While Ricko Kwok Chi-kwan might not remember with full clarity when her musical talents first emerged, her mother certainly does. “She tells me when I was two years old, I used to love to dance and to sing,” explains Kwok, now 18 years old. “So I guess I have always loved music – and now I love the violin.”
Currently a Year One student at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, Kwok says she hopes the hours of practice and the dedication to her instrument are leading her in the one, straight direction. “One day I want to become a music teacher in a primary school. I am the first person in my family to look for a career in music,” says Kwok. “They support me, and they know this is my dream. I love the sound of the violin and I can control the sound it makes with my body. Actually, everyone who plays the violin can make different sounds and I find that interesting.”
While the violin has been the primary focus of Kwok’s musical interests for as long as she can remember, practical classes leading her to an exploration of the history of the instrument and the people who have turned their talents to it over the centuries, joining Musicus Inspires!’s Behind the Scenes program in 2013 opened her eyes to other possibilities when it comes to looking for a career in music.
“It was a wonderful experience,” she says. “I was able to work preparing for the concert, managing the musicians’ time and fixing any problems they might have. For me, this showed a different side to music and was a very good experience for a secondary school student. I learned how to stage a concert and everything that goes on. For secondary school students, this is a great opportunity.”
Kwok says the experience increased her desire to find a career for herself in the Hong Kong music scene and reflects again on the faith her mother – and her whole family – have placed in her.
“My family have always encouraged me when it comes to music, both with money and coming to watch me,” says Kwok. “My mother loves Chinese Opera and always sings the songs and hums along. I think this must have inspired me too. My mother looks after our home and my elder brother supports our family so I am lucky to have this support. He works on the cable car at Ngong Ping and he does that for us. Looking forward I will always try my hardest when I play to make them proud.”