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Vinnie Mah

singapore christmas

Christmas in Singapore @ Vinnie Classroom

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Christmas in Singapore @ Vinnie Classroom

singapore christmas

No white Christmas

Never in history has Singapore seen snow. Everyone continues to shop in flip-flops, t-shirts and is usually a little sweaty. But Christmas is still one of the most joyous and celebrated festivals in Singapore. Folks at Vinnie Classroom adore Christmas and never have we failed to impress students who come for lessons!

Christmas in Singapore

Christmas decorations, Singapore-style!

Musicians are often associated with being creative, so DIY decorations are a must at VC! After getting supplies from the usual shops around town, teachers at Vinnie Classroom often get creative with handicraft work! The fireplace is hand-crafted from a recycled wooden pallet, the fire is created with origami-style paper-folding and the glittery VC logo on the Christmas tree is painstakingly cut out of a piece of foam! Just VC’s way of rewarding visitors with our school’s uniqueness! Check out the photos!

Christmas Videos

Meanwhile, check out all the Christmas song covers by Vinnie Classroom if they are your jazz! For example, VC did a live Facebook streaming back in 2017 during Christmas : The VC XMAS LIVE 2017 ! In addition to every family’s preparations for their own celebration, students had to come back for extra rehearsals before hitting the live streaming studio! In the end, all the hard work was worthwhile judging from the smiles on the faces of those involved.

 

Vinnie Classroom 2019

Vinnie Classroom X Guitar Emerge @ Esplanade

By | Acoustic Guitar, Drum, Electric Guitar, Events, News, Pop Piano, Ukulele | No Comments

Esplanade was lit as Vinnie Classroom and Guitar Emerge put up a fantastic show!

After months of intensive practice and rehearsals, the students of Vinnie Classroom and Guitar Emerge finally took to the stage at the Esplanade on Sunday. It was fantastic to be able to reach out to the general public, coming from all corners of Singapore.

The music exchange between the two schools was a precious opportunity for us to learn from one another. Standards were raised, and our top-performing students had a good taste of what it is really like to helm a show. They were taken out of the comfort zone of preparing one or two songs at our annual recitals. For instance,  one student was learning as many as SIX SONGS in less than 3 months!

Here’s the day in photos:

Vinnie Classroom Guitar Emerge

Vinnie Classroom X Guitar Emerge

Setup, Soundcheck, Showtime, Teardown – The Esplanade Life

For most, we take it for granted that the stage is always ready for a show. But as musicians, our students are involved in the show from setup to teardown, so they know from first-hand experience how much work is really needed before the show starts.

Set 1 – Guitar Emerge

Students of Guitar Emerge opened the show that day with a repertoire of familiar favorites that got the crowd going:

  1. Love Story – Taylor Swift
  2. Crazy Little Thing – Queen
  3. Material Girl – Madonna
  4. Someone Like You – Adele
  5. Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
  6. Dance On/Apache

Read more about their set on their blog!

Set 2 – Vinnie Classroom

Next, it was our students’ turn to charm the crowd with classics old and new!

  1. I Feel Good – James Brown
  2. Lemon Tree – Fool’s Garden
  3. Imagine – John Lennon
  4. Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
  5. Swan Song – Dua Lipa
  6. September – Earth, Wind & Fire

Set 3 – Vinnie Classroom & Guitar Emerge

After that, the combined band comprising of students from Vinnie Classroom and Guitar Emerge played 2 medleys of songs by iconic bands ABBA and Queen, and more. The show ended on a high and positive note of the 1980s hit single “We Are The World” (USA for Africa, with Michael Jackson).

In line with the Esplanade’s theme for December, “Come Together”, the combined performances were delivered by children as young as 8 years old (apparently the youngest to take on an Esplanade stage) to seniors from the Merdeka Generation!

  1. Abba Medley
  2. Queen Medley
  3. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
  4. Hotel California – Eagles
  5. We Are The World – Michael Jackson

We are processing the video at the moment. If you like to watch it as soon as it is out, please remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or, simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and subscribe to our newsletter!

Music brings us places. Music brought us together.

