December!!

 
Parents, students, and even friends have asked me why I don’t update my blog.
 
Has it really been that long?
 
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It wasn’t that long ago when I was asked to be a faculty member of a private music school in Singapore. (What? It’s been a year!) Working hours were not that bad actually, but students one after another, in a tiny claustrophobic studio room– let’s just say it didn’t do my mental or physical health any good. Or maybe I have been too spoilt by the spaciousness of my own home studio…..
 

Undeniably, I have had the opportunity to work with really talented kids with extremely supportive parents: I will always remember each and everyone of you.
 

Student D , who started out from scratch with me and practised holding the violin everyday for 45mins, and by the 2nd lesson, no problem with violin holding. Respect.
 

Student S and (several others) who would cry when faced with the prospect of note reading and learning a new song– only to realise that after working on it for a little bit more, it got alot easier, and not as daunting or scary as the monster hiding under the bed..
 

Student S who asked me “Ms Meah, do you mean to say my fingers are fat?!” (P.S: the word I used was “meaty”, as space negotiation between fingers was in order).
 

So many other students who would throw tantrums, cry, get frustrated during lesson, but at the end of it, still hug me and say thank you for the new things they have learnt.
 

Supportive parents who reinforced teaching points, who would play the good cop, or the bad cop, if need be, in order for the child to progress.
 

I wish you all well and all the best in your endeavours! Keep the music going. :)
 

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I’m glad it’s December. It allows me a month to “recuperate”, teaching a couple of students a week (kids these days are so lucky– they get to go on overseas school trips, exchanges, family vacations etc.), arranging trial lessons/ having short assessments for potential students: before it’s full steam ahead for the new year.
 
It finally gives me time to .. urm. update my blog, ahem, and reply my emails. Yes, today I finally bit the bullet and replied all my emails. *does a celebratory jig*
 
I have quite alot of people who wrote in the wrong email address in the comment box , so the email bounced back. So if you have not received a reply from me, please email me again. And please do keep the emails coming. I will try to get back to you within a day or two.
 

*fingers crossed*
 

On Sparks in/and Music

 

In my years of teaching, I have come across many students who fit into these categories:

 

(A) Student who expresses interest to take violin lessons

(B) Student who is made to take violin lessons

 

Generally, a type A student progresses at a much faster rate compared to a type B student.

 

Occasionally, a type A student would evolve into a type B student when he/she realises that homework is also given for violin lessons. That is a most crucial period for parents, who have to make the decision whether to let the child get his/her way in order to avoid homework!

 

 

For both Type A and Type B students, the first initial “spark” happens when they realise that they sound alot better on the violin after a violin lesson with me. In many instances, type B students will turn into type A students, and of course, that makes everyone happier in the course of learning! The difficulty is in maintaining the practice required to retain what they have learnt in the lesson and to further improve from there.

 

Both Type A and Type B students would improve drastically only when they realise their potential and are willing to work to better themselves,  for the sole purpose of self-improvement, and not for the next computer game.

 

But this is not something that happens overnight.

 

For one of my students, it required sterling results in her ABRSM exam to propel her to practise on her own without “parental reminders”. She has since garnered a morbid fascination with etudes in order to “improve on violin technique and play more challenging and fun pieces”.

 

While we await that “spark”, here’s an interesting article I came across online for the geeks in all of us.

 

In summary:

“Music training, with its pervasive effects on the nervous system’s ability to process sight and sound, may be more important for enhancing verbal communication skills than learning phonics, according to a new study. Musicians use all of their senses to practice and perform a musical piece. They watch other musicians, read lips, and feel, hear and perform music, thus, engaging multi-sensory skills. As it turns out, the brain’s alteration from the multi-sensory process of music training enhances the same communication skills needed for speaking and reading, the study concludes.”

 

Till the next post!

In the meantime, please keep the messages coming in. Would love to hear from you ! :)