Why do we recommend Ukulele lessons for the young and the young-at-heart? That’s because the ukulele is arguably the easiest instrument to pick up! Some of us have had a chance to play the ukulele. Some have even strummed it randomly without any attempt at making it musical. After all, it does look like a miniature toy guitar!
In truth, the ukulele is really a fun little instrument! And very friendly on the fingers with its nice soft nylon strings. Plus it’s light and easy to carry around! And there’s no pressure on you to do anything fancy or complicated on it. In fact, when you show off what you can actually do on the ukulele, you will surprise and impress many with this unassuming yet awesome instrument!
Custom-tailored Ukulele Lessons
We can get you started quickly with song-based, custom-tailored lessons designed specifically for ukulele. Learn how to coordinate rhythm and melody as you sing along to the chords you’re playing. In addition to a variety of techniques, you will learn to read notes and chords which will allow you to play and sing along to fingerstyle, single-line melodies.
There are actually a lot of skills that transfer easily from the guitar so if you’ve been playing the six-string guitar for a while, you’ll probably find the four-stringed ukulele pretty easy! Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we will teaching it! We have also conducted workshops for corporate organisations and schools. From traditional Hawaii music to modern and beautiful fingerstyle arrangements, the ukulele offers a wide range of music to suit everyone!
Alex Kalino Hooi, Singapore’s Guitar Prodigy did an interview with us!
At just 16 years of age and already the Young Guitarist Of The Year 2018 Finalist, Alex Kalino Hooi, Singapore’s Guitar Prodigy did an interview with us! To date, no one else has come close to Alex’s achievement. As he is only 16 years old, we were curious to find out more about his plans and future projects! Alex very kindly came to our music school in Singapore for an in-depth and exclusive interview!
Young Guitarist Of The Year Experience
Perhaps the one question that everyone has is why and how did Alex Kalino Hooi prepare himself in the final round of the Young Guitarist Of The Year competition! Or maybe what techniques he used to hone himself into becoming Singapore’s Guitar Prodigy. Turns out, it wasn’t about planning, strategies or even thinking of ideas to outdo his competitors! Here in Singapore, we have been ‘trained’ by our kia-su mentality to think that is what we need to be doing if we ever want to win a competition. However, the real reason why people are winning competitions comes from deeper within than just unadulterated competitiveness or rivalry. Alex shared how he had a great time during the competition period and how he became close friends with Abgail Zachko and Hunter Hallberg instead of seeing them purely as his competitors.
Alex Kalino Hooi, the cat person!
If you’re thinking Alex looks like a dog lover, sorry to burst your bubble – because in our interview Alex shared that he’s definitely a cat person! Here at Vinnie Classroom, we are very cat-oriented too! If you don’t already know why, it’s because we have 2 cats Mao Mao and Meow Meow! They are our PR managers and have been doing a good job so far with their daily duties of entertaining our students and parents diligently! Cats are awesome!
Our Interview with Singapore’s Guitar Prodigy, Alex Kalino Hooi
Full, in-depth and exclusive!
Let’s cut the blog short and let Alex share all the juicy information in our video! Do remember to watch until the end for the cool outro. Also, do subscribe to our Youtube channel to help us create more of such awesome content!
Our student Kryan performing his fingerstyle guitar song during our recital.
What is Fingerstyle Guitar?
Most of us were either really young or not even born when Chet Atkins took the world stage by storm. Unlike the superstars of today, there was no loud music or flashy colored lighting on stage. Instead, it was a small tv set-up with a small audience, some musicians and Chet right there in the middle. When Chet played his guitar, it felt like there were many more than those musicians on stage playing along with him. The secret was in Chet’s fingers. Even if those other musicians were removed, the music would still sound as full and as big! This was because Chet basically covered the Bass Guitar, Rhythm Guitar and Lead Guitar parts all at once! Occasionally, he would even cover the percussion section! This was the birth of fingerstyle guitar!
