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Drum

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!
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

Vinnie Classroom 2019

Vinnie Classroom X Guitar Emerge @ Esplanade

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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
Bill Ray Drum

Bill Ray Interview 2019

By | Drum, Music Articles, News, Vinnie's Youtube World | One Comment

Bill Ray Interview 2019

Bill Ray Drum

Bill Ray, Paul Gilbert’s trusted time machine!

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

Bill Ray, a man of wise words.

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

Bill Ray Drummer

Music is a conversation, not a competition.

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

There is no level, it’s all circle.

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

Paul Gilbert Behold Electric Guitar

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

Learn to read music! Standard notation!

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

Vinnie

Get your tickets to Paul Gilbert Singapore 2019

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

Paul Gilbert Behold Electric Guitar Asia Tour Singapore 2019

Article: Paul Gilbert Live in Singapore 2019

Paul Gilbert Ibanez PGM Mikro

Article: Our Honest Review of Ibanez PGM Mikro

Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore? (Part 3)

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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.

 

Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore? (Part 1)

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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!

 

 

VCR4

By | Acoustic Guitar, Drum, Electric Guitar, Events, Pop Piano, Ukulele | One Comment
VCR4

A Solid 'One-Night Only' Performance!

VCR4, held on 29 June 2019, comprised lively pop hits from different genres.

Our playlist was an eclectic mix of familiar favourites like Bohemian Rhapsody, Perfect and Rosanna to Chinese, Japanese and K-pop tracks and even a jazzed-up version of Chopsticks and an original teacher-composed Cabbage song!

Click on the link to see more photos of our students lighting up the stage!

See More Photos
Anyone Can Do It

We were simply born to make music

Are you feeling inspired? Do you want the experience of playing in a real band in front of a live audience?

Just sign up at Vinnie Classroom and you can be part of a band and join in the fun at our next recital!
2020 promises to be a year of great musical expectations!

how to create a prodigy

How to cultivate a child prodigy!

By | Acoustic Guitar, Classical Piano, Drum, Electric Guitar, Music Articles, Music Instruments, Pop Piano, Ukulele | One Comment

Is your child a Mozart in the making? How does one identify a child prodigy? At some point in parenthood, we all wish that our kid will one day become a child prodigy. But what is a prodigy? Is it possible to cultivate a child prodigy or does it take certain prerequisites? In this article, we discuss how to discover the prodigy in your child and how you can help your child become one.

Step 1: Start early!

LIKE FROM 9 MONTHS OLD!

Recent research show that the golden window for music education starts as early as 9 months old and can significantly enhance a child’s neural response to both speech and music. While music lessons for babies are readily available, bringing an infant for music lessons may seem like a far-fetched idea to some. So here are some ways you can provide your child with music education from the comforts of your own home:

Play soothing and easy-to-listen to music to your child regularly. While listening to the music,

  • Tap to the beat on their hand (or buttocks if you wish).
  • Gently move their arms and sway to the rhythm.
  • Do the good ol’ peek-a-boo but in sync with the beat.
  • Dance rhythmically in their view as a form of entertainment for them.
  • Hold their hands and assist them in playing simple rhythms on any percussion.
  • Let them watch you play a music instrument.
  • Sing the pitch C when you teach the alphabet C.

The ideas are endless! Simply run a search on Google and see them flood in!


Step 2: Create a musical environment at home!

Studies have shown that children who learn music from young age also show signs of excellence in other aspects of their development. Playing music is like doing a workout for your brain. As we play music, our brain forms signal paths in our nerve system to perform the complex task of playing a piece of music.

Let us illustrate this remarkable process with a step-by-step example:

*Ryan plays the C major scale with 4 correct notes and 4 wrong notes* 
Ryan's brain records 8 notes played  
*Teacher points the wrong notes out to Ryan* 
Ryan's brain updates and replaces the wrong note 
*Ryan attempts playing the C major scale again but with 2 wrong notes. Teacher corrects Ryan.* 
Ryan's brain updates and replaces the wrong note  
*Ryan attempts playing the C major scale once more, and this time he played every note correctly* 
*Teacher notes that Ryan has now corrected his neural connections and encourages Ryan to continue practicing to strengthen neural plasticity*
This is an ideal situation where the student learns quickly under a teacher's guidance, usually possible with children who have been exposed to music from as early as 9 months old (as described at Stage 1 of our article). What has happened seems straightforward – the student is able to play correctly soon after the teacher points out the mistakes. However, the underlying process is more complicated than that; it involves the child's cognitive ability to read the music score, converting that information into fine motor skills, receiving feedback from the various sensories (eg. sight, sound and touch) before forming a neural path and then into the memory storage. There are multi-level neural processes that happen simultaneously even though the student only has to play one note at a time, and they take place at various speeds, depending on the child’s brain development (remember the golden window for music education?). Some children are able to acquire new skills after just one lesson while others may some take months. However, it is almost certain that as long as the brain gets its required amount of training, the neural paths will always be able to form to achieve the desired outcome.

 

In early childhood education, play is crucial. Unstructured play, especially, enhances the child’s brain development and nurtures their creativity when they form their own play rules and come up with solutions to problems.

In early childhood stages, children spend most of their time at home when not in school. By creating a musical environment at home, parents set the stage for creative learning with games like guessing the note, drawing a picture based on what a song makes them feel, pretending to be a rockstar at home, call-and-echo games and creating a dance to a song. The ideas are endless, but it must be noted that it is important parents set aside some time to engage their children.

If parents are equipped with basic music knowledge and are able to engage their children in musical activities right at home, it could be a very rewarding bonding experience that is efficient at the same time. Imagine saving thousands of dollars a year on music education!

This is testing the limits of Dylan’s ears. Dylan has been exposed, from 5 months prenatal,
to the same high information music education system now available in the baby brain training app found at nuryl.com
Vinnie Classroom Recital 3

VCR3

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VCR3

Music of the Eras

Our students and teachers put up a fantastic 16-band performance during our 3rd annual recital!

Held at the Gateway Theatre Black Box, VCR3 tracked the different music genres through a timeline that started from the 1940s all the way through to the 21st century! Educational as well as inspirational!

Thank you to all our students and parents... for all the kind words of encouragement, and for giving us the opportunity to showcase what the teachers and students of Vinnie Classroom can achieve together!