Through the many talents that lie beneath Bernice MacNaughton High school, Ye-eun Lee’s stand out significantly. From the age of 6, Ye-eun had been playing the piano, which was considered normal in Korea. This quickly turned from normal to exceptional when Ye-eun realized piano was more than a hobby, but a passion.
The biggest influence she had in her piano career started out with her aunt/piano teacher, who she looked up to immensely. “She was really good, and majored in piano, so I thought she was amazing and set out to be just like her,” says Ye-eun.
When she moved to Canada she had just the luck of finding another inspirational music teacher that still teachers her to this day. “My current teacher, who is a professor at U de M, travels and performs all around the world, which I find so inspirational and motivating, and helps push me to the best of my abilities.” Through his guidance Ye-eun is hopeful to someday be like him and perform, travelling the world.
Ye-eun’s piano career really took off when she participated in a music festival, which she now attends every year. This music festival was a big deal, as the festival sent off its top performer to provincials and then to represent the whole city. Three years ago Ye-eun Lee was recommended to represent Moncton, which she described as “nerve racking because it was [her] first time competing in a senior level, which is university aged, when [she] was only 14.” Being her first time, Ye-eun placed 3rd, still considering it an honorable and significant moment in her career.
With this close win, Ye-eun found herself more than ever motivated to get better and work harder; using the feeling of almost winning as a motivation to strive higher. She claims “it makes all the hard times and long hours of practicing worth it, the winning feeling makes it all worth it. This is why I accept my crazy practice hours because the outcome is amazing, honestly.”
Along with the endless practice hours, pressure is an inevitable aspect that comes as well. “Every performance is pressuring! There has not been one performance where it has been nerve free and I was super comfortable”; however, Ye-eun deals with the pressure by practicing lots and trying not to think about it while performing. She says that not thinking about the music and just breathing and thinking of other things actually helps her, as she trusts herself with the quantity of practice that her fingers will just go where they need to be so she does not have to think about it herself. Although pressure can break some, Ye-eun uses it as a motivational aspect as she believes “the pressure is what gets me motivated and makes me want to practice more and get better for the next time.”
Ye-eun is known for her hard work and motivation, as her friend and fellow pianist, Jasmine Yu says “Every time she plays at a recital and I’m there, I can see the hard work she dedicates into her piece, it truly impresses me every time!”
Ye-eun’s mom also a proud supporter of Ye-eun. “I’m always proud of my daughter, no matter what the outcome is, because I know she puts all the effort she can, and even though the end result might not be what she hopes, it never stops her from pushing herself further for the next time.”
With all the dedication Ye-eun has put into her piano career, she hopes to take it further after high school. “I’m not sure specifically what I want to do but majoring in music in university is in my plans!”
Music in general is an aspect that touches the lives of many; however, for musician Ye-eun Lee, it is much more than that. “Music is a huge part of my life. As much as I want to give it up sometimes, I know I will never be able to, just because I love it too much. I honestly cannot wait until I am able to expand my musical knowledge and meet other people who are interested in what I do as much as I am! I am very hopeful that my future will include music, but even if it does not, I will still be playing piano as it is an important part of my life that I never want to get rid of.”