Fingerstyle Guitar’s unique techniques
The technique involves using each of the right (or left) hand fingers independently in order to play the multiple parts of a musical arrangement that would normally be played by several band members. Because bass, melody, and percussion can all be played simultaneously, fingerstyle tends to sound a little piano-like. It is the perfect style of music for playing without any other musicians. Fingerstyle guitar is one of the few musical techniques that’s actually fun to learn because it is so flowing and calming but at the same time so agressive and powerful. What’s more, the fingerpicking just seems to bring the best sound out of the acoustic guitar as an instrument.
Top 10 Fingerstyle Guitarist (Our list)
While this list is definitely not complete, we are certain that it is enough to give you a headstart to knowing more about this wonderful world of fingerstyle guitar! Share this list to your friends and soon we will see The Day Finger Pickers Took Over The World
While most fingerstyle music seems to have a layer of dust over them, modern guitarists have been churning out arrangements of modern music. Andrew Foy, as mentioned in our Top 10 Fingerstyle Guitarist list above, is notably the most hardworking in arranging modern pop songs into fingerstyle! Mike Dawes, another up and coming fingerstyle guitarist has a very unique method of merging percussive sound, harmonics and unusual harmonies, giving a modern and unique feel to fingerstyle guitar.
Of course, our very own Vinnie had a go recently in rearranging the Avengers’s theme song into a fingerstyle arrangement. There is no limit to what fingerstyle arrangements can be! They are destined to take over the world!
How to learn fingerstyle guitar?
Music arranged for fingerstyle playing can include chords, arpeggios, melodies with elements such as hammering on and pulling off with the fretting hand, using the body of the guitar percussively, and many other techniques.
There are a number of fingerstyle techniques. For beginners, fingerstyle guitar may feel a little strange and challenging since you’re plucking the strings directly with your digits. Thumbpicks are often seen on fingerstyle guitarist because of the need to emphasize the bass tone. Thumbpicks aren’t absolutely necessary for you to play this way. In fact, you have also to make sure you can keep the finger picking pattern down and consistent.
For more on fingerstyle guitar, check out our guitar lessons or sign up for a free Trial Lesson. Give it a shot, you’re going to have a ton of fun! But if you are not convinced that a young kid will be able to learn equally well, then let 11-year old Dave show you how it is done!
Looking for music lessons in Singapore? Read on and find out more in this 3rd and final installment in our series.
Should you choose a ‘music school near me’ ?
It is tempting to opt for convenience when it comes to taking music lessons. However, this may not be the wisest choice to make. A good music school must have an environment that is conducive to learning. Choose a music school with dedicated studios that are well-maintained and equipped with quality instruments. Some schools may also hold recitals which go a step further by allowing students to integrate performing and all its benefits as part of their learning experience.
Should you sign into a music school for children only?
Your child actually benefits if he learns at a music school that is open to both adults/teenagers and children. They grow by getting to experience and interact with peers and older students who are at different levels. What’s more, there is the benefit of being exposed to a variety of musical instruments. With only 30 minutes to one hour of lesson time per week, a music school environment produces better results as the focus at that time is on learning music.
Look out for credible partnerships
Aside from certification, a school that works with multiple other organisations makes it more trustworthy as it has achieved a level of success at an organisational level. When a music academy partners with other schools, it shows that it has proven itself as an academy that is able to provide an all-rounded music education.
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Do the owners of the school know about music? Have they taught or performed professionally? Do they have the credentials required to appropriately address the needs of students? It is important that the school you choose has the right values to nurture and develop that passion for music.
Not all students fit the same mould. A fixed curriculum or program may restrict learning and exploration of a student’s potential. Check if the school has one-on-one sessions that can be tailored to the student’s musical background and interests. The school should also use recognised teaching materials and exam syllabi or have developed their own syllabus that is student-centered and adaptable to individual needs.
If you are looking for music lessons in Singapore, two names that pop up are Yamaha and Cristofori because they have centres dotted all around Singapore. They are well-known mostly for group music lessons that cater to younger children with the option for one-to-one lessons as they progress through the years.
