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who is Funtwo ?

Who is Funtwo? | Youtube’s earliest viral guitarist!

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Who is Funtwo?

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!

who is Funtwo ?

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!

funtwo youtube

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!

funtwo Instagram Filter

Click on the icon above to load the Instagram filter we made for Funtwo!

Conclusion

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!

zoom setup for mac

How to set up ZOOM for drum lessons | You probably missed those advanced functions

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How to set up ZOOM for drum lessons

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

how to secure zoom

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

Alfe’s Setup

  • Windows 10 laptop
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface
  • Electronic drum
  • Assorted cables

Unique setup: clip-on fish-eye so that students can see a more complete drumming angle

Vics’s setup

  • Mac laptop
  • iPad
  • Electronic drum
  • Assorted cables

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)

ZOOM Audio setupZOOM Audio setup best
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.

Conclusion

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!

Rock Band Challenge IG Filter | Can you Play/Sing a tune right away?

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Rock Band Challenge IG Filter

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!

Rock Band Challenge IG Filter

Do you dare to take on the Rock Band Challenge?

Rock Band Challenge IG Filter

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!

covid 19 on air

We shared how the COVID-19 has affected us on radio | Didn’t went well…

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We shared how the COVID-19 has affected us on air

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.

covid 19 on radio

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 singaporefull 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!

massive guitar lesson on zoom us

Massive Zoom Guitar Lesson! | Fighting the COVID-19 with Guitar!

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Massive Zoom Guitar Lesson

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!

Massive Zoom Guitar Lesson

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

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.

Screen Sharing

ZOOM US screen sharing option

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.

Prepare Slides

Zoom Screen Sharing

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!

Conclusion

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!

Video snippets of our first virtual group lesson!

SYF 2020 cancelled

Singapore Youth Festival 2020 Cancelled | A tribute to our students!

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Singapore Youth Festival 2020 Cancelled

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.

Singapore Youth Festival 2020 Cancellled

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!

 

video call music lessons

Video Conferencing for Music Lessons | Does it actually work?

By | Acoustic Guitar, Classical Piano, Drum, Electric Guitar, Music Articles, News, Piano, Pop Piano, Ukulele | No Comments

Video Conferencing for Music Lessons Experience!

While we are no strangers with conducting our music lessons via video conferencing for our students. some as far as Shanghai. The new measures from the Ministry of Health have effectively forced all our students to have their lessons over video calls! But does this mean the end of the music education industry? Probably not!

video conferencing music lessonsMusic Lessons | The COVID 19 style

Ideally, music lessons should be done in a conducive room with proper instruments and equipment. The acoustics of the room should also be treated properly with professional-grade acoustic treatment walls to remove unwanted reverb and echo. The lighting of the room must be at the right lux level. These are now considered luxuries.

With the current COVID-19 situation, we converted all our music lessons to video conferencing! Though easier said than done, we really wanted the best for our students! Rooms have to be rearranged, workstation setup to match the requirement of video calling and endless troubleshooting. At the end of the day, the smile on our student’s face is what that matters.

With that, we bravely embraced our first day of full-on online lessons today!

video call music lessons

Video-calling problems we faced and how we solve them

We would be lying if we were to say that it went smooth sailing. With all the issues, we had to put all our brains together! Sometimes to the extent of researching through the entire ocean of articles online. So if you are a music teacher, perhaps we might be able to offer some tips!

Audio Troubleshooting

  1. Make sure students always uncheck the “automatically adjust microphone volume” function.
  2. If you are using the laptop’s mic, keep a distance from your device.

Even with the automatic volume adjuster unchecked, a spike in volume will still cause the app to compress the audio hard. As we would have guessed, apps like this are created with speaking in mind. When a loud volume is detected, the app will push it down to prevent the other users from blowing their speakers. We had no issues with Ukulele and Piano but all the trouble with Drumset.

To combat the issue of feeding the drum’s signal in without having a problem, we mic-ed the entire drumset! Signals are sent into a USB audio interface that is then connected to the computer. The microphone source will be the USB device. This allows us to tweak the input volume accordingly. Things will definitely be easier if you have a digital drumset with a USB connection.

Our guitar rooms are also rigged with a USB mixer. As such, we line our electric guitar directly into the mixer with IR technology. We line our acoustic guitar and ukulele into a DI box and speak through a condenser microphone.

Video Troubleshooting

  1. Daylight from windows will help with illuminating the video
  2. Using a decent stand to help with adjusting the camera angle

piano room lightingMost of us hardly use the camera on our laptop, some don’t even know it exists! Some of us live in a dimly lit room and that is bad for video conferencing. So the first requirement is for the student to be able to have decent lighting in their room. While this isn’t an issue with most instruments, this is a common problem with Piano students.

The user back face the room’s light source with the piano to the wall. This results in the shadow of the student to cast on their hands.

Thankfully, solving this is easy! All you need is to place a small table lamp on your piano! This is especially cool on rainy nights when the table lamp is all you turn on to practice your piano with.

