His guitar playing is so beautiful it's hard to image he's been playing for only four years. Born in South Korea on September 2, 1996, Sungha Jung says that his dream is to become a professional acoustic finger-style guitarist. Sungha grew up watching his dad play and knew that he wanted to also play the guitar. Finally, in early 2006 he picked up a guitar and started learning. His dad helped him a few times, but Sungha's father was a company employee not a musician like his son aspired to become. Guitar for Dad was just a hobby. To learn more, Sungha turned to watching video clips.
In 2007 he was given the opportunity to take about 50 hours of classical guitar lessons. After that he picked up some drum and jazz piano experience as well. Many people think that Sungha practices for hours on end, day in and day out. That's not the case. For Sungha, school is more important than his guitar skills. During the school season his practice time is about two hours a day, and during breaks from school he'll up that to three hours.
Sungha Playing "I'm Yours" at Age 14
Sungha's Favorite Composition Played at Age 12
Sungha Play 9 Months After Beginning to Learn the Guitar at Age 10
Guitar playing for Sungha has always been a personal thing. It's his personal passion and joy which his parents support by recording his playing. A shy boy by nature, Sungha enjoys playing for people but would rather not be asked to speak to a crowd. Maybe that's why, so far, he's chosen not to be part of any record labels or music companies.
It takes Sungha about one hour to figure out the chords and notes to a piece after watching someone play it on a video. He'll then practice for five or so hours before recording the piece on video. Sometimes, for harder pieces or a more professional presentation of a piece, he'll take a week to a month of consistent practice to get it down perfect. Sungha also enjoys writing his own music.
Playing games like other boys his age is something he does here and there, but he finds that his school studies, English studies, and guitar practice don't give him much time to play.
Sungha's fame has grown to where his YouTube channel featuring his guitar playing has had well over 8.5 million views. He was featured on the Star King show where he became even more popular.
Something that Sungha had happen on his YouTube channel was fun for him. Mrs. Yoko Ono, widow of the late John Lennon of the Beatles, left a comment for him on one of his songs. Her comment caused quite a stir. Sungha didn't initially know who she was, but when he learned her identity, that she was 75 years old and was doing the internet, he was impressed and very pleased.
People have started calling him a “guitar prodigy.” When asked about being called that he responded that it was nice to hear in some ways, but he really wanted to win recognition as a guitarist rather than a prodigy. Being a prodigy brings it's own burdens to him since it makes him feel that people expect something special of him. More than being a prodigy, Sungha says he wants to become a guitarist that brings joy, happiness, and comfort to people. Those qualities are more important to him than any other label.
Image Credit(s): Youtube