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pop piano Archives - Vinnie Classroom

Exciting modern music just for you!

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Discover exciting modern music right here!

Classical music may not be everyone’s cup of tea! We live in a time where we have access to so many different types of music. The genres are ever-expanding. So finding an alternative to classical is a breeze! In fact, there’s an exciting modern music syllabus available to help stimulate your creative juices! 

exciting musicWelcome to the ANZCA Modern Pianoforte Syllabus! It is available throughout Australia, New Zealand and South-east Asia. This is a great alternative to conventional classical piano lessons! Not least because it covers a wide array of genres which include jazz, blues, pop and rock, ragtime and more.

Watch these videos of our ANZCA students! We’re so proud of their efforts!

 

ANZCA is well-known for it’s ever evolving, innovative and flexible system that focuses on versatility in music education. The syllabus lists are carefully compiled. And of course pays great attention to setting interesting and musical pieces. This is especially so at the junior levels. Kids nowadays naturally like the music that they hear around them, on Spotify, on the TV, and on-line. As it’s the music of their culture, what they enjoy with friends, it can be fun to learn to play these popular songs. This is just the beginning and they will eventually develop a taste for a variety of music! All in all,  it is a well-rounded music education that encompasses the sounds of the present and the past too!

So what are you waiting for? Find out more about the ANZCA syllabus and visit our website or contact us today!

Pianists and their Beloved Pianos

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Glenn Gould and his Steinway CD 318

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

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

When pianists love their pianos to pieces (literally)!

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Pianist’s Search for the Perfect Piano

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

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

The Beloved Steinway Model CD 318 Piano

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

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

The Broken Piano

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

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

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

Glenn Gould’s tombstone, with the Goldberg Variations inscription

Glenn Gould’s Legendary Piano Lives On

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

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

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

Spotlight : Encore for our piano students (Part 2)

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The KEY to piano playing!

Our last post received good reviews so we’re posting an encore for our piano students! The key to playing any musical instrument is to enjoy the process. There is a great deal of joy that comes from what may seem like hitting random keys on the keyboard. But you’re actually making music that sounds good and having fun too!

These video clips feature students – Kashvi, Nathan and James. All are taking the Australian Encore! on Keys syllabus,  Whatever your age group, music will always be at your fingertips! Look out for our next post for more videos of our students!

What’s Encore! On Keys? It is an award-winning programme from Australia with a progressive curriculum that incorporates multiple learning layers. Music theory is also taught. And what’s more, no musical background is required!

Spotlight: Our piano students doing Encore on Keys

There are 3 different Beginner courses (depending on age) and 1 Advancing course. These are suitable for a variety of age groups and learning styles. The course involves playing with a backing track for every song to simulate ensemble playing.

The genre of songs comprises a broad range of modern music styles that include rock, baroque, classical, jazz, blues and reggae. Find out more from our website or sign up for our free* trial lesson!

We hope you’ll enjoy the video clips!

 

Spotlight : Encore for our piano students (Part 1)

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Let’s hear from our piano students!

We’re turning the spotlight on our piano students so let’s hear an encore for them! Applaud them as they play their practised pieces before the camera. Aside from the fun we had filming them, they also feel satisfied their hard work counts for something! Our video clips feature students – Kye Hsin and Yao Li. They are of different ages but are taking the Encore! on Keys syllabus. Whatever your age group, music will always be at your fingertips! Look out for our next post for more Encore videos of our students!

 

What’s Encore! On Keys? It is an award-winning programme from Australia with a progressive curriculum that incorporates multiple learning layers. Music theory is also taught. And what’s more, no musical background is required!

Spotlight: Our piano students doing Encore on Keys

There are 3 different Beginner courses (depending on age) and 1 Advancing course. These are suitable for a variety of age groups and learning styles. The course involves playing with a backing track for every song to simulate ensemble playing.

The genre of songs comprises a broad range of modern music styles that include rock, baroque, classical, jazz, blues and reggae. Find out more from our website or sign up for our free* trial lesson!

We hope you’ll enjoy the video clips!

TO PUSH OR NOT TO PUSH?

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Do we push our children or not, to learn a musical instrument? Even if you didn’t know before, you will – after reading this – value the cognitive benefits learning an instrument can give children. And help them later on as adults too. Based on our experience at Vinnie Classroom, we firmly believe that having a healthy passion, like a musical instrument, can also help keep kids on the straight and narrow.

To force or not to force?

We’ve never heard an adult say “I’m so glad my parents let me quit piano lessons.” Instead, nearly every adult that was once taking piano lessons says: “I wish my parents made me keep up with piano lessons and not give up so early.”

Based on studies (read below), it can only be beneficial to direct our children to take lessons of some instrument. Possibly even one of their choosing. And can’t we also tell our kids – much like we do with studying – that they must practice an instrument? And do this without bringing out the Tiger-parent in us?

Help your child get curious about music so that he or she can develop a desire to engage with music. Let your child play around with different instruments. Listen to music, attend concerts and sing together. Your child will naturally want to imitate you. So a big motivation for children to practice is seeing their parents getting involved with music themselves.

Sometimes lack of enthusiasm may be a signal that it’s time to switch instruments. This also means you may need to be flexible. While it may be expensive to allow a child to start and stop several different activities, try to work with your child to find one he or she enjoys and is motivated to practice.

Evidence-Based Benefits of Learning an Instrument (And Learning It Early)

It increases brain matter

A Harvard neurologist in a 2003 study found that adult professional musicians have a higher level of gray matter volume in the motor, auditory, and visual-spatial regions of their brain than non-musicians. A later study showed that positive structural brain changes take place in young children – average age of 6.3 years – after only 15 months of musical training.

