Why do we recommend Ukulele lessons for the young and the young-at-heart? That’s because the ukulele is arguably the easiest instrument to pick up! Some of us have had a chance to play the ukulele. Some have even strummed it randomly without any attempt at making it musical. After all, it does look like a miniature toy guitar!
In truth, the ukulele is really a fun little instrument! And very friendly on the fingers with its nice soft nylon strings. Plus it’s light and easy to carry around! And there’s no pressure on you to do anything fancy or complicated on it. In fact, when you show off what you can actually do on the ukulele, you will surprise and impress many with this unassuming yet awesome instrument!
Custom-tailored Ukulele Lessons
We can get you started quickly with song-based, custom-tailored lessons designed specifically for ukulele. Learn how to coordinate rhythm and melody as you sing along to the chords you’re playing. In addition to a variety of techniques, you will learn to read notes and chords which will allow you to play and sing along to fingerstyle, single-line melodies.
There are actually a lot of skills that transfer easily from the guitar so if you’ve been playing the six-string guitar for a while, you’ll probably find the four-stringed ukulele pretty easy! Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we will teaching it! We have also conducted workshops for corporate organisations and schools. From traditional Hawaii music to modern and beautiful fingerstyle arrangements, the ukulele offers a wide range of music to suit everyone!
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.
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!
In Chinese culture, music is an expression of the perfect harmony between the Earth, human beings, and the heavens above. Many ancient Chinese scholars composed music and poetry to praise the moon’s celestial power and its beauty. The Mid-Autumn Festival began in the early Tang Dynasty (618–907). It is now almost as important as Chinese New Year as one of the top traditional Chinese festivals.
The Mid-autumn Festival is associated with the moon and “moon appreciation” (shangyue) parties. This is partly because the moon is at its brightest during this time. This Festival is also known as the Reunion Festival. Not surprisingly, mooncakes, shaped round like the full moon, signify reunion. Origin stories of the festival can be found here.
Called Mid-autumn because it falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, the Festival is on 13 September this year. As you celebrate it, remember the connection between music and the moon – whose eternal nature inspired Chinese artistic tradition.
People always recall this song “The Moon Represents My Heart” during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Given the significance of the moon in Chinese culture, it expresses a love that is unchanging, like the moon. You too can learn how to play this piece on an acoustic guitar or the piano!
Have you always thought the ukulele was for children? Watch the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain play Lady Gaga's Born This Way, live At Sydney Opera House. Ukeleles whether small or large, can play intricate melodies, simple tunes, or complex chords and surprise you with the sound. You'll never look at ukes in the same way after this!
The ukulele is a fun instrument. Some may call the ukulele a toy but it really isn’t a toy at all. It’s a true instrument that you can do wonderful things with. Are you inspired to learn to play the ukulele? You will need to practice to master it, but even when you only know the basics it is already so much fun!
For the record, Hawaiian’s say “oo-koo-leh-leh.” So, since the ukulele originated in Hawaii, it makes sense that they get first dibs on how to say it.
If you pronounce ‘ukulele as “you-ka-lay-lee” that's no surprise as this is the most widely used pronunciation outside of Hawaii. Call it what you will but appreciate this four-stringed instrument for what it is and remember its roots!
The first pineapple ukulele was created by Kamaka, a Hawaiian maker of ukuleles. The idea behind the design was to produce a small ukulele with a fuller and warmer sound. Most pineapple ukuleles have a somewhat flat bottom to them.
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!
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
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!
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!
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
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!
VCR2 was held at the iconic Substation, Singapore's first independent contemporary arts centre. A fitting venue for our recital because our students' performances were a diverse range of styles and instruments, allowing them to show what they have learned and how they have improved.