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pop piano Archives - Vinnie Classroom

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

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!

may the 4th be with you

May the 4th be with you in 2019

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Star Wars fans out there will need no reminder that May 4th is Star Wars Day!
Remember too, Yoda’s famous quote:
Do. Or do not. There is no Try (From The Empire Strikes Back).
Commit yourself to something completely, win or lose.
May the Force be with You!


Vinnie’s guitar heroes at the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation Guitar Ensemble.

When Practice makes almost Perfect

A big pat on the back for our student,
Nigel Oh who was awarded a distinction
for his Grade 1 Acoustic Guitar exam,conducted by the London College of Music.
Nigel started learning the instrument a
little more than a year ago. Nigel’s teacher
Mr Tan Swee Siang said, “It’s a
pleasure to teach Nigel. He’s a keen learner and
always

interested. I’m seeing talent in him
and I’m proud of his achievement!”

Nigel said, “I feel this sense of accomplishment
and satisfaction for my first exam! I am
determined and looking forward to
master more from my mentor!”
Well done, Nigel!



The fact that Avengers: Endgame was 3 hours long and no one so much as complained says something about this epic superhero movie. We pay tribute to the Avengers theme song which carries so much power and heart. Vinnie Classroom salutes this iconic finale with an acoustic fingerstyle arrangement, so enjoy!


YouTube Drumming Sensation in Singapore
German drummer Anika Nilles built up a name for herself with 17 million views of her videos. Anika’s playing style is distinguished by her strong groove, her finesse in technique, and her unique sound! Born into a family of drummers, she started drumming herself at age six. Anika is conducting a Masterclass on 18 May at 6.30pm, B1 Star Plaza at the Star Vista. The event is open to the public. We will be there to watch this drum maestro live in action, so join us if you can!


Upcoming events

14 -16 May Vinnie School Holidays

15 May – 12 June Registration open for ANZCA Exams Series 2
(Speak with your piano teacher if you think you’re ready)

1 May – 25 Sept Registration open for Rockschool Exams Tour C.
(If you want to register let your guitar/drums teacher know)

29 June VCR 4 (watch this space for more details)

10 – 12 June Rockschool Tour B Exams

16 – 18 June Asian Supreme Drum Competition Qualifying Round



Music Facts You Didn’t Know
Listening to music while working out can improve performance.
It’s true! Music provides an ideal accompaniment when you exercise. Not only does music divert the mind from sensations of fatigue, loud, upbeat music can also
“psych you up”. Musical tempo helps synchronize movements which leads you to perform more efficiently and trains endurance! So next time you work out, choose a
playlist that will make you feel good. And also lets you burn more calories at the same time! 
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!