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Acoustic Guitar

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

Tommy Emmanuel Baritone Guitar

Tommy Emmanuel Timberland | New Song on a Baritone Guitar!

By | Acoustic Guitar, News | No Comments

Tommy Emmanuel: Timberland | Beautifully Baritone

Tommy Emmanuel just released a new song titled Timberland and it is not played on his trusty Maton! Took us by surprise because we are all so familiar with Tommy on his Maton EBG808TE! Instead, we see a new guitar in the video. The guitar in question is the Karol Baritone Guitar. The stunning and beautiful gloss finish was the first tell-tale sign that it wasn’t a Maton. Then came the low and haunting notes that a regular acoustic could not produce with such tightness in its tone.

Tommy Emmanuel Karol Baritone Guitar

What is a Baritone Guitar?

A regular acoustic guitar has a scale length of around 24.9 to 25.4 inches. A baritone acoustic guitar has a scale length of 27 to 30.5 inches! 

The extended scale length does not mean you get more frets to play, instead, it provides a very different feel in string tension. If you have a 3/4-sized guitar, you will probably find it easier to bend a string than a full-sized guitar. This is because a shorter scale allows the strings to tune up to pitch easier. Thus you can imagine the effect of string tension on the baritone guitar. Then again, that is provided you tune a baritone to standard tuning. I can only imagine the possibility of breaking the strings or the guitar in the process. Then again, the Niibori Alto guitar is tuned a fifth up from standard (B E A D F# B). The crucial thing to note here is the right match of strings gauge.

Baritone guitars are typically tuned to A D G C E A (fifth lower) or B E A D F♯ B (fourth lower). They are usually fitted with .011 or .012 strings. The tension on these guitars is usually really tight and stiff. Not really ideal for string bending. As for this song, Tommy has it tuned to a fourth lower. 

Tommy Emmanuel Baritone Guitar

Does this mean there is no way of learning this song if you don’t have a Baritone Guitar?

Absolutely not! The song is written in standard tuning, just a fourth lower. This means you can still play the same song but at a higher pitch. Probably won’t bring the flavor and the intended meaning out nicely. Nonetheless, you will still be able to play it. Tommy has another song, Questions, mostly performed with a guitar tuned 1 whole step down. However, occasionally that same song will be performed in standard tuning. Was the essence of the song lost in the tuning? Weel, many of our students who learned this tune enjoys playing it on standard tuning!

Is Tommy Emmanuel new to the Baritone Guitar?

Our quick search on the mighty-web shows that Tommy was first introduced to the baritone back in 2009. The process of him falling in love with the baritone was all captured in a video. Then again, being the guitar man, he must have had experience with this unique version of the acoustic guitar before. It also took him a really long time before he finds the need to bring in a baritone to express himself. So no, Tommy is not new to the baritone guitar.

Tommy Emmanuel: Timberland

The video we have all been waiting for. Get ready for the emotional ride!

If you are inspired and want to learn the guitar, we are offering our *Free Trial Lesson! 

guitar lesson singapore

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

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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

guitar size for children

Guitar Sizes for Children

By | Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Music Instruments, Ukulele | No Comments

Children’s Guitar: How to Choose the Right Size?

While there are violins as small as 1/16, guitar sizes for children seem to be rather limited. Why is that so? And how can you buy a guitar that is the correct size for your child?

guitar size for children

Amazing Children on Full Size Guitars

Before jumping to the conclusion that guitars should naturally follow the size of the child, we should keep in mind the possibility of using full size guitars. The internet is full of videos of young children performing technical guitar wizardry with pin-point precision on the full size guitars. Below are some examples!

Li-sa-X

Li-sa-X is a rather well-known name today in the guitar industry. When she first uploaded her videos, everyone was shocked. Debates raged over whether such children are actually considered musicians or if they are purely memorizing what they are supposed to do. What’s more, the most talk centred on how she is able to play difficult songs on a full size guitar despite her small build. In case you are wondering, this 7-year old is playing a diploma-level piece of music written by Paul Gilbert.

Yo Yo

Yngwie Malmsteen’s Far Beyond the Sun and John Petrucci’s Musicman guitar. These are not things commonly associated with a 9-year old girl. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Yo Yo is from China, where Western music influence is not just limited but restricted. A typical 9-years old girl from China would have no clue as to who Yngwie Malmsteen or John Petrucci are, and probably also struggle to pronounce the names! Yet here she is, shredding through a song that most accomplished guitarists would have difficulty with! Yes, and she is using a full size guitar!

Famous Video of North Korean Children Playing Guitar

This play-list would not be complete without this video. While many consider this “freaky”, we can only say that the North Koreans have managed to unlock the potential in young children. How they are able to train these tiny children to play these very technical pieces on full size classical guitars is beyond most of us! Now, if you are unaware, the classical guitar has a wider fretboard than the electric or acoustic guitar. This means those tiny fingers would need to stretch even further! Surely defying the ideal “guitar sizes for children”. Without the means of electrical amplification and with only a dynamic microphone in front of them, these children would need to play really forcefully to get the volume you hear in this video! Perhaps it is time to buy their guitar instructionals!

But is it wrong if I want to get a small guitar?

No, not at all! There are those who feel a smaller size guitar will help develop their techniques better. Feng E started off with the ukulele and has been uploading more guitar videos lately. The other camp’s ideology is to track the progress of the child’s ability with the right sized instrument. The ukulele happens to be an easy string instrument to begin on and it has definitely helped Feng E to be really good with his fingers. This little boy has been on big-time TV programs and has shared the stage with giants such as Tommy Emmanuel!

Must I start with the Ukulele then?

No. Sungha Jung, with over 6 million subscribers on YouTube, posted this first video 13 years ago. He went the opposite way as compared to Feng E, venturing into the ukulele at a later stage. The point here is, there is no one confirmed way to help bring the best out of your child.

Conclusion

We suggest all young children start with the ukulele before proceeding to the guitar. This way, if the child fails to develop an interest in the string business, the monetary loss will not be as heavy. If the child does move on to the guitar, buy a guitar based on his ability instead of his size. While there are good sounding 3/4 guitars out there, most are not comparable to the full size version. If you have more questions, you may leave a comment below or check out your local guitar shop! Guitar sizes for children is afterall, a highly debatable topic.

 

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
guitar pick wallpaper

How to choose a guitar pick (Beginner)

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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

fingerstyle guitar singapore

Fingerstyle Guitar

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Fingerstyle Guitar, more than a guitar!

fingerstyle guitar singapore

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

Modern Fingerstyle Guitar Arrangements

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? (Part 3)

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

Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore?

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.

VCR 3 Final shot          electric guitar lesson singapore

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.

May the fourth be with you! #guitar #guitarensemble #singapore #vinnieclassroom #upperthomson #acoustic #acousticguitar #starwars #imperialmarch #starwarsmaintheme #nlps #eatsleepguitar #sgguitar #sgmusic #sgmusiclesson #maytheforcebewithyou #maythefourthbewithyou #maytheforkbewithyou #maythefoxbewithyou #maythefrostingbewithyou #maythefrothbewithyou #maythefrogbewithyou #maythefoodbewithyou #maythefunkbewithyou

Posted by Vinnie Classroom on Wednesday, 4 May 2016

What should you look out for before signing up?

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.

 

tenki no ko

“Weathering With You” Theme Song, why so emotional?

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“Weathering With You” Theme Song: an analysis!

Weathering With You , 天気の子

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.

天気の子

天気の子 Theme Song chord progression

Examples of Iconic Descending Bass Line

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!

Vinnie.

Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore? (Part 1)

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

Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore?

Many music schools

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!