FAQ

What is the course schedule like? When can I start?
For individual lessons, you can start anytime depending on the availability. If you were to start your course in the middle or end of the month, fees will be pro-rated accordingly. Thereafter, fees should be paid monthly at the beginning of the month before the 15th or by term, or a penalty fee of $10 will be charged.
For group classes, please enquire from the school.

Will there be any trial lessons?
Yes. You can arrange for a trial lesson which has to be paid for at least 24 hours in advance. There is no guarantee of a placement after hte trial lesson. The trial lesson fee in non-refundable. It can however be used to offset the month’s fee if the student is accepted and signs up immediately after the trial lesson with the same teacher.

Do I have to get the instrument for the trial lesson?
No. You can use the school’s instrument for the trial lesson at no extra cost.

What is the youngest age to start music courses in your school?
We conduct violin, piano and cello classes for 3.5years old onwards. Students are grouped according to age and maturity.

How do I know if my child has the talent to do music?
Every newborn baby comes into the world with potential abilities far exceeding those of any other creature on earth. Dr. Suzuki said, “All children skillfully unrtured reach a high educational level but such nurturing must start from the day of birth.”

Do students go through examinations?
Students will be sent for examinations only when it is beneficial for them, at the teacher’s discretion. A suitable age to start taking examinations is at age 6. It is not necessary to take every year and every grade.

What are the qualification of your teachers?
Our teachers are mostly graduates with a degree or a diploma in music. Moreover, all our teachers have undergone a stringent audition and interview for their performing abilities, teaching skills and interactive personality.

Can a child learn 2 or more instruments at the same time?
Yes. Many of our students study 2 instruments concurrently. However, the number of instruments a student should learn should depend on his interests, schedule, available practice times and parental support.

Waht should I do if I want to terminate the course?
You would have to give the school 4 weeks advanced WRITTEN notice. You can send it by fax, mail,e-mail or fill up a termination form at the school.

Do I need to pay for the school holidays and public holidays?
Yes. You will have 45 lessons in a year no matter which day your lesson fall on. Therefore, fees are to be paid monthly(by the 15th) regardless of holidays.

Are there any replacement classes for lessons missed by students?
No. However, if a lesson is missed by the teacher, there will be a make up lesson or a relief teacher will be arranged.

What if I have to go on a holiday or work overseas and miss lessons as a result?
In the event of absence from lessons, you are advised to terminate you course by giving 4 weeks written notice to the school. If not, you will be required to pay for all current or outstanding fees.

I don’t know how long my child’s interest will be sustained so I don’t wish to invest in an instrument yet.
What’s the cheapest instrument I can get?

It is crcial to have an instrument right from the start as the progress of the student depends entirely on practice. It is also important to invest in an acceptable quality instrument right from the start as it helps to encourge the student’s practice and therefore help sustain the child’s interest. Parents’ involvement and enthusiasm towards their child’s music education is another factor that greatly affects the sustenance of the child’s interest.

 

Resources

Looking After Your Cello

A Student’s Guide to Cello Care

Unpacking & Packing Your ‘Cello From A Soft Case
•Always take the bow out of the case first
•Always put the bow in the case last

Storing Your Cello
•Put the spike in when you have finished playing
•Leave the cello on its side in the corner of a room for short periods only
•pack it away in its case for anything over a few minutes
•Keep your cello away from heat (radiators, gas or electric fires etc.)
•Keep your cello out of the cold
•Never leave your cello in a hot or cold car for a long period of time (eg. overnight)

Cleaning Your Cello
•Do not use polish or detergents
•Simply wipe with a duster
Looking After Your Bow
•Do not over-tighten the hair
•Do not touch the hair
•Remember to resin the bow before you start to play
•Do slacken off the hair when you have finished playing

Accidents Or Breakages
•DO NOT attempt DIY repairs, no matter how simple or how skilled the repairer
•Please take the instrument to your teacher for inspection

Looking After Your Violin

A Student’s Guide to Violin Care

Unpacking & Packing Your Violin From A Hard Case
•Always take the bow out of the case first
•Always put the bow in the case last

Storing Your Violin
•Leave the violin on the table of a room for short periods only
•pack it away in its case for anything over a few minutes
•Keep your violin away from heat (radiators, gas or electric fires etc.)
•Keep your violin out of the cold
•Never leave your violin in a hot or cold car for a long period of time (eg. overnight)

