She might be only 13 years old, but don’t be fool by her age. Coco Ma has already passed the Royal Conservatory’s second highest test for the piano, known as the ARCT. The young piano prodigy hails from Leaside in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She claims to be like any other teenage girl with interests such as reading, swimming and breathlessly watching Johnny Depp films. She also enjoys spending time with her parents.
Although, there is not much mention, this St. Andrew’s Junior High School student is also one of only twelve children in the world to be chosen to take part in the first-ever junior band camp through the Lang Lang International Foundation. “Like a normal kid, I was on Facebook and I was on Lang Lang’s page, and I saw this one post that he did for his first junior music camp for the Lang Lang Foundation. I was like, ‘This is cool’, so I clicked on the link and it took me to an application,” she recounted.
Lang Lang is actually a renowned Chinese pianist, and one of Coco’s sources of inspiration too. There were more than 350 young pianists trying to earn a spot at his inaugural camp. It turned out that Coco was the only Canadian who made it, earning her a trip to Munich, Germany for a week. “It was one of the best weeks of my life, honestly, because I met a lot of kids around my age, from 9 to 14. They all had similar experiences to me but they also had very unique things. We have these really strong bonds even though we met for less than a week,” she explained.
Coco got her first keyboard when she was just one year old. Her parents were the ones who purchased it for her and she took to it immediately. “They took a video of me playing. It’s really fun for me to watch because it’s just me playing with this plastic keyboard. Basically what happened, because I liked playing, for Christmas I asked for a piano and they bought me one, and I’ve been playing ever since,” she stated.
When she was just 5 years of age, Coco enrolled at the Conservatory. Since then, she has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and won the Canadian Music Competition twice, in 2009 and 2011. “We just wanted her to play some music for us, one day — we’d be happy with that. But she progressed really fast, and after six months (of classes) she had already done her Grade 3 exam,” said Jenny, her proud mother. For more of the story, you can read it here.