Friends of Yamaha (2017)
Yamaha Music School has been in Singapore since the 1960s. Through the decades, our dedicated team of instructors strived to nurture the musicality of our students and instill the joy of creating and sharing music so that they develop a lifelong love for music. Some of our students and even parents are here to share with us their experience of the Yamaha Music Education System (YMES).
Molly Ko started music lessons at Kallang Leisure Park with the goal of learning to play ‘Amazing Grace’ on piano. This is possible with Music Club Course where students choose the song they want to learn from a modest selection of 14 piano pieces.
Now into her 7th month of music lessons, Molly shares with us:
I thank God for the opportunity to learn my favorite hymn at Yamaha Music School in the Music Club Course. Besides learning this piece, I am now able to read music notes, play chords, finger exercises and scales. My stiff finger joints have become more flexible! And, I even attempted the RockSchool Popular Music Theory Exam Debut Grade!
Learning in a group class is stimulating and enjoyable. There is good rapport with other students, some who are half my age, and strong support from a cheerful and patient teacher.
I look forward to every lesson and the time spent is very fulfilling and seems to pass really quickly.
It is such a joy and a gift to play the keyboard, even at age 76. My love for music has been rekindled and I will continue learning at Yamaha.
I recommend young and old, to take up music lessons, for they are not only good for the soul, exercise for the brains, but also effective against stiffness in the fingers.
In the picture are 3 ‘Friends of Yamaha’ who are students at Yamaha Music School, Clementi Branch. Brandon (in green t-shirt), younger brother Kynan, and cousin Tracey in the middle.
Mum Mrs Irawan, has this to share:
My 2 boys have been ‘Friends of Yamaha’ since they were 4 years old as they were students of Yamaha Junior Course. My elder boy has since graduated from Junior Special Advance Course (JSAC), where he had good experience and exposure in composing his own music. He was also given an opportunity to perform at the Junior Original Concert (JOC) to showcase his composition. Besides composition, Brandon is able to ‘play by ear’ after listening to a song. With all these musical experiences in Yamaha, he has recently applied for ‘O’ level music coursework in school.
As for Kynan who is currently in level 2 of Junior Ensemble Course, he has been learning with Ms. Amy Sim since he was 4 years old. In his own words, Kynan has expressed that Yamaha has instilled in him the ‘joy of learning music’.
Having had these positive experiences in Yamaha, the boys recommended their cousin Tracey, to join Yamaha as well. Tracey is now in the Advance Ensemble Course, also taught by Ms. Amy Sim. Tracey likes the Yamaha program because it has taught her different aspects about music. Friendships with her course mates have been great too.
As a parent, I really like the various components of the Yamaha syllabus. Besides playing of repertoire, the children learn Keyboard Harmony, Improvisation and Ensemble playing. These make the students music education comprehensive and they are ‘all-rounder’.
Ms. Sim is a very dedicated teacher and very passionate about teaching. Both Kynan and Tracey look forward to attending Yamaha classes every weekend.
Mrs Wong’s 2 children are learning music at Yamaha Music School, Clementi Branch. She shares the following with us:
My children, Yi Xuan and Yi Kai, now age 7 and 9, have been with Yamaha for 4 years. Through the 4 years, I have seen them grow from knowing nothing about music to appreciating music as music is.
The Yamaha Junior Course encompasses the entire requirements of knowing music such as note reading, rhythm counting, dynamics in musical expressions, playing techniques, listening skills, and even composing techniques. On completion of the 4 year program, my children are able to play back a simple tune after hearing it and also add accompaniment to the tune. This is simply amazing for children so young.
The videos that come with the course are useful in adding extra meaning to the music learnt. My children are able to dance and sing to the music played.
During the lessons, they get to play the ensemble pieces together and listen to how each part of the piece is able to harmonize into a piece of beautiful music. These are the songs they looked forward to in each lesson.
Yamaha has indeed provided a solid foundation to my children in their journey in learning music. With these skills, they will be able to understand, appreciate and explore music.
Yi Xuan is now doing Junior Extension Course book 4 – 4th year of YJC and Yi Kai is now doing Junior Ensemble Course level 2.
Lorrine Ng has been enjoying music lessons on the electone at Yamaha Music School for more than 20 years. When she was very young, Lorrine took formal music lessons and she is glad to continue this learning journey as she loves music. She says, “Music is now an important part of my life, like a daily meal with vitamin M – for MUSIC.” Lorrine is diligent with her music practices as she believes an active brain can prevent dementia. With a good and patient teacher, every lesson is time well spent with teacher Maria.
Twelve-year-old Chow Wern is from the Advanced Ensemble Course at YMS Tampines. His mother, Mrs. Chow has this to share:
Chow Wern started his musical journey in Yamaha's Music Wonderland where he learned to appreciate and make music with his friends. He enjoyed it very much and has continued with Yamaha's group courses since. He is now in the second year of the Advanced Ensemble Course.
