Wow, in a blink of an eye, we are going to celebrate NDP 2020! If you are following Vinnie Classroom’s Youtube channel, you will probably know how big we are on NDP songs! We did covers, rearrangements, and even karaoke versions for the whole family to sing-along to! Our original plan for this year was to rearrange Nathan Hartono’s Everything I Am into a more upbeat version. However, I was commissioned by Northland Primary School to rearrange 2 NDP classics for their school celebration!
I am so glad the school chooses these 2 songs for NDP 2020 celebrations! They are definitely on the top of my list! But since these are really old songs, I felt the need to rebrand it into something the students of this generation will remember. Hence at the start of the song, you can spot familiar sounds such as the traffic light beeper and the ding-dong of the public bus! I admit I also mischievously added the sounds made by game consoles when I was a kid. Let’s take it as my way to connect with this generation.
I added the Koel bird in the first draft for presentation to the school but was rejected. hahaha.
Past NDP Song Arrangements
In the past years, we made a few attempts in creating our own NDP song arrangements because they are the songs of our nation. As music teachers, we cannot miss the opportunity to do our part in sharing the joy! Below are the clips that you can sing at the top of your voice with your friends and family this NDP weekend!
Paul Gilbert has many well-known songs and The Curse of Castle Dragon is definitely on the top of the list! Any Paul Gilbert fan will be able to tell you the technical challenges in this song. They will even tell you how each part is played at the most detailed level. Or if I played anything wrong in this video. But I feel I have something else to express through this song cover.
Learning straight from the master, Paul Gilbert
If you don’t know, I was very lucky to be able to interview Paul Gilbert when he was here in Singapore for a gig in 2019. You can read all about my nerve-wracking experience here. On top of that, I am also part of his online music school at ArtistWorks.com
The motivating factor
I started playing guitar at an age that’s considered too old by many. Impossible to be able to reach the standard I so desire. I had no teachers or could I afford one then. But I stumbled upon the great Paul Gilbert and his “Down to Mexico” video. The insanely fast and accurate picking with fancy costumes and the quirky greenscreen background caught my attention right away. Not to mention how humble Paul was. That became my catalyst to pursue in guitar playing. It took me 15 years to find the courage to cover “The Curse of Castle Dragon”! I fell in love with the song when it was first released and had been messing around the sections of the song over the years. Never have I found the right phase of my life to put it together.
That was until I met Paul last year. I had the privilege to chat and interview him during his gig in Singapore back in 2019. It felt so surreal to be standing right next to someone who I watch on videos and admired so much for all these years. I told myself, that has to be the sign for me to start taking my life seriously.
To be a successful band is perhaps one of the hardest questions and nobody knows just exactly how. The number of bands that go unheard and their effort waste is a common story that we have been listening to for too many times. Bands have also invested heavily in financing their dream only to see little results. It does not have to be that way. It can be easier and it can be possible for a band without a rich investor or strong management to succeed. In this post, I will be sharing the experience I had with my fellow band members about our journey chasing the dream and what you can learn from it.
Music moves people
I’m sure you have heard of this phrase many times. Music is a powerful tool that can change a person emotionally. If you are feeling unhappy, the right music can make you feel better again. Feeling tired and needed something to help you pull through, music can boost your energy level. Want to tell someone a message but don’t want to be too blunt, music can help you do so subtlety. Music is also there for all occasions. Weddings, funerals, parties, graduations and so on. Music is simply essential in our daily life.
However, pretentious music often or not won’t work. People can smell a lie from miles away. Nobody likes a song that pretends to have a deep meaning, only to be written for the sake of going with a “formula”. There are simply way too many bands that write songs based on formula after attending music programs from schools that promise stardom. Lyrics must be real and relatable and there are no 2 ways to that.
In 讨闹排Razzleplay’s album, we wrote exactly what we were going through at that period of our life. There are songs about our energy in pursuing our dream. Some songs about our daily life. There is also a song that portrayed a BGR (Boy-Girl-Relationship) of one of our members. Every song is written about us and tells our story. If you want people to hear you, be honest about yourself.
Never show anything lesser than who you are
I remember how we will spend hours and hours in the rehearsal studio together. Our typical schedule is from post-work hour till about 3-4 am. A single song can be practiced over and over countless times. A perfect take in the rehearsal studio is simply not good enough for us, we want to be able to do it perfectly every single take. Our body will often be sore and aching after practice. We will usually be sweaty despite coming out of an air-conditioned room. Everyone’s ears suffer from the perpetual ringing sound.
