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One of the youngest contestants stands tall for NYMC

Pianist Mike Wang, 14, from Paarl in the Western Cape competes for the first time in the National Youth Music Competition (NYMC). He is one of the two youngest contestants to fight with his piano playing in the epic four-day battle.

The other youngest participant, who is also from the Paarl, is percussionist Kyrah Adams

At age five, the upcoming star started with piano lessons when his mother suggested to him to take piano lessons. His first and current music teacher is former NYMC prize winner, Mario Nell who lectures music at the University of Stellenbosch.

The learner from Paarl Boys High is the only child. He is focusing solely on the piano, practising three hours per day. He says his music-loving parents support him in this. They get involved and give him their opinion of his piano playing exercises.

Polish musician Frédéric Chopin is his favourite composer. “All Chopin's works just sound so beautiful to me and it has a lot of varieties to choose from and it's a composer that is solely dedicated to piano," he enthuses.

Like fellow contestant, Gerhard Joubert, the rising piano star also like playing chess and doing mathematics. Mike also loves reading.

His motto in life is: “Hard work beats talent unless talent works hard.” Armoured with this adage, he entered the NYMC as he wants to perform to people all over the nation and meet other young musicians like me,” he smiles.

On completion of his matric, the young musicians aim to study music to become a professional pianist.