We feel that personalised lessons tend to provide better attention to detail for each individual student. Therefore, it is important that the group is not so big that the teacher cannot focus on each student properly. In our humble opinion, music schools that offer one-to-one sessions are preferable. This is especially so for beginners who need to develop and train good techniques and habits.
The most crucial step you must take before signing up with a school is to audition the music teacher. This means you must know if the music teacher you or your child is taking lessons from is qualified. And we don’t mean just paper qualifications. When a music school has many branches, the quality of their music teachers could suffer. It’s important to check if music teachers are hired based not only on their certifications but also their years of experience and their attitude towards teaching.
Some music schools offer a Free Trial Lesson for all new sign-ups. Aside from being able to audition the teacher, you will also experience a lesson first-hand and have a clearer picture of how lessons are conducted.
Is it important to attend one of the Top 10 Music Schools in Singapore?
A top-listed music school may not necessarily improve your musical ability nor ensure you’ll learn any faster than a smaller, more dedicated music school. Every student is unique and has a different learning rate. In the same way, music schools are also varied and offer different advantages.
The list of top 10 schools you see is likely an inaccurate representation of the music school demographics in Singapore. There are many music schools in Singapore and it is unlikely that the selected top 10 schools on that internet list are compiled with a proper point scoring system or an objective assessment of each and every school. This creates a biased and skewed image of the music school scene. What’s more, the list you see might also be dated.
Just remember that big doesn’t necessarily mean best. Smaller music schools may be able to cater to your needs more personally and follow-up on your music education more efficiently.
What’s Music Education like in Singapore?
With the proliferation of music schools in Singapore, what should you look out for when signing up for music classes? Obviously, the teacher is very important. He or she needs to be qualified and experienced. It also helps if he/she can establish a good rapport with students. Aside from this, look for a school with a different approach from the others.
Some schools offer an approach that is performance-oriented. This means that while striving for good academic results is important, these schools place great value on gaining experience as performers. Students will learn more beyond the exam curriculum and understand the tough requirements needed to put up a good show. This ultimately trains and improves students who will grow as artists and overcome performance-related anxiety. You’ll see that attention to these small details plays a big part in ensuring a good music education.
Movie Poster for Weathering With You (Tenki No Ko)
Why does the Weathering with You theme song sound so emotional?
You were most likely affected by the overall story line and how cleverly the song was used in various parts of the movie. The recurring theme was presented in a few different ways throughout the movie. Along with some cinematic pauses and silences, tears were probably rolling down your cheeks.
When it comes to music, we can’t just put in any piece of music and assume it will have the same effect. This post helps us a little in understanding a tiny bit of music theory. Just enough for you to know this effect better.
Descending Bass Line.
The use of the descending bass line has been around forever! With some exceptions, music written with descending bass lines tends to be emotional and sound depressing. By descending bass line, we’re not talking about going down the chromatic scale. No, we are mean going down the diatonic scale and harmonizing along the way. In the case of 愛にできることはまだあるかい (Is there something I can still do for love), the song started with D to A/C# (A first inversion) to Bm to A.
The descending bass line has been a powerful tool in the music industry all over the world. Below are some examples of songs that use the descending bass line.
安靜, the classic song from Jay Chou. Jay Chou, from the Chinese Pop scene, is not just the king of Mando-pop but also the king of descending bass lines. Most of his songs are rather sad and depressing, a good match for most people who adore his music. It helps people reconnect with their lowest periods and allows them to embrace the sadness. If you pay attention to how the Mandarin music industry has been for the last 30 years, nothing has changed. Also, the descending bass line is also present in his latest【說好不哭 Won’t Cry】! However, this song is way more complicated than those he wrote in the past. I will explain more on his latest song in another post! Stayed tuned.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps is more than an iconic song and a very good example of the descending bass line. The verse contains the perfect example of how the descending bass line should sound. Again, it is a rather depressing song.. until it goes from minor at the verse section to major in the chorus section!