It helps stave off the effect of aging on the brain

A 2011 study demonstrated that having learned an instrument can slow the aging process on your brain. In the study, researchers divided 70 older adults – ages 60 to 83 – into three groups. Those who had studied an instrument for more than ten years, those who had played for one to nine years, and those who had never learned an instrument.

Each group was then given a battery of neuropsychological tests. The group that had played an instrument for the longest scored the highest. In these areas: nonverbal memory recall, visuomotor speed and sequencing, and cognitive flexibility.

The same researcher in a 2012 study confirmed the findings of the previous study. It also suggested that learning an instrument before the age of nine and studying that instrument for at least ten years results in the greatest benefits. Those who met these criteria in the study outperformed non-musicians. In these areas: verbal working memory, verbal memory, verbal fluency, visuospatial, and planning functions.

So, let your child learn an instrument, especially early in life, and stick with it. You won’t regret it because this has positive, long-lasting effects on your child’s brain!

Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore? (Part 2)

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Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore?

Our Views on Yamaha and Cristofori Music Schools

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.

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!

 

 

Anzca Piano Syllabus Q&A Session 2019

ANZCA Syllabus (Piano) Q&A (17 October 2019)

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ANZCA Syllabus (Piano)

Question and Answer Session (17 October 2019)

ANZCA syllabus piano examination Singapore

Anzca Piano QnA Session 2017.

 

2017 was an exciting year for us, as we formally adopted the ANZCA syllabus as our main offering for piano students. This brought us more in line with our teaching aim, which is to provide an all-inclusive music education that grooms students to be versatile musicians who are able to put their skills to practical use in various settings.

In July that year, ANZCA’s international representative, Ms Audrey Chin, visited our music school to give our teachers an introductory talk to enable us to maximize the contents and requirements of the ANZCA syllabus.

 

ANZCA Syllabus Piano Audrey Chin

Audrey demonstrating the songs from the syllabus effortlessly

Teachers, students and parents has been praising the syllabus for its varied repertoire and flexible choices! Especially for those moving away from a more traditional approach to learning the piano.

Vinnie Classroom is no stranger to ANZCA Piano Syllabus

ANZCA PIano Examiner Maureen Grieve

ANZCA Piano Examiner Maureen Grieve when she was here to conduct the piano examination in 2018.


ANZCA Piano Examiner MISA YAMAMOTO

ANZCA Examiner Misa Yamamoto was here in Vinnie Classroom to conduct the piano examination 2019.

Vinnie Classroom had the honor to conduct 2 rounds of ANZCA Piano Examination back in 2018 and 2019. We had received positive feedback about our location and facilities. Because we understand how it can be stressful to perform at a new venue, therefore we provide our candidates with a warm-up room. As a result, private piano examiners were very delighted! They now have a couple more minutes to prepare their students before entering the examination room. Certainly a bonus for everyone participating.

ANZCA Piano in Singapore

This year, we are very happy to receive Audrey once more. Vinnie Classroom will be hosting a Q&A session as a step-up, for fellow teachers of the ANZCA community in Singapore. The event will take place on 17 October 2019, from 9.30am to 12.00pm, and it is free.

Seats are limited to 20, so do visit our Facebook event page to RSVP quickly.

Tips for learning piano as an adult

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Do you think learning to play piano as an adult is mission impossible? Have you ever watched someone playing the piano and wished you had the same ability? There’s no reason why an adult can’t start to learn to play the piano. Sure, you may have responsibilities and a full schedule, or maybe you feel you don’t have the right skills needed, like having a good ear, or a good sense of rhythm. Fortunately, these can be overcome because playing the piano requires no special talents.

Many of the skills you feel you may be lacking in can be acquired. Even learning how to read sheet music can be quickly achieved with the help of a good teacher. If learning the piano is on your bucket list, keep the following in mind.

Patience is a Virtue

Learning the piano can be a rather slow, sometimes frustrating process. Just remember that day in and day out persistence is how people can learn and master an instrument. Be patient with yourself and understand the process of learning to play.

Prioritise and Practice

Consistent practice and a commitment to learning and sticking with it will help you improve. Try to set aside a regular practice session every day. Remember that “you get out of it what you put into it” ! Set an alarm on your phone so that piano practice doesn’t get overlooked or ignored.

Learn from a Good Teacher

The best way to learn and progress on the piano is to work with a teacher. Not every piano teacher is experienced with adult students, so do your research and find a teacher that is a good match for you. A teacher will be able to keep you on track as you learn new skills, answer questions, and provide feedback on your playing.

Focus on Yourself

Everyone has different abilities and skills when it comes to learning the piano. So it’s best not to add stress to yourself by comparing with others. Stay focused on how you are improving and the fulfillment you are receiving. The truth is that everyone works hard to learn the piano, even accomplished pianists need to devote long hours to practicing and improving.

Relish the Non-Musical Benefits

You’ll find that many other aspects of your life will improve when you start learning the piano. Some non-musical benefits of playing the piano:
- Keeps your mind sharp
- Relaxes you
- Allows you to express yourself and be creative
- Creates discipline and structure in your life
- Gives you a social connection to other pianists and musicians
- Is fun and can lift your mood

Enjoy It!

Learning the piano as an adult is a very worthwhile and attainable goal. Don’t let it become a source of stress or frustration, instead just enjoy the process and have fun making music and learning a new skill!

VCR4

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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!

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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!