Thank you Esplanade, for bringing Vinnie Classroom and Guitar Emerge together, for putting our students on a bigger stage, and for giving them the opportunity to unite Singaporeans through music!

music school singapore
come together esplanade

Vinnie Classroom x Guitar Emerge at Esplanade

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Vinnie Classroom x Guitar Emerge at Esplanade

Vinnie Classroom recital

esplanade concourse timeout.com

In line with the Esplanade’s theme for December, “Come Together”, students and teachers of Vinnie Classroom x Guitar Emerge will be performing at the Esplanade concourse on 1st December 2019, from 3.15 pm to 5.45 pm.

The collaboration will see us performing hits from Queen, Ed Sheeran, Earth Wind Fire and more! Catch us next Sunday, as teachers and students, young and old, come together and present songs from past and present!

Esplanade Come Together : Vinnie Classroom and Guitar EmergeEsplanade: Come Together

“1–6 and 10–31 Dec

Celebrate friendships new and old as artists and kindred spirits come together for a time of collaboration, reflection and revelry.

Aside from free live performances every day at the Esplanade Concourse, there will be free shows at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre every weekend, public holiday and eve of public holidays. Special weekend craft activities and roving performances throughout the centre also await you at Come Together.

Come Together 2018 is held in conjunction with Celebrate in the City. ”

Vinnie Classroom x Guitar Emerge – Combined Band

Vinnie Classroom Guitar EmergeCombine band with students from Vinnie Classroom and Guitar Emerge

Show Time :

3.15 pm to 3.45 pm: Guitar Emerge

4.15pm to 4.45pm: Vinnie Classroom

5.15 pm to 5.45 pm: Combined Band

Bill Ray Drum

Bill Ray Interview 2019

By | Drum, Music Articles, News, Vinnie's Youtube World | No Comments

Bill Ray Interview 2019

Bill Ray Drum

Bill Ray, Paul Gilbert’s trusted time machine!

In a rare stroke of luck, Bill Ray chanced upon Vinnie’s Instagram post and left a comment. That quickly escalated to a newfound friendship and an exclusive interview with Paul’s drummer! In this interview, Bill shares his experience of maintaining the rhythm section for Paul. Similarly, he also talks about his experiences and plenty of tips for budding drummers! Full video of this interview at the bottom of the article.

Bill Ray, a man of wise words.

Throughout the interview, Bill was constantly giving tips and advice as a veteran musician. His years of experience translated well into his speech, helpful to all budding musicians. The interview is slightly over an hour long and we recommend you listen to it like a podcast. Put on a pair of earphones, make yourself a hot chocolate and absorb all the wisdom Bill has to offer. If not, we will try to summarize some of the notable quotes for you.

Bill Ray Drummer

Music is a conversation, not a competition.

The idea of music as a competition is really strong in Asia. Everyone thinks that joining a music competition will guarantee some form of success, if not training. That is quite the opposite of what music should be. Music, as Bill mentioned, is a language. If you speak music, you converse with the rest of the band. When the band is talking with their instrument, they sound awesome to the audience. The common adjectives you hear people use are “tight” or “in the pocket”. Being on time is a by-product of being able to speak the language. Bill nailed the art of music as a language.

There is no level, it’s all circle.

When Bill was 21, he asked Dennis Chambers “How do you get to the next level?”. To which, Dennis replied, “There is no level, it’s all circle”. The idea of being successful in the industry really boils down to interpersonal relationships within the music industry. It is always nice to be nice – people remember nice. Can the person pick the phone and dial your number? (sic)

Paul Gilbert Behold Electric Guitar

Left to Right. Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Roland Guerin, Bill Ray, Asher Fulero.

Learn to read music! Standard notation!

Bill shared how he would turn up to a gig only to find that they didn’t have a drum chart ready for him. For many drummers, this spells trouble because there is no way to play along to the band then. Bill would then request for a trumpet lead sheet or any lead sheet he can get his hands on. This is because those standard scores would have the structure of the song written out neatly. What a clever solution but only applicable if you can read music, properly!

If music can be boiled down to one thing, it’s congruent.

