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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

tommy emmanuel finger injury

Musicians’ nightmare, finger injury!

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Musicians share a common nightmare – finger injury!

Musicians around the world dread the nightmare of suffering from finger injury! This scary thought was made scarier recently when the god of the Acoustic Guitar Tommy Emmanuel posted a horrifying photo of his finger!

Posted by Tommy Emmanuel on Friday, 24 January 2020

Tommy Emmanuel, suffering from a terrible finger injury!

Unless you have been living under the rock, you would have read that our dearest guitar hero Tommy Emmanuel recently suffered a terrifying finger injury. It took us 5 days to compose ourselves enough to pen this article, reassured by the thought that Tommy is receiving proper care and recovering well.

“My playing life flashed before me this morning as I had a stupid fall and ended up on my back, with my finger dislocated sideways!” 

His finger was dislocated off the ring finger’s proximal interphalangeal joint and was left dangling sideways. The only way to fix this was to pull the dislocated finger outwards and relocate it back in place with a swift and decisive action. If the patient cannot endure the pain in the course of correcting the finger, local anesthesia is necessary. Gulp! Afterwards, the finger will swell and pain will follow because of damage done to the tissues.

Is this the end of Guitar playing for Tommy?

Tommy Emmanuel FB comment

Thankfully, our boom-chicking superhero shows no signs of slowing down! With his show dates packed to the brim for Scotland and England till early February and dates around the world till early June, we can only hope his fingers get adequate rest to prevent complications. Singapore has enjoyed his marvelous performances since 2010 but hardly enough to whet our appetites! So Tommy, if you are reading this, please get well soon and visit us again!

What are common types of finger injuries?

Unless you remain perfectly still every single moment of your life, your fingers are always at risk of getting injured! Here are some activities that are more prone to cause finger injuries. Should you refrain from these activities? Maybe, then again maybe not.

  • Rock Climbing – Requires immense gripping strength and often climbers suffer from inflammation of finger joints.
  • Basketball – Or any ball activities that use your hand. Basketballers frequently suffer from finger jam when the ball crashes into their fingers instead of their palm.
  • Volleyball – Commonly causes fractures because the fingers suffer a great amount of impact during the game.
  • Boxing – Fingers are placed under a high level of impact during a punch when done wrongly or without the correct gear. In this case, not only the opponent is feeling the pain.

Of course, the list can go on. What if you are not an active person, does that mean you are safe from finger injury? Well no… Tommy Emmanuel injured his in a fall. Jimmy Fallon suffered a different kind of finger injury, ring avulsion, also due to falling down. His ring caught his countertop when he was falling, in the process pulling his finger off. In most cases, the remedy for this kind of injury is to amputate that finger.

“Don’t Google it but ring avulsion is a real thing. So basically what it is is my ring got caught on the countertop as I was going down. And stuck there and pulled my finger off… … this happens a lot and the odds… usually they’re just cut your finger off.”

Can playing an instrument wrongly injure the finger?

YES! There are many bad habits out there that cause long-term finger injuries. Most of them are silent killers. It means you are likely to be suffering from it by the time you read about your bad habits in this article!

weird fingers

We call them weird fingers in our teaching slide because we want students to be constantly reminding their friends and themselves that these fingers are weird on the guitar. Once students cultivate the habit of always curling fretting fingers, they will get a good tone and protect their fingers in the process.

Conclusion

In conclusion, musicians are at constant risk of losing their careers to finger injury, unless you are a singer. While there may be many amazing musicians out there with various types of body ‘deformities’, we certainly encourage everyone to take good care of themselves. This way, we can all enjoy playing an instrument for many years to come!

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.