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Wednesday 18 October 2017

11-year-old University School student masters piano

Ka Hei Pun is a prefect at The University School. Photo by Elizabeth Bissessar

Ka Hei Pun excels at anything he sets his mind to and proves practice does indeed make perfect.

This well-spoken 11-year-old is a musician, artist, poet and is also bilingual. He’s also good at maths, spelling, swims and plays chess. Some may say he is a prodigy.

Born to parents who migrated from Hong Kong, Ka Hei is an outstanding pianist.

“I started playing music at the age of five. My favourite song to play on the piano is Gaiamente - a Grade Five piano song composed by R M Glier,” says Ka Hei who lives with his parents in St Augustine. He has attained grade five piano level (merit) with grade four music theory (distinction). He has also been among 11 finalists in the piano solo competition at the 2016 Music Festival where he placed fourth.

Asked what music means to him, Ka Hei said, “Music is fun and I play it to relax after a hard day at school.”

The standard five student attends The University School where his favourite subjects are art, music and creative writing. Principal Odessa Vincent-Brown taught Ka Hei to play the recorder and the school enthusiastically supported him in the 2016 Music Festival. His piano teacher Lenor Syder and music teacher Demika Lawrence both saw the potential Ka Hei had in music and gave him the extra push to pursue his passion.

Ka Hei can play the piano, recorder and steelpan, of the three his favourite is the piano. He also finds time to compose songs and write poems.

Ka Hei Pun at home practising on his piano. Photo courtesy Man Yin Rebecca Yiu-Pun

But Ka Hei’s accomplishments also includes winning two gold medals with certificates of excellence for his painting in the Visual Arts category of the 2015 NGC SanFest competition. He also came second in a character design category of the Loro el Parrandero Art Competition in 2015. Ka Hei was also one of the ten short-listed writers in Trini Kids Can Write – Short Story Writing Contest 2016.

He has taken part in spelling bee contests and is one of the 50 finalists of the 2017 Mental Math Marathon, where he placed 25th.

How does he manage these activities with school work?

“I do my homework for an hour, if it is not a lot and I spend the rest of time practising on the piano. I may not practice when I have after school activities like swimming, chess and scrabble to do, but I always get my homework done.”

Ka Hei is also a school prefect. “It is fun having a lower class to look after.”

His hobbies include drawing, singing and swimming.

As he begins preparation for the 2018 Secondary Entrance Assessment exam, Ka Hei wants to attend Hillview College.

Being the only child, his parents always inspire him to do what he loves.

“My parents, they always encourage me,” said Ka Hei with a smile.

His father Kit Fai Pun, a professor at UWI moved to Trinidad in 2001. In 2005 his mother Man Yin Rebecca Yiu-Pun migrated to Trinidad and in 2006, Ka Hei was born. His parents taught him to speak Cantonese and some Mandarin. While at school he is learning to speak Spanish.

During the July-August vacation his family always journey to Hong Kong where Ka Hei gets to meet his extended family.

His goals are to achieve grade eight in piano and become an architect or interior designer.

His advice to any child who has a passion for music is, “Just relax, it’s not that hard. You just have to learn the notes, practice and you can play awesome. It just takes some time.”


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