We do this because we know how it works. When you are out there to showcase, you only have one chance to get it right. You have to get it right comfortably. It shouldn’t be a game of chance and luck. Coming off the stage telling people how lucky you are on stage is irresponsible to everyone who loves your band.
One of the reasons 讨闹排Razzleplay was forging ahead from other bands at that point was simply because of how they were found. We had no social media to rely on and youtube was mostly unheard. People prefer traditional mediums then. So we prepared and mailed our album along with photos and write-ups, all in a beautiful and customized plastic-file. To promote our album, we also contacted every single shopping malls to ask for a performing space. Our plan was to get heard by as many as we can and we are not cutting any corners. If you are hosting a small event and needed a band, we will be there. Perhaps you are hosting an open mic, we will be there. How about if you are not going to pay bands for their work on stage, we will be there.
The primary mistake for many bands today is valuing monetary gain over anything. Indeed, money is important to fuel the band for the long haul. But asking for money too early can easily backfire on your desired journey. Musicians often ask about how much they will be paid before agreeing on a gig. Now don’t get me wrong that I support the idea of paying musicians with exposure. To me, that can only be applied to musicians who have reached a certain level of recognition and fandom. The primary goal of the young band is to get heard. Putting a dollar sign in your conversation with the next gig manager is like putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your hotel room door.
Use Social Media
This couldn’t be easier enough today but it hasn’t been the case when 讨闹排Razzleplay was active. Some would often complain that social media platforms restrict their audiences and they cannot beat the algorithm. While that is true, it is surely better than trying to succeed with absolutely no social media to help. Social media is complicated. It is not just about how the platform’s algorithm restricts your audience but also how you use it.
Imagine chancing upon a musicians‘ Facebook post. This is the first time you heard of this person and you know nothing about him/her. However, in the short Facebook post, the musician is asking you to subscribe and share their content. Why will you be doing that for someone you know absolutely nothing about? Imagine you are walking down a shopping street and someone hands out a flyer to you. What are the chances that you will be taking the content in the flyer seriously? I believe you got my point. Social media is powerful, way more powerful than when Razzleplay tried giving out flyers. Also, don’t restrict to a just few favorite social media platforms. Your audience could be found in every of the available platform.
The story of 讨闹排Razzleplay on becoming a successful band
You may argue that our band is no way near your definition of success. Or may say this is a typical story of an indie band. But you might just be right. However looking back, 讨闹排Razzleplay was one of the best things that happened to my life. The whole rollercoaster ride experience cannot be found with many others going through that phase of their life. The lessons and experience we got from it made us much better in what we do today. Because of that, I can tell you that we have succeed.
I’ll try to be concise with the story. Simin and I wanted something more than working in a music store so we decide to try forming a band like many others. I roped my brother Victor in on the drum and Simin called her friend Siling in to sing. We posted on a forum to audition for a bassist, Sean was the first to reply to us. Then came many hours of jamming sessions and we realized we can be quite a topic. Then many hours of brainstorming, discussion, practices, and we became one solid unit. We wrote our first song and recorded our first singles. We got good responses from friends and supporters. Motivated, we worked on a full album. It brought us to big gigs we could never have imagined. One of our songs also hit the 9th position on the radio chart. Probably one of our proudest moments because our song was rank amongst the big labels and international artists!
“让我会到一切美好的回忆，停留一秒也足够”, translates as “allow me to reminisce the wonderful memories, even if it’s just for a second”.
Our lives come in phases. There will be no signals to prompt you that you are moving into the next phase. If you missed your window of opportunity, there is no going back. If you desire to achieve something but procrastinate on it, you will lose it. My message to all the aspiring musicians out there, do it. You have no time to waste.
I shall end this blogpost by sharing our full album for free for the first time since we released it in 2009. In the video, you will get to enjoy our photos and go through the journey with us. If you want to be able to view these photos, they are still on our inactive Facebook page.
Just who is Funtwo? Well at the very beginning of youtube, people were deeply rooted in the idea that famous people must appear on TV. They are also unable to comprehend how a boy in his bedroom can play his guitar as well as big names out there. That was the start of Funtwo’s career as a guitarist. While we know he became a viral sensation, we really want to know more about who this guy is! So we gave him a call and had a chat with him!
Video Interview at bottom of page
“this guy iz great!!!”
Back in 2005, a young computer science student played a cover of JerryC’s rock guitar arrangement of Pachelbel Canon. The video was then uploaded by a user “guitar90” and it racked up at least 6 million views. Nobody knows who guitar90 was and the account was later removed. Arguably, there are other guitarists who gained more view count for covering “Canon Rock” today. Youtuber Vi Gi tops the chart at 87 million views, Sungha Jung ranked second at 56 million views and JerryC himself at 23 million. However, we cannot deny the fact that it all started when Funtwo recorded that dorky video!