“If you can be congruent with other players, congruent with the environment that you are playing in, congruent with the music, you can get those areas covered, then people will definitely call you back. They gonna say this person listens to everybody in the band. He doesn’t try to play all the stuff at one time. They listen and put down what needs to be there. They’re not playing so loud that is blowing everybody off the club. Everybody is dialed in. If you can be congruent within that arena then you will be called back to work. ” – Bill Ray

Conclusion

In conclusion, Bill is perhaps one of the nicest musicians I have ever spoken to. Regardless of his tremendous ability on the drums, there isn’t the slightest hint of arrogance. Nice and sincere describes him best. Above all, I guess my biggest take away from this interview is that no matter what level of musicianship you are at, it is important to be a real and genuine human! Thank you, Bill, for this interview, and see you during your show with Paul Gilbert here in Singapore!

Vinnie

Get your tickets to Paul Gilbert Singapore 2019

If you are still undecided, note that the tickets are almost sold out! Or you can read our previous articles about this upcoming gig.

Paul Gilbert Behold Electric Guitar Asia Tour Singapore 2019

Article: Paul Gilbert Live in Singapore 2019

Paul Gilbert Ibanez PGM Mikro

Article: Our Honest Review of Ibanez PGM Mikro

Crazy Elephant Singapore

Crazy Elephant’s 25th Anniversary Celebrations!

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Crazy Elephant Celebrates its 25th Anniversary!

Crazy Elephant Singapore

Img credit : Crazy Elephant Singapore

25 years of Crazy Elephant!

In the early 1990s, Clarke Quay shed its past as a shipping port and was redeveloped into a commercial and entertainment district. It was then, in 1994, that a bar called Crazy Elephant had its humble beginnings. It therefore quickly established itself as ‘the’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues live music venue as we know it today! Woohoo!

On 20 October 2019, Crazy Elephant celebrated its Silver Jubilee! The place was overflowing with patrons, some decked out in the craziest suits ever, and a gigantic elephant mask. To mark this major milestone, 7 bands – Dubious People, Crozzroads, Randolf Arriola, The No Daddies, Dirty Dealers, Heritage, Bob Sauler & The Blues Rock Renegade – performed the greatest hits from 1969 to 1994. Finally, to close the night, musicians from all over the world brought the house down at Singapore’s longest running jam session.

 

Fun Fact 1: Do you know Clark Quay used to be a family oriented entertainment ground? There was even an indoor water adverture ride “Pirates of the Carribean” that features the history of Singapore’s Maritime and Port. That was 1993 and before the new redevelopment plans to convert the identity of Clark Quay, allowing the very existence of Crazy Elephant. 

Let’s hear it from the person who knows it best – Anita!

We are so honored to have been part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, but as ignorant juniors of the local music scene, we have some burning questions about Crazy Elephant! Who can be a better person to ask than Anita, who has had front row seats to the Big Bang at CE?! She has been the Business Development Manager for the last 20 years, she sure knows every little thing about this crazy party house!

When did you join Crazy Elephant? How was it like back then?

1999!!! It was crazy back then as well! The venue was much smaller but we still had many amazing musicians both local and from all over the world come through our doors. Back then and for many years after, there weren’t many places that had live music and doing what we did and continue to do quality Blues and Rock music. It was a full house every weekend and you could hardly move. It was a very different Clarke Quay back then.

When did the famous weekly Jam Session begin? How has it grown?

Since forever! It has definitely grown over the years, kudos to the support of the amazing musicians and music lovers who come through, helping us spread the word as well as our very own jam master Kelly Olafson who does an amazing job of running the jam every Sunday. This year saw the birth of Common Ground, an event that happens every third Sunday of the month that starts a couple of hours before our jam session. The idea behind it is to get musicians and music lovers converging together to swap, showcase music gear, share stories and meet like-minded people. The response has been good and most of the time they stay on to jam as well.

Have you witnessed any musicians taking on bigger stages after gaining experience from performing in Crazy Elephant?

I think it’s almost like a rite of passage to many, be it those who go on to pursue a professional career or those who have just picked up the guitar. The idea of sharing the love of Blues and Rock music, performing live, has always been part of CE culture. Our musicians are always very welcoming, encouraging and generous to share their experiences and give tips, be it which gear might be the best or how to overcome stage fright.

