Myungyi Son is the Palmetto High Silver Knight nominee for Music. Son plays piano and flute, and has been a member of the marching band, the symphonic band, the pit orchestra and the full orchestra. She also is an accomplished pianist.
“I received superior evaluations in the Musically Advanced Division at the Federation Music Festival,” she says.
Son also received superiors for Solos and Ensemble for Level Seven, the highest level, from the Florida Bandmasters Association competitions in piano. She was given superior ratings at state for Level Six in both piano and flute.
Son began playing piano when she was five years old and started with the flute when she was eight. She stopped playing both instruments for a couple of years when she moved to Miami from South Korea. She was 10 years old and in the fourth grade. She resumed her playing when she entered middle school.
Son says her parents moved to the United States to provide better opportunities for their children. There were few Asians attending the school and she says the other kids would stare at her and at her brother.
“I was afraid that kids would laugh at my accent,” she says. “In fifth grade, I tried really hard to learn English, and I did.”
Today, Son has a very slight accent, but her worry about speaking English properly led to her Silver Knight project.
“I made audio books for underprivileged children in Thailand, Indonesia and China,” she says, adding that the children are abused, homeless kids, and some are blind. “They are learning English. English education is important in any Asian country. These children have limited resources, so I made an audio book and sent copies to them.”
For the project, she read two books, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm. It took her four months to record the books.
“If you mess up, you have to start all over again,” she says. “Each paragraph takes about 70 tries. Everything had to be perfect.”
Even though it was arduous work, Son says she enjoyed it.
“I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t,” she says. “Because of my past efforts to learn English, I wanted to help other learn the language. I emailed several organizations in those countries and they gave me positive responses; they gave me addresses and I shipped two CDs to each place.”
It’s fitting that she would read books for her project since she is the president of the English Honor Society. She is also the secretary for the Tri-M Honor Society and a past vice president of the Social Science Honor Society. This year she is on the club’s executive board.
One reason that Son has been able to learn to speak English with just the slightest of accents is because she has perfect pitch, which allows her to detect notes. Her perfect pitch also helps her to master musical instruments and play them well. She hopes to learn how to play even more instruments when she goes to college. However, she does not intend to major in music. She says she is planning to major in international relations and minor in philosophy. Music, she says, is just a hobby.
Son’s academics are equal to her musical ability. She is a National AP Scholar, which means that she has scored fours or fives on eight or more Advanced Placement tests.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld
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