Stairway To Heaven ! The most widely banned song in all guitar stores around the world. Yes that song is actually very good lesson material for all guitar students because of the descending bass line and the wonderful chord harmony and progression! My guess is, the song became popular and teachers started teaching their students. Then those students started teaching their friends and so on. The chain effect went crazy and suddenly everyone was playing it in the guitar stores… Now that’s a different kind of depressing music!
If the Descending bass line is sad, will Ascending be happy?
Absolutely right! This is the magic of music! Again, with exceptions, music written with the ascending bass line tends to be more positive and happy! It is like walking towards a bright future!
Heal The World – Michael Jackson. If you have never heard of this song Greta Thunberg will probably say “Shame on you”. This song has so much positivity and good vibes, it needs to go viral again.
Live High – Jason Mraz. Again, a good example of how the ascending bass line creates a rather positive and happy song! Jason Mraz is the king of good vibes and we can trust him to create songs that lift your spirits! Any time, any day!
スパークル ( Sparkle ) – Radwimp. How about that? In the last movie that they worked with Makoto Shinkai, they did the theme song in ascending chord progression for a rather sad ending movie and this time round in the reverse! Hats off to Radwimp, both of these 2 theme songs gave me the goosebumps!
If Weathering With You inspired you, it’s time you got creative!
Now you know the trade secret of song writing, take out your instruments and start creating a song of your own! Positive or Negative, Happy or Sad, it is your call! If you actually do write something after reading this article, please let me know! I would love to hear how my article helped someone to go on and create something amazing! If you need more inspiration or help, take up lessons! Or catch the movie 天気の子(Tenki No Ko, Weathering with you) before it is off the cinema!
Exclusive Interview: Jack Thammarat with Vinnie Classroom 2019
As much as I think that perhaps it was just a dream, I actually did an exclusive interview with Jack Thammarat IN HIS STUDIO in Chiang Mai! He shared more information than I was hoping for. In fact we went in-depth into his past: how he first started playing the guitar, how he realized his love for it and how Jack Thammarat eventually became Jack Thammarat! Ladies and gentlemen, may I present, the Jack Thammarat Interview 2019!
Jack Thammarat started on the guitar at 12 years old!
We’ve all heard how various guitar maestros developed their love for guitar at a young age, well, Jack was no exception. He started playing the guitar at the age of 5 under the influence and guidance of his father. This seems to be a familiar story with all our favourite guitar heroes. While it may be a little too late for many to get really serious about the guitar dream, it is not too late if you are going to become your child or nephew/niece’s best guitar teacher! But of course we highly recommend you send them to a music school for a more well-planned learning experience.
Guitar Idol 2009 changed his life forever.
Without a doubt, many know Jack Thammarat from the iconic guitar competition back in 2009. The stage was filled with amazingly talented guitarists from all over the planet and nobody expected the winner to be someone from Thailand (although to be fair, most of our guitar heroes back at 2009 were primarily from the U.S.A.) Jack took to the stage with precision playing and his powerful stage presence. Watching the video footage of the competition today is still as jaw-dropping as ever!
Jack shares how his life experiences and his good attitude helped him to eventually win the competition. This is definitely helpful if you are planning to live your life as big as him!
His experience while touring with Wang Lee Hom.
Jack Thammarat now spends much of his time as a touring guitarist with Chinese Pop superstar Wang Lee Hom. Together, the team tours all of Asia and seemingly endless rounds in China. To date they have done around 200 shows and over a period of 2 years! That is a really insane figure if you realize that every show has an audience of at least 10,000! Jack shares his story on how he tackles these mega shows.
Jack Thammarat soloing during a Wang Leehom concert in China
Jack Thammarat, 10 years from now!
Because we all know Jack Thammarat as a guitarist and a guitar idol, therefore it is most natural for us to hope that he will resume writing his amazing songs. Well, HE IS! Jack shares how he plans to release more of his original compositions in the near future. What’s more, with all the experience he has accumulated from his years of guitar playing performances, Jack performing as a solo artist is only coming back stronger and crazier!
