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Sole Porter musician pushes the envelope

Pianist Mikhaila Porter, 17, completes the trio of homeschoolers who contest the sought after 2021 National Youth Music Competition (NYMC) crown.

The rising star from Pinelands in Cape Town embarked on her musical path at age six. Even before she started formal training the middle childhood girl fiddled on the piano that was in their home.

Although neither of her parents is musicians, they both appreciate and enjoy listening to music. When they asked whether she would like to start with piano lessons, she "jumped at the chance".

Her first music teacher was Illana Garlick. She is currently tutored by Sue Paterson-Jones who is also coaching fellow contestant Vivianna Pearson.

Mikhaila is the sole musician in the Porter household. The upcoming pianist says she is fortunate. "I have parents who enjoy listening to me practising. They are very encouraging and supportive of my playing."

She doesn't confine herself to a set number of practising hours. The timing varies depending on the day. On average she practices around three hours per day.

"I don't have a favourite composer, I enjoy listening to and performing the works of many music writers. My favourite composers to perform to are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn.

"My favourite composers to listen to include Felix Mendelssohn and Dvorak," she brims.

Mikhaila plays the flute as a second instrument but the piano is by far her preferred instrument. Apart from playing music, she loves reading and running. After matric, she would love to study music at a tertiary institution to eventually pursue a career in teaching and performing.

With the life motto: "Try my best and work hard", she entered the NYMC to "push myself out of my comfort zone and improve my skills as a musician," she says.