Date Listed 30/06/2018
This is the video Ann's mother did of Ann's performance at Esplanade Recital hall. https://youtu.be/6yCkdMG5kc0 ; and of Ann at the National Piano competition 2013: https://youtu.be/O2AfIV_cEmA
My daughter completed her Grade 8 in Piano with Merit at the age of 8 years and 10 months. People have asked me how this is possible, and teacher Sharon have suggested that it would be good to share my experiences with other mummies as a means to encourage them in their journey as well.
Family background & environment:
As I am a full-time piano teacher, there is always music in the house. Since babyhood, Ann will witness and listen to lessons that are on-going at home. As many of these students were a lot older than her, it probably helped her to develop faster by modeling and following their examples.
Ann started formal lessons at aged three plus from Sharon because I wanted her to have the rigour of having to prepare for weekly lessons with a teacher (who's not her mother !) From Sharon, she learnt the finer points of piano technique, musicality and the performance practices of each historical period. At home, I supervised daily practice sessions. It started with fifteen minutes at three, then half an hour daily at aged 4-5 and progressed to at least an hour a day by aged 7-8.
Method & Philosophy:
I view the study of music as an essential part of a child's growth and development. Scientific studies have shown it stimulates the brain in ways that reading and writing cannot. I will organize practice sessions around their school activities and my work schedule. Efficient time-management was important. It has been very tough and tiring for many years now but it has to be done. I believe success can only come with discipline, commitment and sacrifice. These are values I hope my other two children will grow up to possess and music can help develop these values.
I set weekly goals for Ann and while the aim is not perfection, she has to improve and progress at every lesson. Eg: master a difficult technique, learn the next page of music, improve on the speed/ fluency of a piece etc. At times, I do stretch her abilities and no doubt, there have been "stressful" periods when we struggled, but they have served to strengthen not just her piano playing, but I believe also her mind and character. (She holds several leadership positions in her primary school.) We are also grateful that Sharon was thorough, detail and conscientious in her guidance, instruction and firm in her demands , yet very encouraging and positive throughout Ann's learning period.
As part of stretching and challenging their musical abilities, Ann has taken part in the National Piano and Violin competition held at Yong Siew Toh and performed in several students' recitals at the Esplanade. The exposure is always beneficial and the experience invaluable. It helped them to grow quickly in "spurts" and mature as a young pianist and person.