Can you spot Funtwo in the Most Viewed category of Youtube 2005?
Who else is Funtwo performing with?
Funtwo recently joined the ranks at Yamaha and made a cover of Michael Jackson’s Black or White with Jack Thammarat and Jane! In our video interview, Funtwo also shared how he is looking to collaborate with other great guitarists. Funtwo is definitely not stopping at Canon Rock.
Here’s the fun thing about this video cover. It is done with 3 very different video angles! This means while we linked Funtwo’s version here, heading over to Jack Thammarat or Jane‘s youtube channel will allow you to view this cover in a totally new way! That is really fun t0o!
Instagram Filter for Funtwo!
Click on the icon above to load the Instagram filter we made for Funtwo!
Funtwo is a definitely “twice the fun” to us. His guitar playing is extraordinary and has great vibes to his phrases. We highly recommend you to follow his work and subscribe to his youtube channel. You may witness the birth of another of his viral video!
Our chief drum teacher and a fellow industry friend share how to set up your ZOOM for drum lessons! Zoom, although it has its share of bad publicity, is the most popular and versatile video conferencing software today. With the system set up correctly, you won’t need to worry about intrusion in your video call or bad audio quality. Let’s dive right into the setup!
Security is the number 1 concern for parents. While the can monitor their child’s video call session, they won’t be able to stop an intruder in time. An intruder can send photos containing nudity or profanity if a chat room is not secure. They can also harass the users in the chat room. This is why we do our part in making sure that the system is set up correctly.
In case you are unable to view the image above, below are the points we share with all our students.
SECURING OUR ONLINE LESSONS
UNIQUE MEETING ID – Generated randomly at each new session.
PASSWORD-PROTECTED – Passwords are required for all meetings & changed regularly.
SCREEN-SHARING – Only VC teachers have permission to share their screens.
WAITING ROOM – Students will join a waiting room before teachers allow them to enter the meeting.
The drum teacher’s setup for online drum lessons
Windows 10 laptop
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface
Unique setup: clip-on fish-eye so that students can see a more complete drumming angle
Unique setup: 2 different video angles. This is useful in some teaching situations. However, this means there will be a 40-min limit for free account.
Advanced Setup (you likely missed)
Before we figured out this audio setup, we had a hard time to get the drum to work over ZOOM. The system is designed for speech and not sudden spiking audio. So while the default setting allows your voice to sound loud and clear for your participants, it compresses and mutes the drum as soon as we hit it. Go to your ZOOM’s audio setting and set it up like this! You can thank us by sharing this to your friends, colleagues and students.
While it is not ideal to have drum lessons over video call, we are happy to be able to continue our lessons with our students! To all music teachers out there, stay strong and positive!
From the makers (us) who brought you the SG United face mask Instagram filter, we now present the ROCK BAND CHALLENGE IG FILTER! The challenge is simple, get your instrument ready before hitting your video record button and wait for the random generator to show you the band logo. Once the band logo is up, play a short tune from the band! Or you can simply sing a line of that band! Sounds easy? We don’t think so!
Do you dare to take on the Rock Band Challenge?
Click on the icon above to get your daily dose of challenge! However, do remember that you do not need to play an instrument to this challenge. We welcome people to sing or get creative over this challenge. As the creator, we are curious to see how creative people can get. With the number of people being kept at home, I’m sure this can even become a family event! Or a community can get together over a video conference? Anyway, get started by clicking onto the icon above!
Share your challenge!
If you did try our challenge, share it and tag us @vinnieclassroom ! We will share our favourites on our Instagram and maybe even a compilation on our youtube channel!
We created some Instagram filter (s) to show our support to the SG United spirit! By now, most of us are probably used to the WFH and HBL lifestyle. The amount of time we saved on travelling also means that we gained time for other things! Some use this to bond with their family better and some take physical health more seriously. For Vinnie, apart from teaching and practicing his guitar, he took the chance to pick up a new skill. Making Instagram Filters!
SG United Face Mask
The idea behind creating this filter is to get people to spread the important message of wearing a mask. So while we ask you to wear a mask when you are out doing essential work, we encourage you to continue to spread the message through social media too. To date, we still see endless reports of people disobeying the Circuit Breaker rules. Citizens are not taking the CB seriously enough. This means the effort of those who obey the rules will go to waste. So let’s continue to share the important message in our fight against this pandemic.
How to use the filter?
