By Kylie Stamper
Staff reporter

Deborah Martin, music sophomore, won a bronze medal in a collegiate level piano competition Nov. 10. It was her first American competition. The Honors Audition is offered through the Kansas Music Teachers Association and took place at the University of Kansas.

Dedication, support, and countless hours of practice contributed to the bronze medal. Martin said, “I started preparing for this competition in the summer. My practice sessions over the summer were more relaxed and chilled sessions since I spent summer back home in Malaysia. I did more of catching up with family and friends than I did practice, but when the fall semester started, I practiced around four to six hours a day.”

Timothy Shook, professor of music, said, “Deborah has always been motivated and dedicated to whatever she sets her mind to. When I talked to her about doing it, she was excited and intrigued, and so we set some goals with pieces. She was always willing to listen to what I would have to say and she would go into the practice room and work it out.”

Martin won the bronze medal at this competition with pieces by Brahms and Debussy. It was a 12-minute performance. Shook said, “She was competing against students from all of the colleges and universities: KU, K-State, Baker, Fort Hays. For her to win the bronze medal, essentially third place, is quite astounding.”

Luke Nicolay, music sophomore, Dylan Moore, music education and vocal performance senior,   Kaitlyn Holler, music education sophomore, and Dr. Shook were also at the competition as her own support group. Nicolay said, “She had a lot of fun. She was really confident. She did a wonderful job. I personally thought it was one the best times that she has played on one of her pieces and I was really proud of her.”

Since this was her first American competition, Martin had a lot to learn and experience. But she never lost her motivation. She always had at least one reason to keep working towards the goal.

Martin said, “One thing I’ve learned from this experience, and this is applicable to everyone not only musicians, is that you dream and wonder about what you want to achieve, you think about it then you do it, you work hard to achieve it. Then, when you’ve put in all that hard work in your practices, you just go out there and enjoy yourself, whatever the outcome may be. It is also important to acknowledge who you’re doing it for, as to not become prideful. I have to constantly remind myself that I’m doing it for God, not myself or anyone else, and I want to give Him my best.”

Kylie Stamper is a freshman majoring in communication. You may email her at