Give a little description of your background (where did you grow up, etc.).
Hi, my name is Aimee Dockum and I’m a music performance major at Fresno State. I’ve been playing the cello for over 11 years, and it’s because of my cello professor that I am who I am today. I met him when he first joined the institution–Dr. Thomas Loewenheim–he took me under his wing and I grew exponentially as a musician and as a person.
I’m an adopted Korean, and in high school had been suffering a major identity crisis. I didn’t know what to do and was failing academically. I felt so lost … but Dr. Loewenheim helped me through it all an i was able to successfully join the college in 2012. Upon becoming an official Bulldog, I found my path. My studies have been getting better and better, I now know what I want to do with my life, and have matured so much.
Even before being in college, I had the amazing opportunity to study with professors and participate in the orchestra.
Now, as a college student, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to represent my school all over the West Coast. Fresno State has hosted multiple international music festivals, such as FOOSA and FiYO. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to meet and play with some of the greatest musicians in the world- such as Lynn Harrell, a two-time Grammy Award Winning Cellist.
Last school year, I won the Fresno State Concerto Competition and was able to play the Lalo Cello Concerto in D Minor with the school’s orchestra.
Because of all the support and knowledge this university has given me, I’m well on my way to becoming a professional world-renowned musician.
Are there any organizations/clubs you are involved in? Tell us about what you’re up to!
I just helped in founding a new club at Fresno State! This year is New Music Ensemble’s first year as a recognized club. It’s a group of talented students who play works by living composers! A lot of the time we feature the schools very own student composition majors. We have a concert coming up on halloween, and are always looking for composers to send us their pieces.
What’s the best thing about your school?
The best thing about my school is how supportive they are of their students. The music department here is so encouraging and always pushing us to reach a higher level. It’s really very heartwarming to know such a great faculty is working at Fresno State.
Your go-to food place:
Sweet Tomatoes. I like to think I’m classy, but the idea of a buffet always wins me over … Haha. I also love this local Korean food place by my school called Samos Kitchen, the ahjussi there is so nice to me and always welcomes my friends and me.
What is your best student-budget recipe?
I’m a horrible cook, so the best attempt I can make is instant ramen…
What has been your favorite memory so far?
Favorite memory so far has been performing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles with FOOSA, a summer string academy held at our school. It was such a wonderful experience and the hall is so beautiful!
Tell us about your favorite and least favorite classes.
My favorite class is my private lesson time, because my professor is amazing and I always learn so much. My least favorite class… environmental studies. To me all the rocks and dirt look and feel pretty much the same, trying to differentiate all of them just makes my head spin *_*
Do you have a worst roommate story? Let’s hear it.
I don’t have a roommate … However this past summer I roomed with two of my friends and learned we could go through multiple cartons of ice cream in a night for two full weeks … Hagen Daaz will be the death of me.
Who has been an influential figure in your life?
My cello professor, Dr. Thomas Loewenheim. He’s helped keep me on track and has supported me 200% ever since I met him. He’s so passionate about music and it’s so contagious that I’ve become incredibly passionate about music, too. His dream is to make Fresno the best big “hub” of music, which at first I thought was ridiculous, but he’s come so far these past years that I believe he can do anything.
If you could sum up your life as a student in three words, they would be…
Coffee, music, coffee…
Is there anywhere in the world where you’d want to study abroad? Where is it, and why?
Germany! I’ve been working towards that goal for a while. So much history, so man beautiful landmarks … The Berlin Philharmonic is there, and I’ve always wanted to be a part of that. So being able to study in the same place that they reside in would be way too cool. So many music greats took place there, I just want to immerse myself in the culture.
What was the hardest thing you’ve done so far?
Playing for Janos Starker.
Now, it doesn’t seem so bad, but Janos Starker is a music legend. Cellists dream of playing for him. I was a 14-year-old dork that didn’t know how big of a deal he was. So I went in, scuffed jeans and beat up converse, and (attempted) to play my piece for him. He stopped me not even halfway through, told me my fingers were too weak, and made me cry like a baby. That lone moment is such huge motivation for me to take things seriously.
What song is representative of your life right now?
“Stuntman” by DANakaDAN
He’s also a Korean Adoptee and everything he writes has really struck home with me.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I have no clue. Hopefully in an orchestra, doing what I love. Or traveling the world eating my heart out, one city at a time…
What was the last book you read…for fun?
Kafka on the Shore by Murakami. It quite literally blew my mind.
What does your typical day consist of?
Wake up, work (I teach at a high school), school, practice, more school, teach (I teach private lessons too), practice, and sleep. Somewhere in there I manage to fit in Instagram binging and Tumblr obsessing.
What does your typical night out consist of?
Grabbing tea and watching an abnormal amount of movies (particularly Hayao Miyazaki films). Honestly, as long as I’m with my friends, we can do anything and I’d be happy.
If you had to evacuate your dorm/apartment/house immediately, what one item would you grab on the way out?
My cello… I mean, she’s 200 years old…
What’s your go-to selfie face?
Coffee, tea, energy drinks, “crazier stuff,” or nothing at all?
Coffee and tea.
Who’s the person/people you can rely on for anything?
My best friend, Patricia. She also plays the cello, and I met her in college. She’s so sweet and so supportive of everything i do, and always has my back. I love her to death and I probably wouldn’t be sane if it weren’t for her!
If you would like to participate in KoreAm U’s Student Spotlight feature, you can find more information here. Alumni, we have something for you too!