Learning and playing music in a group makes it livelier and more interesting. Chow Wern and his course mates are able to learn from each other and being in a group also motivates him to practice more. As he said, "I like the Yamaha group courses. I love learning and playing music in a group. Not only that, I get to bond with my course mates and be long time buddies."
I also like that the group courses exposed him to ensemble playing. He enjoys it that each person has a different part to play and all have to listen to each other's parts and come together to play a good piece. He likes ensemble playing very much that it inspired him to join Chinese Orchestra in school and learn a new instrument, Sheng.
The courses also exposed him to create and write his own music. This has encouraged him to explore musical ideas and write his own compositions. With the help of his teacher in improving his compositions, he is fortunate to have his works selected to perform in the school Yamaha Junior Original Concert twice. Performing in this Concert also gave him a chance to see the other students' compositions and inspired him to try to create more pieces.
In his words, Chow Wern feels that "the courses have benefited me as I have learned the basics of music and now I'm learning the more advanced side of it. The courses have helped developed my musical aptitude and abilities. I'm truly lucky to learn and love music in an encouraging and happy environment."
His younger sister, Chow Huey has also started her musical experience with Yamaha. She is now in the 3rd year of the Yamaha Junior Course and enjoys her lessons tremendously.
I am glad that both of them are enjoying their music lessons and hope that it's a skill that they will learn and keep, and make music a part of their lives.
Nine-year-old Matthew Yap is a first year student of Junior Ensemble Course (JNC) at YMS Plaza Singapura. His mother, Ms. Lim Mei Yih has this to say about the learning experience of Matthew:
My hubby and I have no regrets signing Matthew up for the Yamaha Junior course. The course not only emphasizes teaching the children to play on the keyboard, but it also trains them in abilities to listen, sing solfege and respond rhythmically.
Matthew is always looking forward to his class and he enjoys learning music with a group of his friends. They have a lot of fun during and after the lessons.
He is motivated by the exposure to different genres of music and was excited that he had a chance to perform in Junior Original Concert at the school. The performance at the concert has given Matthew a valuable experience. It gave his confidence a boost, and he is looking forward to another opportunity in the near future.
Samantha Kunafi is 9 years old, and in her first year of Junior Ensemble Course (JNC) at YMS Plaza Singapura. Her Mum, Susan Purnomo says:
One of Yamaha's unique strong point is, the exposure to creativity in the music lessons. They are taught and encouraged to compose their own melody and thereafter play with variations. Unlike private piano lessons, Yamaha group class is very interactive and fun.
The songs in the curriculum are catchy and able to pique the interest of the children. When Samantha completed the 4th year of Yamaha Junior Course, she was given an opportunity to present her composition at the Junior Original Concert at the school. In preparation for this performance, Samantha was motivated to play expressively and her confidence was given a boost.
Samantha is now in JNC and I can see further development in Samantha's interest in music. I do see her trying to play pieces out of her textbook curriculum. She really enjoys going to her weekly Yamaha music lessons.
Eleven-year-old Yeo Yu Ann is a first year student of Advanced Ensemble Course (ANC) at YMS Tampines. Her father, Mr. Yeo shares with us his opinions about lessons in Yamaha for Yu Ann:
Yu Ann’s teacher is very patient, encouraging and makes learning music such a fun activity. The group is small, less than 10 students, and everyone gets along well. This environment is conducive and my child is motivated to learn, she even practices regularly at home. I can see an improvement in her listening ability and she has begun to compose music now!
Yu Ann herself has this to add:
My music lessons are fun and enjoyable! The music pieces have a lot of meaning behind them and teacher makes learning easy.
I am now able to compose many kinds of music. With regular practices at home, I can now play the piano very well! Thank you for teaching me these wonderful skills!
Seven-year-old Jairus Yong started with Yamaha Junior Course at the age of 5, at YMS Plaza Singapura. His mum, Sandy Tng says:
He loves to play on the electone and learn music in a small group setting. Learning in a group is fun and encouraging, ideal for young learners. Learning solfege also helps train his hearing for notes and better equips him in picking up other instruments in school.
This is 3rd year YJC student from YMS Plaza Singapura, Matthew Tan. His mother, Natalia Goh tells us he enjoys his Yamaha Junior Course lessons and the group setting has been helpful as he gets to make new friends and is also motivated by his peers. The curriculum is interesting and we like it because the class emphasizes not just playing skills, which are taught using the electone, but also listening and singing skills. Matthew loves singing and can often be heard singing loudly in class!
Mother of Felicity Chng (10 y.o.), Lilian Goh says:
From the tender age of 2, we noticed Felicity enjoys music and dance. Every time she hears some catchy tunes, she would start to twirl around and move to the rhythm. We decided to complement that with Yamaha group music classes that build her foundation on music harmony, creativity, melody, listening and singing.
She has progressed over the years to the current Advanced Ensemble Course (ANC) at YMS Plaza Singapura. She continues to enjoy the lessons with the teacher and fellow classmates and look forward to attending classes weekly.