Can you list some countries of your patrons?

Australia. Belgium. Brazil. Cambodia. Canada. China. Cuba. Denmark. Egypt. Fiji. Finland. France. Germany. Greece. Honduras. Hungry. Iceland. India. Indonesia. Iran. Ireland. Italy. Japan. Lebanon. Malaysia. Mauritius. Mexico. Montenegro. Myanmar. Netherlands. Nepal. New Zealand. Norway. Pakistan. Peru. Philippines. Portugal. Russia. Spain. Singapore. Sweden. Suriname. Switzerland. Thailand. Turkey. Ukraine. UAE. USA. Vietnam. Zimbabwe…..just to name a few!!!!

What’s the best part of Crazy Elephant today?

We have and will continue to cultivate the music community and play a big part in the live music scene as one of the longest-running establishments here in Clarke Quay and in Singapore.

Heart and Soul of Blues Rock Singapore

In conclusion, Anita definitely made it clear that Crazy Elephant has been and will always a platform for creative interactions among musicians. The glowing legacy of Crazy Elephant is evident in the crowds it continues to draw relentlessly, night after night for a quarter of a century. Let us leave you with some photos our beloved Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues bar, past and present, from Facebook! See you at Crazy Elephant!

Vinnie

 

Fun Fact 2: Crazy Elephant is founded by Mr John Chee, Mr Samuel Seong Koon and Mr Keef Ong. Mr Chee used to play 5 days a week with the house band Blues Machine. These days, the house is taken over by Bob Sauler and The Blues Rock Renegades! Bob Sauler on Vocals and Guitar, David Ng on Bass, Tan Boon Gee on Drums and Alex Kalino Hooi on Guitar. 

Kelly Olafson, the unsung hero of the Open Mic Jam!

Kelly Olafson

Possibly the first Crazy Elephant Jam Session!

Crazy Elephant Open Mic Jam

From the team at Crazy Elephant!

guitar pick wallpaper

How to choose a guitar pick (Beginner)

By | Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Music Articles, Retail | No Comments

How to choose a guitar pick?

guitar pick wallpaper

Pick the right pick! How, though?

With guitar picks, the plethora of options out there presents a challenge for beginners wanting to pick the right pick. How to choose a guitar pick is a topic that goes on forever. Guitar picks vary in shapes and thickness and are made with different materials. The latter depends more on personal preference, but the shape and thickness depends on

Get the right shape!

Guitar pick shape

Various shapes of guitar picks

The image above shows only 8 of the commonly seen shapes, there are crazier designs out there. For now, we will explain the reasons behind these 8 shapes. By the end of this article, you should know how to choose the guitar pick for your daily practice!

Standard

best guitar pick

The standard shape is one of the most popular choices, so you can expect to find a large range of quality picks of this shape in music stores. This is an all-rounder design that allows you to excel in both strumming and picking. It fits well in any hand size too. Standard-shape pick prices range from $0 to $5 for each pick. If you are a beginner, we highly recommend you start with this design.

Teardrop

The teardrop is designed with precision in mind. People who are able to use these often complement it for allowing them to get closer to the strings, feeling the strings better. However, teardrop picks are not for everyone. They are rather small and require a certain level of skill to control. So if you are looking at these, you should already have a good amount of experience with the standard pick.

Jazz

The Jazz pick is probably the best solution to those who want the angle of the standard pick, but in a smaller size. While the standard pick is branded as a one-size-fits-all pick, that is never quite the case. In this case, most people actually prefer the jazz pick after they are done exploring the standard pick. But just like the teardrop design, we recommend all beginners to stick to the standard for a start.

Pointy

While jazz picks may be the most right-sized, it may not have the best in terms of angle. The picking angle of the Jazz pick is very much the same as the Standard. For people who wish their pick can glide pass the string effortlessly, Pointy is the best solution. Pointy is pretty much the sharper version of the Jazz. Paul Gilbert commonly use such design and is also commonly known for his speed and precision!