Unfortunately for Facebook users, these filters are currently only available on Instagram. If you have an Instagram account, click on the link below to access them. Alternatively, you can search for Vinnie Classroom on Instagram and look for the filter in our profile.
We went onto the radio to share how the COVID-19 has affected music schools in Singapore. Although we are supposed to be in a technological advance phase of human history, we are still not savvy enough! The live video call was hit hard by audio issues, viewers could not hear from our side. We tried all settings and nothing works. In the end, we had to ignore the video function and go old school.
We shared about our challenges
We talked about how we tackled the restrictions due to the COVID-19 situation. Basically, our business is now fully dependent on the power of video conferencing. Thankfully, there are plenty of apps out there to help us out! Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger!
What are the basic requirements for Home-Based Learning?
Home-based learning isn’t as daunting as many would have thought. All you need are a reliable internet connection, a device that allows video calling and a room without your little brother disturbing you. If the piano sits in the living room of the household, family members will simply have to find a place to “hide” while the music lesson is taking place. However, with the new WFH and HBL going at full force, we are certain that families out there are readjusting their furniture to meet the new work and school requirements.
Here’s the radio interview!
Conclusion on the COVID-19 sharing session on radio
Firstly, a big THANK YOU to Kenneth Jianwen, Nana and Love 97.2fm for this opportunity to share our thoughts on the current situation! Though the session was short but it gave us an opportunity to share with everyone that music schools like us in Singapore are ready to provide the best music education for your child! Covid-19 or not.
While our *Free Trial Lesson is usually conducted in our centre, we now do it over a webcam! The experience you get will be beyond your expectations! If you are not sure, you can drop us a text on facebook messenger too!
We just ended our first massive ZOOM guitar lesson today! What an experience! The COVID-19 has suspended lessons in enrichment centres in Singapore since 26 March. Lessons will remain conducted over web conferencing until the end of April. However, this isn’t stopping us or slowing us down. Instead, we found a new way to connect with our students! We got everyone available together for our first ever guitar masterclass over a webcam!
Ok maybe not that massive 😀
Teething issues from our first group lesson
To organize a massive ZOOM guitar lesson isn’t easy! We found out some teething issues and hopefully they can help you run your lessons successfully!
Muting is a function available for both the host and the participants to use. Although weird at times to have nobody talking to you but we recommend to mute everyone when you are delivering your lesson material.
If left unchecked, a mischievous participant can potentially jeopardize your lesson. We recommend you set this to “Host Only”. This function is only accessible through their setting page on their website.
This is more of a tip than an issue. Learning by a person talking away can be difficult for some. Slides provide a great way to get the points delivered easily! I also allow the students to be able to use the slides for a recap of the lessons later!
While it is never better than having a group lesson physically together, it was great to see everyone again and learn something! The group agreed that this is meaningful and helps them get out of the dreary COVID-19 situation. The students were given assignments after the session and were looking forward to another round of web conferencing! Some suggested a longer session with more interaction!
While our *Free Trial Lesson is usually conducted in our centre, we now do it over a webcam! The experience you get will be beyond your expectations! If you are not sure, you can drop us a text on facebook messenger too!
The Singapore Youth Festival 2020 is cancelled and it caused waves of sadness. Students put in endless hours of dedicated hard work to improve their skills. Some soldiers on with practices despite blisters or abrasion, others sacrificed their little free time for the team. It was a mammoth task, to begin with. Going from zero to hero in just 4 months time means every practice session must be as intensive as it can get. So one can imagine the level of disappointment when the students learn about the news. They were ready to take on the stage but it was not meant to be.
Photos of the students during their practice session
Leadership, teamwork, and creativity
Developing qualities like leadership, teamwork, and creativity is a real challenge for our academic driven education industry. Only through activities can we discover and mold the next generation of leaders. Allowing them to work together to understand the true meaning of being in a team. Giving them the tool and instrument to create something completely new. CCA, or Co-Curricular Activities, is the backbone of creating the next generation of amazing citizens. There is no argument that every child in Singapore must participate in a CCA and why it is good for their development. In fact, it is compulsory from a certain grade onwards to take part in a CCA. The importance of such activities goes beyond the classroom.
Students deserve a pad on their back
As mentioned in the SYF website, the decision to cancel this year’s SYF Art Presentation is not easy. However, in view of the evolving COVID-19 situation, we agree this painful decision is best for everyone. Nonetheless, we feel students all over Singapore who worked really hard for this year’s SYF deserves a pad on their back. All of them are a champion to us! We hope they will be able to pick themselves up quickly and proceed to soldier on like they always do!