a VCE string quartet. I also partake in a few guitar ensembles- Bream Guitar Quintet and Segovia Guitar Ensemble. I also have the opportunity to accompany choirs with both piano and violin. My current project is playing the keyboard in the Strictly Ballroom school production which is coming together amazingly.
I’m very fortunate to be at Girton, which has a very big emphasis on music and performing arts, it allows students to extend their interests into great performing opportunities.
What are the benefits, beyond pure enjoyment, of playing the violin?
I have made some wonderful friends in the Melbourne Youth Orchestra. In our yearly summer school, we played lots of music but we also played” I spy” with our ear to find notes in symphonies and concertos. We discussed incorporating the ukulele and kazoos into our gigs.
During the recent conferring ceremony, the vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne, a microbiologist, told us about his experience of his grade 8 clarinet exam when he was 15.
The reason I’m sharing these experiences is to show that learning music is like learning a new language. It’s not just about learning how to speak or write; it opens up so many opportunities for us to explore – it shines a different light on people we’ve met on the path of life.
Piano or Violin? Do you have a favourite? Can you split them?
I honestly don’t have a favourite. I love both of them, and I’m happy to play along with whatever position music takes me.