Pentagon

I know, that isn’t how a Pentagon should look like. This design is between the Jazz and the Teardrop.  The chopped off ends allows the pick size to be smaller but at the same time offering the picking angle similar to the Jazz. If you are looking for a Jazz pick with a smaller surface area, this might be it. Besides, it looks funky and cool!

Triangle and Equilateral Triangle

shamisen

Img: Wow-j.com

The triangle and equilateral triangle picks are for those with huge hand size. They offer a thicker tone due to the amount of mass on the pick and also allows for you to pick on all corners. This means, there isn’t a moment you will panic on stage because you are holding the pick in the wrong position. On top of being a big pick, Triangle pick reminds us of the Japanese Traditional instrument Shamisen (三味線). Though not entirely the same but you can see the similarity between the pick used for the Shamisen and this Triangle pick.

Sharkfin

The Sharkfin was branded as a multi-purpose guitar pick. It is a combination of Teardrop, Standard and the Sharkfin. The top right corner offers the small picking angle like the Teardrop. The bottom offers the picking angle like the Standard. The Sharkfin side is perhaps the smartest pick design ever. By strumming the guitar strings with the multiple ridges, you can attain a tone that sounds similar to the Chorus effect or 12-string guitar! That is because the pick design allows the string to be strum a couple of times in just 1 stroke! There are brands out there that offer Sharkfins made with various thicknesses on the different corners too!

Thickness, just how thick is right?

Thick and Thin guitar pick

IMG: V-Picks.com

Guitar pick comes in a huge variety of thickness and they all serve a specific purpose. There is no right or wrong with which thickness you choose. However, there are some general guidelines to the thickness. We will divide them into 4 categories, Thin, Medium, Thick, and Ultra. Let’s dive in!

 

 

Thin Picks

Thin picks are suitable for strumming away on the acoustic guitar. They have a high level of flexibility and helps to reduce all the harshness when you strum hard across the strings. The tone produced is also rather thin but there is specific case where pro-guitarist actually want that tone in their song. Take a look at the ever-popular Wonderwall, the tone is unmistakably achieved by strumming with a rather thin pick! It is almost impossible to get that tone otherwise! We recommend all beginners to get this thickness first and master the art of using a guitar pick.

Medium Picks

Medium picks offer the best of both worlds between strumming and picking. The thickness still allows for some flexibility and hardness when picking individual notes. This thickness is by far the most popular with most Acoustic guitar players that do picking and strumming in their songs. Electric guitar players who do more of rhythm role will also benefit from this thickness because the thinner strings on the electric guitar matches really well with the medium thickness guitar picks. We recommend this to beginners that have passed the stage of Wonderwall.

Thick Picks

Thick picks offer almost no flexibility and makes strumming a lot harder. However, the thickness in return allows for a faster response when picking a string as there isn’t any flexing on the pick to cushion the stroke. This means you can pick faster than with a Medium or Thin pick. With a little practice, the pro-guitarist will be able to strum with the thick pick and achieve a tone similar to Wonderwall. However, the risk of the pick falling off the grip is real when doing so. Usually, a guitarist at this level is able to go between a variety of thicknesses and will have a pouch filled with choices. Beginners, stay clear of the Thick picks.

Ultra Picks

As the name suggests, these picks are not meant for regulars. In fact, they are meant for people who have cleared all stages of Wonderwall and are entering the world of the vast unknown. The ultra-thick pick has no tolerance to flex, they simple are as tough as Diamond. However, the sweet reward of using these picks are ultra-fast picking response and a rather thick guitar tone! Each note will sound as if they have put on a few pounds since you last heard of them. We are not endorsing these kinds of picks but there are a few brands out there that offer this madness. V-Picks being one of the crazier ones… Go try it if you dare. Again, stay clear of this my Beginners.

Conclusion

If you are a Beginner and hunting for the most suitable guitar picks for your daily practice, we recommend you to go with the Thin or Medium thickness on the Standard design. If you have a doubt, it is also a good idea to talk to your guitar teacher about this. Your guitar teacher will know your progress the best and will be able to advise you on what is most suitable for you.

good guitar pick

How to choose a guitar pick ? Now you know !

Vinnie