Cleaning Your Violin
•Do not use polish or detergents
•Simply wipe with a duster

Looking After Your Bow
•Do not over-tighten the hair
•Do not touch the hair
•Remember to resin the bow before you start to play
•Do slacken off the hair when you have finished playing

Accidents Or Breakages
•DO NOT attempt DIY repairs, no matter how simple or how skilled the repairer
•Please take the instrument to your teacher for inspection

Preparing for performance

Performances can be formal – such as those that take place at a public concert – or informal, such as when playing with friends, and can also be live or recorded.

A performance will always have an audience – however large or small.

What factors should we consider when preparing for performance?
There are many things to consider when preparing for performance in order to enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Repertoire
One must choose repertoire carefully so that is not beyond the capabilities of the player to perform.

Listening and watching
I would always recommend listening to as much repertoire as possible – and not only the piece you are going to play, but other works by the same composer and also other composers within the same period. This allows for a greater absorption of the style of that period and the subtleties of soloists, taking particular note of their phrasing, articulation, tone and vibrato.
Watching a live performance has immense benefits too as it is possible to observe the performance nuances as a whole, both aurally and visually.

Research
It is always worth spending time researching if a particular piece has different editions and considering them together to compare and contrast their differences.
In addition to this, reading related material on the composer and the period in general helps to enhance our historical perspective and understanding of historical conventions.

Practice – the key to success
Deliberate and well-planned practice that incorporates specific and achievable goals will ultimately lead to sustainable improvements. In order to perform well one must always be as fully prepared as possible, having practised to ensure that all technical difficulties are overcome and stamina can be maintained.
When practising we must give special consideration to the following:
• Articulation – this describes how we attack and release notes and how much emphasis one puts on specific notes to enhance the flavour of the music.
• Tempo – in determining the tempo of a given piece we may already have a good idea from the recordings we have listened to as well as the composer’s indications. However, when these are not available further investigation may be necessary to determine the correct tempos.
• Dynamics – marked dynamics are often an average volume so we may permit ourselves minor shifts within a phrase to provide a suitable structural shape and interpretive quality.
• Phrasing – this is the grouping of notes into meaningful units. Careful consideration must always be given to articulation, accentuation, dynamic levels, tone and rhythm when shaping phrases.
• Rhythm – much of the character of a piece is down to rhythmic diversity. Simply playing every note ‘straight’ may well result in an uninspiring performance.
• Performance practice – much of how music is interpreted was, and still is, left unwritten. It is, however, not difficult these days to source information regarding stylistic conventions and authentic practices in order to remain as faithful as possible to the stylistic requirements of the composer and period.
• Playing from memory – the majority of professional soloists perform from memory and it is an issue of personal preference whether or not to choose this method for one’s self. Playing from memory can allow the performer to be free from the constraints of reading the notes on a page. For some performers this can lead to a more expressive and ‘musical’ performance.

Performance anxiety
Performance anxiety is something most musicians face to one degree or another.
It can be described as a perceived or real fear of a threatening or stressful situation leading to the impairment of performance. This can have a significant impact upon the performance of an instrumentalist. In coping with performance anxiety the goal one should pursue is not necessarily of complete relaxation, but to maintain sufficient mental and physical control in order to enjoy playing the music.

Limiting performance anxiety
I would suggest the following as a few simple ideas in limiting performance anxiety without the need for extensive cognitive or drug therapy:
• Prepare as fully as possible – don’t leave anything to chance or until the last minute
• Good quality practice is fundamental
• Make time to warm up properly before a performance
• Use deep breathing exercises to aid relaxation just prior to a performance
• If you become particularly nervous before the performance try not to resist it too much as this may cause greater tension and increased nervousness
• Do not dwell on mistakes for too long afterwards – reflect on them for only a short period and then move on

The way in which you prepare for a performance is absolutely vital if the outcome is to be a successful one. Whether it is for an ABRSM exam or a concert performance, the quality of your preparation is ultimately the key to your success. However, preparation is only part of the equation. Remember, your actual performance begins immediately upon entering the exam room or the concert platform and does not end until you leave it.