The Asian guitar hero!
As much as I hate to say this, there aren’t many notable guitar heroes from Asia. So Jack is iconic as he has journeyed on the road to achieving his dreams. We all know Jack did not get this overnight. It was after years of hard work and dedication. No sidetracking or losing focus. 10 hours of daily guitar practice and endless number of shows, Jack is definitely an Olympian in the guitar industry. Jack, if you are reading this, thank you for inspiring all of us! You are the perfect role model we all can’t thank enough!
Help Vinnie score more of such interviews!
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Guitar master Paul Gilbert here for Asian Tour 2019!
Paul Gilbert live in Singapore 2019! Paul Gilbert is one of the reasons Vinnie Classroom exists today in Singapore. Since emerging on the scene with RACER X, so many lives around the world have been transformed by his mad skills – his amazing speed and accuracy, along with beautiful melodious phrasing. But to the general public in Singapore, this name is probably not so well-known. So just who is Paul Gilbert?
Paul Gilbert Biography
From platinum album sales and number one chart success as a founding member of MR. BIG, to frightening the guitar community with new levels of ferocious picking technique with shred-pioneers RACER X, to exploring punk, pop, classical, blues, jazz, and progressive instrumental styles in his solo career, Paul Gilbert has recorded a massive amount of stunning guitar music, all while circling the globe to play sold-out arenas from Japan to Jakarta.
Paul’s style stands out for it’s rare combination of accuracy, creativity, and power – all which are balanced with Paul’s sense of humor and pure love of music.
Although Paul is best known for his work with MR. BIG and RACER X, he has also toured with Joe Satriani’s G3, played in a host of tribute concerts with legendary drummer Mike Portnoy, and been integral in the design of his signature Ibanez PGM and Fireman guitars.
Paul Gilbert posing with his wall of guitar cabinet back in Racer X days.
Paul Gilbert’s Legacy
Paul’s legacy as a guitar instructor began when he was eighteen, when he was hired to teach at Hollywood’s Guitar Institute of Technology. Paul’s groundbreaking “Intense Rock” videos and DVDs have inspired legions of guitarists to improve their accuracy, speed, and phrasing. Years as a columnist for Guitar Player magazine, and most recently, Premier Guitar magazine, along with giving countless clinics, private lessons, and serving for five years as the dean of MI Japan, have given Paul deep experience in the art of communicating music to all levels of guitarists.
Over twenty-five years in the music business have only increased Paul’s passion to explore the possibilities of music and the art of playing the guitar. Whether he’s playing to 10,000 fans or jamming one-on-one with a student, Paul is living his childhood dream of taking the sounds in his head and bringing them into reality – on the electric guitar.
Musicians from the golden era of rock music are now granted greater mobility to travel the world. Thanks to Inokii, this is the first time we can experience Paul Gilbert live in Singapore 2019 as a solo artist! This means less talking and singing, and more wonderful showcase of his guitar mastery! As the the venue Substation is not a particularly big space, it means you get to be up close and personal with Paul even if you are the last person to enter the hall! Missing this show will be a huge loss for any guitarist or aspiring musician!
Paul Gilbert performing as a solo artist for the first time in Singapore!
Asher Fulero (keyboardist), Timmer Blakely (bassist) and Bill Ray (drummer) will be part of Paul’s band line up!
More guitar shredding, less singing!
Small venue means a ridiculously close-up view of Paul on the guitar.
Missing out on this show is not advisable.
Where to get the tickets?
Tickets are available from BookMyShow.com. Early bird tickets are all sold out, but if you are a student of Vinnie Classroom, you get a special discount from us! Speak to our admin today! This is because I truly believe I have the duty to get as many people as possible to see my hero first-hand. Besides, what’s do you have to lose?!
