On the afternoon of May 18, 1998, many young South Korean girls had what is known as an ignition moment when a twenty-year-old woman named Se Ri Pak won the McDonald’s LPGA Championship and became a national icon.
Before her, no South Korean had ever succeeded in golf. Fast-forward to ten years later, and Pak’s countrywomen had essentially colonized the LPGA Tour, with forty-five South Korean female golfers collectively winning about one-third of the events.
An ignition moment is a potent experience when a young person falls in love with their future passion.
For Albert Einstein, it was when his father bought him a compass.
As Walter Isaacson wrote in Einstein: His Life and Universe
Einstein later recalled being so excited as he examined its mysterious powers that he trembled and grew cold…. [Einstein wrote] “I can still remember – or at least I believe I can remember—that this experience made a deep and lasting impression on me. Something deeply hidden had to be behind things.”
On this subject, I spent a really enjoyable hour in Sooey National School last week.
I had been invited to come in and talk to the students about my work in music for an hour or so and was happily surprised on arrival when the teachers told me that the school band would firstly like me to listen to them play a few songs.
We proceeded to have a lively Q&A session about various aspects of piano playing and different work I had done over the years, but the children really came alive in the last ten minutes when they started asking me to play snippets of songs they knew.
Old Town Road, the Game of Thrones theme, Lisdoonvarna – I was put through my paces and was happy that I knew most of the songs at least.
I got some wonderful feedback from students, parents and teachers, and it made me think of these ignition moments I read about years ago.
So in the spirit of igniting the passion of some more children, and before the current school year ends, if anyone working in any local primary school out there would like me to come and do something similar to what I did in Sooey with their students, I will visit the first 5 schools who get in touch – free of charge – when school resumes next September.
Please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org – commenting on this post will not be sufficient.