Reading Program Completer finds Connection to Music Through Kumon
Sophia, 14-years-old, Math Level L & Reading Program Completer
“So much of what we do is ephemeral and quickly forgotten, even by ourselves, so it’s gratifying to have something you have done linger in people’s memories.” -John Williams, Film Score Composer
With John Williams’ thematic cue of the “Imperial March,” Star Wars fans knew that their beloved villain Darth Vader was entering the scene. Or James Horner’s memorable score to Titanic with the sound of bellowing French Horns to enhance the dramatic scenes of the film. Can you imagine watching a movie without a score?
The film score evokes an audience’s emotion, enhances dramatic scenes, and provides thematic cues for particular characters. Film scores are dynamic, and the best composers truly capture and convey what the film director is trying to express.
14-year-old musical prodigy Sophia has a gift of composition and a finely trained ear to follow in the footsteps of some of the most legendary composers of her time. Composing music, no matter the genre, requires a level of logic and focus that Sophia has learned at a very young age. She’s currently studying under composer Edward Top for composition lessons at the prestigious Vancouver Academy of Music.
With ten written compositions under her belt, it’s no surprise that Sophia’s six-instrument composition was performed by a professional ensemble. She was also the winner of the best Bach interpretation back-to-back years at the Coquitlam District Music Festival in 2017 and 2018.
Sophia contributes much of her early success in composing to her Kumon journey.
“Kumon has helped me with composing music,” said Sophia. “Kumon has taught me that by setting small goals in composition every day, I will eventually achieve my main goal of composing orchestral pieces. Kumon has also sharpened my sense of reasoning and logic.”
For Sophia, she’s always found a deep connection between Kumon and the world of music.
“I feel that in a way, music and Kumon are related to each other. The overall structure and rhythm in a piece is like the Kumon Math Program,” said Sophia. “The emotional and expressive parts in a piece are like the reading excerpts in the Kumon Reading Program. Music and math happen to be two things that are understood by all people without any language barriers, just like Kumon.”
When Sophia is not composing her next piece for a string quartet, she is perfecting her skills on the piano. With a disciplined three-hour daily practice routine, she completed all levels of the Royal Conservatory of Music in piano. Sophia also enjoys getting lost in a great book and traveling the world in-between her homeschool program at Hume Park Homelearners.
What do you enjoy most about Kumon?
In Kumon, I enjoy being able to learn at my own pace and independently.
How has Kumon helped you academically?
The Kumon Reading Program has helped me increase my reading speed and strengthen my vocabulary. The Kumon Math Program has helped me to quickly and effectively complete my schoolwork as well as help my classmates with their work.
If you could sum up your Kumon experience in one word, what would it be?
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
I am always inspired by the film director greats such as Robert Zemeckis and George Lucas because they are passionate about what they are doing and are dedicated to their work whole-heartedly.
What’s your favorite book and why?
My favorite book is The Giver by Lois Lowry. I first discovered the book from the Kumon Recommended Reading List, and it became my favorite because the moral of the story is that everyone is unique and different. It’s good to have the freedom to be yourself.
How did you feel when you found out you were selected to attend the 2019 Kumon Student Conference?
I was excited and grateful, and also very surprised. Attending the 2019 Kumon Student Conference is such a wonderful event that only 56 Kumon Students have the opportunity to take part in.
What was your experience like at the 2019 Kumon Student Conference, and what was your favorite part?
At the Student Conference, I was reminded of Trenton Lee Stewart’s, The Mysterious Benedict Society where the protagonists are exceptionally clever children who solve problems around the world. I felt as if I entered the book at the Student Conference. I really enjoyed the autonomous car debate and having the opportunity to be with other Kumon Students like myself.
What advice would you give to kids just starting Kumon?
Ideally, you want to do Kumon around the same time, at the same place, every day. The key is to be consistent in doing so, and eventually Kumon will become a regular part of your daily routine.