 

The camera angle for chatting with your friends or for a business meeting is very different from teaching and learning musical instruments. The laptop-camera was not designed for music lessons in mind. As a teacher, we want to view the students’ playing from a high to low angle. Think of how teachers usually sit next to the student in the room. So the same height and angle are important. As for demonstrating, various instruments require different angles. Piano prefers a top-down angle, guitar prefers a slanted front angle and drum prefers an over the shoulder angle. So the most basic requirement for video music lessons is perhaps a good stand to hold your device. Watch the video posted by Vinnie demonstrating to his students to get a better understanding!

 

Conclusion

Our first day of video conferencing music lessons went fairly smoothly! Classes went on as scheduled without much hiccups. Students were happy and satisfied with the lessons. It gave us the confidence to proceed with more of such lessons! With more fine-tuning, we will be able to provide lessons with even better quality and efficiency!

Normally we ask you to sign for our free trial lesson, we now ask all those who are interested to join us for the music lesson experience of 2020!

piano lesson video call

Sound like Jack Thammarat

How to sound like Jack Thammarat

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Want to sound like Jack Thammarat?

Well, you are in for a treat! In this article, I will share how I managed to sound as close as possible to the amazing Jack Thammarat. Although “Practice, Practice, Practice” is indeed part of the plan, I will share more on how to help you attain that beautiful tone!

Sound like Jack Thammarat

Guitar Amplifier: Laney Ironheart

They say the key to sounding like your favourite artist often lies in the amplifier. Stevie Ray Vaughan to Dumble amplifiers, Slash to Marshall amplifiers and John Mayer to Two Rock PRS amplifiers. If you were unaware of Jack’s love for Laney before, now you know! Jack really makes Laney sound good, or is it the other way around? Unlike other famous artists who are extremely secretive about their amp settings, Jack shows it all to the world. A “feel-free-to-try-my-settings” attitude!

Jack Thammarat they sky was the limit

Effects Pedal: Line 6 HX Stomp

If you are wondering if you should ever venture into the world of digital effects, well, my advice is to give it a shot! Besides, Jack has uploaded his HX Stomp patch on his website FOR FREE! So while the pedal may be slightly cost-sensitive to some, it is actually a gateway to access patches set by your favourite artist!

Download Jack Thammarat HX Stomp Patch HERE

Guitar Pick: Master8 Japan Jack Thammarat Signature

Jack Thammarat Masters Japan Guitar Pick

I shared about Jack’s pick when I was visiting him in Thailand. These picks are very similar to the Dunlop Jazz but it comes with a layer of rubber coating for that fantastic anti-slip capability. The angle of the pick allows for those sweet tones. The thickness of the pick helps to make playing more precise. But if you are still clueless on which pick is suitable for you, read our help article here.

Sound like Jack Thammarat already?

Maybe! But like I said in the first paragraph, it all boils down to practice. This cover I did might be just 5 minutes long on YouTube, but it took me at least 6 months of relentless practicing to get there. I say at least because I am certain I was trying various parts of the song way before I decided to embark on the journey to actually learn the full song. Through lessons with Jack, I also learnt about how he frequently uses the hybrid picking technique to go through fast passages.

I would like to end this article with just 3 words Jack told me on many occasions: “Light but strong“.

 

Pianists and their Beloved Pianos

By | Classical Piano, Music Articles, Music Instruments, Piano, Pop Piano, Videos | No Comments

Glenn Gould and his Steinway CD 318

In this article, we share the story of Glenn Gould and his piano – his search for the perfect piano, the ups and downs, and the tragedy that shook his world.

Glenn Gould’s Steinway Model CD 318, in his apartment in Toronto

When pianists love their pianos to pieces (literally)!

The music scene mourns the loss of a rare, one-of-a-kind piano, owned by Canadian virtuoso Angela Hewitt. The F278 Fazioli grand piano is the only one in the world fitted with four pedals. And has been used for numerous recitals and recordings since 2003.

Then last week, piano movers dropped the piano. The cast-iron frame was broken, amongst other parts of the piano. Alas, it was not salvageable and consigned to “piano heaven”.

There are times when piano movers drop pianos. And there are times when pianos fall off the stage. When the piano in question has practically become an extension of the artist over the years, it is a tragedy and the loss is immeasurable.

The Tragedy That Befell Glenn Gould’s Piano – the Steinway CD 318

Another case in point: back in 1971, movers dropped Glenn Gould’s piano en route from Cleveland, Ohio to Toronto. As a result, the famous Steinway grand, known as CD 318, had its cast-iron plate cracked in four places, soundboard broken, hinges bent and more.

Gould, best known for his interpretations of Bach’s keyboard works, did not outwardly express his devastation. But despite his determined pursuit for the truth behind the damage, his findings were insufficient to pinpoint the blame on any party.

