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Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I hire you when Degree holding teachers are aplenty?
I have taught students from aged 4 to 70 of all levels and abilities. My years of teaching experience tells me that music teaching is not only about paper qualification, but also about the ability to interact and knowing how to bring out the best in each and every student. Like most, if not all Degree holding teachers out there, my students are mostly kids and teenagers. I identify what my students need at every stage of development, train them for qualifying examinations and performance, all of which are exactly what Degree holders do.To date, I have managed to maintain a 100% pass rate for students’ exam, since beginning to teach in 2010.
At the moment, I am holding a ABRMS’s Diploma in Teaching, ABRSM’s Diploma in Piano Performance and Grade 8 in Music Theory. I aim to attain both ABRSM’s LRSM in Teaching and Performance by 2023-24.
(Unfortunately, even if you hire a Degree holding teacher, you are still not guaranteed a successful child musician. Many factors work together to create great results – The child’s innate musical talents as well as parents’ involvement and commitment to consistent practice being a few of them.)
What is the Parent’s Role?
In most cases, I strongly encourage student independence, and therefore do not recommend that parents sit in and observe the lessons unless the student is a very young beginner. I have found that this practice prevents distractions between the student and teacher and enable the student to share ideas and be creative throughout the lesson. Parents will be updated timely on their child’s progress and be reminded on how they can encourage their child with at-home practice i.e. scheduling a regular time for practice, making sure children practise everything in their assignment book (as well as simply exploring and having fun), listening to their children play and having informal concerts for family and friends.
How much practice is necessary?
Progress is mostly determined by how much one practises and attitude towards learning, which can vary widely. It also depends on the player’s quality of practices. The general guideline is most intermediate players who practise at least 20-30 minutes each day, they will likely be able to play snippets of songs pretty soon after starting and a full song equivalent to grade 5 standard after 2-3 months.
The practice assignment is fine-tuned to the student and to the strengths and struggles of that day’s lesson. It is designed to be specific, efficient, and broken into manageable steps. Each new piece might be difficult at the start, but if the student follows the teacher’s instruction, material that is difficult will become easy.
What if I don’t like classical music?
You don’t have to like classical music to play the piano. You work with me to learn what you want to learn, at your pace. There are plenty of books and resources available to help you achieve your goals and play the music that you want to play.
Do you ask your students to take exams every year?
Generally speaking, I do not place emphasis on examinations and grades. I do not believe in using them to determine students’ ability to play music.
It is not necessary to enroll for examinations yearly and at every grade. Whilst I understand that not everyone wants to or is suited to enter examinations, I support those who do and offer training for them. In my piano lessons, my objective is to allow time to develop skills in each area adequately before an exam. Ultimately, the decision on whether to enter for exam or not lies with me. I never put a student in the position of performing something that is not 100% comfortable and ready.
Parents who are only interested in their children passing exams and getting certificates should look elsewhere for a teacher who share the same mentality.
What is the best age to start piano lessons?
The general consensus is that any age between six and nine is the optimum age to begin piano lessons. However, depending on the individual’s linguistic skills, to begin piano lessons as early as five year old can be suitable for some children, especially if they can read basic words well and are already showing enthusiasm for the piano.
Otherwise, instead of individual/private piano lessons, it is generally recommended that the pre-schoolers attend introductory music classes that specialise in music exposure.
Nonetheless, there are always exceptions. I would be happy to advise you if you have a younger child who is really showing a musical aptitude, even if they can’t yet read. I would be open and honest with you if it would be in your child’s interest to wait a year or two.