I hope to run a few profiles of the 2010 Davidson Fellows over the next few weeks. These young people have won $10,000 - $50,000 scholarships for prodigious works, and are quite an inspiring crew.
We're starting today with Kevin Hu, 16, of Naperville, IL. Hu won his fellowship for a violin portfolio called "Sociomusicology: Exploring and Sharing the Worlds of Music," which presents music from around the world. He has also done extensive volunteer work sharing his musical talents with different audiences. You can read more about him here.
Gifted Exchange: How did you come up with your project?
Hu: In a way, my relationship with music therapy at Edward Hospital has been strangely similar to an intimate relationship with a person. It started out as no big deal. I noticed it, and decided to get to know music therapy better. Well, I started spending more and more time with it, and before I knew it, I had fallen in love.
Metaphor aside, I did not truly “come up” with my project idea. I was given the opportunity to serve my community, and I accepted the challenge. My motivation to develop the music therapy program at the hospital came from inspiration. Music inspires me, and it inspires others, so why not spread the music, and spread the inspiration?
GE: As you were doing your project, were there skills or things you learned earlier that turned out to be important?
Hu: While working with acoustics, the high school music therapy volunteer project that I founded and currently lead, I learned that it is absolutely vital to be able to communicate well. It’s not enough to have great ideas – you have to sell them as well. Even if there is no associated risk or cost, as in the case of a volunteer program, people are often hesitant to accept new ways of thinking.
GE: What was the most fun part of your project?
Hu: The most fun part of my project has been playing for little kids. They often walk by a parent’s side until they realize, “Whoa, there’s a real person playing a real musical instrument!” Almost always, they stop in their tracks and watch intently. Sometimes the parents will walk quite a distance before realizing their kids have stopped following. What’s most powerful to me is that these kids do not show any sign of distress when their parents accidentally leave them behind. Even for children who can’t speak or understand a spoken language, music is able to create another world to live in and to revel in.
GE: Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Hu: I have no clue where I will be in twenty years. A few years ago, I wanted to be a doctor. Five years ago, I wanted to be a violinist. Ten years ago, I wanted to be a teacher. Twelve years ago, I wanted to be a farmer. Fifteen years ago, I wanted to be a fire truck. I’ll see where the next few years take me.