Richmond resident Linda Niamath was named an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) on Nov. 3, in recognition of her forty-year dedication to music education and children’s music composition.
She was one of the two musicians named this year at the UBC Chan Centre.
“I was in total shock for days, really,” said Niamath to Richmond News.
“It is the most prestigious award they give at the Royal Conservatory. There are so many extraordinary famous people who were given the award like Lang Lang.”
Niamath started composing music since age five and is most known for her 11 albums of piano music for young pianists, which are sold worldwide.
“Frankly, I think there were some non-inspiring pieces at this (beginners) level,” said Niamath.
“When I was teaching here in my piano studio in 1970s, I wanted to create some music for the students that really has some sparkles to it, or fun, so they want to keep practicing. Motivation is very important.
“And the pieces would also teach them technical and interpretive skills.”
For example, one of the pieces she wrote is called skating, teaching students to “skate up and down the keyboard,” said Niamath.
“At the same time, it was teaching them how to relax their arms and to bring a story to life – somebody is actually skating, you want to paint a picture in their mind.”
Niamath said her students and two daughters were where she got her inspiration from — she had a student who liked to play hide and seek, so Niamath wrote a piece for her.
March of the Terrible Trolls is one of Niamath’s most famous pieces, which became an examination piece for students across North America to play in their Grade 1 exam.
For Niamath, music is joy and happiness and “it’s wonderful to introduce little children to the beauty of it as soon as possible.
“I think it’s a very important part of life, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have spent my life doing this,” laughed Niamath.
“(But) I don’t believe in force; I believe in encouragement. It’s shame if children just end up hating music because they are forced. Parents, be patient, let your child develop gradually, and enjoy music with them.”