A Pianist’s Search for the Perfect Piano

Before CD 318, the piano genius spent years, trawling continents in search of the perfect piano. His search took him from the Steinway CD 174 (on which the 1955 Goldberg Variations were recorded) to the small Chickering grand piano which Gould based his ideal piano on. Incidentally, the Steinway CD 174 was also damaged beyond repair en route to New York, returning from a concert in Cleveland.

Glenn Gould, known for playing the piano at an unusually low height

The Beloved Steinway Model CD 318 Piano

Then in 1960, Gould was reunited with a certain Steinway concert grand. He first played it in 1946, when he was performing with the Toronto Symphony as a thirteen-year-old! He rediscovered the old piano, tired, rejected, and forgotten, in the backstage of Eaton’s Auditorium.

Gould loved the piano’s extreme responsiveness. In his own words, it had “the most translucent sound of any piano I ever played”. He continued to use it for almost all his recordings. And it traveled with him wherever he performed.

The Broken Piano

After the fateful accident in 1971, Gould spent the next decade fruitlessly attempting to restore it to its former glory. His trusty piano tuner, the gifted, almost-blind Verne Edquist helped him.

Sadly, the piano was never the same again. The cast-iron plate was replaced, and the piano’s action had also lost the feather-light touch that Gould loved it for. He never really gave up on the piano. But in 1981, he reluctantly re-recorded the Goldberg Variations on a Yamaha C9 grand piano.

Tragically, Gould died a year later, having suffered a stroke that caused massive damage to his brain. He was buried in Toronto’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery, with the first few bars of the Goldberg Variations carved into his tombstone. A fitting tribute to a true piano maestro!

Glenn Gould’s tombstone, with the Goldberg Variations inscription

Glenn Gould’s Legendary Piano Lives On

Today, the Steinway CD 318 is on permanent display in Ontario’s National Arts Center. Together with it is the famous pygmy chair that accompanied the piano legend, Glenn Gould, for most of his life.

Invention No. 5 in E-flat Major, BVW 776, as recorded on the CD 318 (1964)

Has this article inspired you? To become a pianist and grow as familiar with your beloved piano as these famous pianists? We can help you start your journey! Just check out our website for more details on piano lessons!

guitar lesson singapore

Guitar Lessons in Singapore (From a Student’s Point-of-view)

By | Acoustic Guitar, Music Articles | No Comments

What is it like to have guitar lessons in Singapore?

Have you ever wondered what guitar lessons are like in Singapore? To be a guitar student in a country where students have a certain pressure to excel academically and stand out from their peers? Read on and learn about what it is like to be a guitar student in Singapore!

guitar lesson singapore

What it is like for me to be a guitar student in Singapore:

Generally, Singaporean parents have a kiasu mindset about their child’s academic achievements.

Due to this, it is difficult to be proud of learning the guitar especially since I don’t have superb grades nor a prestigious leadership title in school.

Having plenty of pressure on academic achievements, from not only my parents but teachers as well, has made guitar-learning even more challenging as more often than not, I feel pressured to finish up assessments as well as to focus on revision rather than practice guitar.

Difficulties with School

For most Singaporean kids, we have CCA, which usually takes place twice a week. Regardless of the CCA, you are in, you will surely be exhausted after CCA, especially since CCA lasts until the evening. If one also considers the many days I have to end school late due to extra lessons and seemingly endless amounts of homework, you’ll end up with a tiring and frustrating combination.

My Routine

To put it simply, I practice on as many days as I can. There are times where I simply cannot find time to do so, especially during mid-year and end-of-year exam periods. But in a normal week, I try my best to practice, though I have to keep my practice sessions to 20-30 mins or find little pockets of time for quick practice.

It’s not much, but if you practice the correct way, then you should not be having much of a problem improving and sharpening your skills by the next guitar lesson.

How do I balance guitar lessons, practices, and school life?

guitar classes singapore

Of course, getting ample practice and doing well academically isn’t impossible, but it’s not that easy to achieve.

For me, I counter my hectic and busy schedule by cutting short my screen time. Sure, it was difficult at first, however, over time it became more of a habit to practice rather than an obligation and hence has made it easier for me to tolerate the decrease in screen time.

At times, I am tempted to play a few more rounds of Call Of Duty or watch a few more videos on BTS. However, I remind myself that if I truly want to improve in guitar, I will have to make a conscious effort to practice, as the result we end up receiving will be the reflection of the amount of effort placed into it.

I also feel that it is important to have a passion for music. Doing something reluctantly or just for the sake of it isn’t beneficial or efficient. You also probably won’t have the motivation to improve on the guitar. Having a genuine liking to playing the guitar will help you immensely through the times when you feel like giving up!

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, sometimes the stress of school life, as well as the frustration from trying to correct one’s technique, can be quite upsetting. It’s something we students cannot avoid, so the best thing we can do is to persevere and push on. Quitters aren’t winners and winners aren’t quitters. Indeed, the guitar isn’t an easy instrument to master, but the very process of learning the guitar truly embodies the meaning of practice makes perfect! As long as we regularly practice and sharpen up our techniques, surely success will come our way!

VIP Guest Blogger: Stella, Guitar Student