Also, the number of VIP tickets are selling out fast! With so many freebies that come with the VIP ticket, you must get it!
VIP Meet & Greet Package Includes:
Concert ticket x 1
Item to be autographed x 1
Individual photo with Paul Gilbert x1
VIP lanyard x 1
VIP tag card x1
Priority entry queue x1
Asia Tour T-shirt (S/M/L/XL/XXL) x1
Behold Electric Guitar CD album x1
Paul Gilbert Live In Singapore 2019 Promo Video
Good morning #PaulGilbert fan. Pls like and share this beautifully crafted video by our team #hea Paul Gilbert – Live In Singapore 2019 Behold Electric Guitar🇸🇬🎸Only a handful of VIP tix left.Details at event page. Date of m&g is 1 day before the show 9 December 2019 (timing to be confirmed) tentatively evening.
So you’ve decided to take up music lessons. Now you need to decide which music instrument you want to master. These include piano, keyboard, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele or drums, just to name a few. After that, there are many avenues for learning music in Singapore. The proliferation of music schools just means that your choice becomes more difficult because too many options can sometimes lead to confusion! There are also many different music genres and styles: classical music, traditional folk, pop, rock, country, jazz, and blues. The list goes on. Most schools offer classical music training but some focus on more contemporary Pop and Rock music. Whatever you choose, remember to learn at your own pace, at your own convenience and timing to get the most out of the experience.
Should lessons be exam-based?
Singapore is all about qualifications. However, should music lessons revolve around prepping students for exams only? While this may be the case for some music schools, there are others that cater to a more well-rounded student. Afterall, there is certainly more to learning music than exams. Some schools organise ensembles or recitals where students learn how to perform in front of a ‘live’ audience. They also get to experience working as part of a band. Another possible avenue of creativity is having students learn how to perform in recordings for Youtube videos that will be eventually uploaded onto the internet. All these add variety and a different learning experience for students!
Music Lessons for MEP or DSA
The Music Elective Programme (MEP) is offered by the Ministry of Education to provide students with an aptitude for music to pursue a deeper study in music listening and music making. Music lessons at a good music school can boost and equip young musicians with musical knowledge to support performance and any other musical endeavours they may embark on even after leaving school. Students aiming to qualify under the Direct Schools Admission (DSA) programme can also bolster their music repertoire. This is especially so if they are exposed live performances offered at some music schools, apart from the usual examination-based syllabus.
Whatever your reasons for pursuing a music education, rest assured that there are good schools out there who can partner you in your search for quality and provide many opportunities to improve your playing standards. Look out for Part 2 of our post on Music Schools in Singapore. Coming to you soon!
If my video hasn’t sung enough praises about my guitar lessons with Jack Thammarat, let me emphasize yet again! It was such a rewarding trip. I am very thankful this took place! I guess the lesson was not so much about how to pick faster or how to play crazier. It was about how to discover and rediscover myself. It is only when I discover more about my own routine, habits and attitude then I can move forward. However, you probably need not start with someone like Jack to correct your playing. If you are keen in improving your guitar playing, sign up for a trial lesson with us!
My first-hand experience!
If you have not read my detailed blog post about this experience, just clink on this link to read more about it. Sometimes, it is easier to write my experience down. But if you’d rather watch, then this video above should be for you!
Interview with Jack Thammarat
If you are waiting for the interview video I did with Jack Thammarat, subscribe to my youtube channel and set the notification bell on. I will be premiering it on 24th September 1am Singapore Time, or 23rd September 1pm GMT -4.
My Current Goal
Jack Thammarat’s YouTube Silver Play Button
I know most people don’t regard this as anything special or significant. YouTube creators have repeatedly shared that having a huge subscriber base does not equate to more views per video too! However I feel that should I cross the 100,000 subscribers mark, I will be able to get my work out to a greater group of audience. Furthermore, if they subscribed to me it’s because they like my content! So if you have not subscribed to my YouTube channel and you agree with my hardwork in creating all this content, please consider subscribing.