Edison Tong Yi Xuan (11 y.o.), in his 2nd year of Advanced Ensemble Course ANC at YMS Tampines Mall, talks to us about what he likes about his music lessons in Yamaha:
I like the group lessons because I made many friends here. I like the pieces that we learn in ANC, especially the ensemble pieces because I like playing together with my friends. I have improved eye-hand coordination; my melody-hearing, sight-reading and sight-playing are also enhanced.
His mother, Ms. Jerina Ng has this to say about the Yamaha Music Education System:
Yamaha's course programs are well established, researched and professionally run. It provides holistic music training that we don't get anywhere else. It teaches above and beyond individual lessons. Edison is even taught to compose and had participated twice in the Tampines School Junior Original Composition performance. Not only is the curriculum excellent, the teachers are also dedicated and well-trained; Edison is lucky to have very good teachers. His current teacher Mrs Ow is excellent with the class. Edison enjoys the rapport, comradeship and challenges in such a positive and conducive environment. My husband is a violin instructor and ensemble conductor, we know a good program when we see one. When our very young string students need to learn a second instrument, we would not hesitate to recommend Yamaha's YJC, JNC and ANC. Yes, the courses are that good.
Mother of the 3 brothers — Mikel (10), Josiah (8) and Elijah (6) — Ms. Pauline Aw has this to say about YMES:
I had heard from friends that they had gone through and enjoyed the Yamaha music programme themselves and had enrolled their own children in it. With such positive feedback, I decided to enrol my firstborn and his 2 younger brothers have since joined him.
Music is made fun and interesting when they learn from one another in a group. It is lovely watching the children grow up together and enjoying the camaraderie. The strong focus on cultivating a keen sense of hearing and singing steers them in a good position to appreciate and even compose music. I especially like the smooth progression over the years- songs are introduced through singing in the beginning and at a later stage, they learn to play them. The array of music pieces is also diverse and very appealing. Most importantly, my boys have extremely dedicated teachers in Yamaha Music School Thomson, Teacher Daphne, Teacher Estelle and Ms Tan (as the boys affectionately address them by) who believe in their potential and stretch them beyond while respecting their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Ms. Alvina Kek, mother of Ethan Kaan Wai Hong (7 y.o.) says:
It has been a joy watching Ethan progress through his Yamaha journey. Currently in the 3rd year of Yamaha Junior Course at YMS Plaza Singapura, Ethan has blossomed from the shy and reserved boy he was to the confident and independent young musician he is today. Kudos to Yamaha and Teacher Daphne for making music a beautiful and empowering experience for him.
Mrs. Michelle Phua, mother of 8-year-old Miguel Phua, says:
Our son has been attending Yamaha music lessons at YMS Plaza Singapura for more than 2 years. Now that Miguel is in his 3rd year of YJC, it is clear to us that he has made such great progress and has developed a great sense of independence and confidence in himself! The teacher is always looking for ways to teach the curriculum to benefit his learning. Yamaha is not just a place where music is taught , it is a place also for learning values. I believe the teacher plays an important part to impart these mentioned skills.
Seth Oh’s mother, Mrs. Sharon Oh says:
Our son Seth started music lessons in YMS Thomson 5years ago at the age of 5. We wanted to expose him to music from an early age and the Yamaha Junior Course was our choice. Surprisingly, he progressed well and is now in his 1st year of Junior Ensemble Course (JNC). Seth enjoys lessons at Yamaha every week because he can sing and play ensemble together with his classmates. The class is always so lively and it is also because Teacher Daphne is a very enthusiastic and engaging teacher! Under her guidance, all the children did very well for their music exams. I would strongly recommend parents to send their kids to Yamaha for group classes as it is more interesting for kids to learn and play in a group. Thank you Yamaha!
10-year-old Caden Wong Jing Xi recently advanced to ANC at YMS Plaza Singapura. Commenting on one of the subjects in the ANC curriculum – ‘Composition’ – Caden says, “Thanks to the interesting method of teaching composition – ‘Burger Composition’, the ABA foundation has been laid well.. Now, I can proceed to ABCD structure with my dedicated teacher. Yamaha has changed my musical point of view!”
His mum, Ms. Joey Ong tells us that attending music lessons in Yamaha has been a great learning journey for Caden in the last 7 years. It has nurtured him in improvisational and compositional skills, and has continuously inspired him to make more music since his last opportunity to showcase his composition at Junior Original Concert at Plaza Singapura.
Here is a picture of an APPLE group class at Kallang YMS taken on graduation day. Teacher Maria Goh is in the center. The feedback from the parents as follows.
Kate’s mummy, Gerval: "We are extremely pleased with the Apple Course led by Teacher Maria. It is always heartfelt to know that our child is under gentle, patient care while having her most enjoyable class filled with rhythms, music and pictures! Kate openly declares that it is her favourite lesson of the week by singing and dancing to her self-made lyrics, which further attest to how much she enjoys classes at Yamaha."
Cruz’s mummy, Laverne Lye: “We enjoyed the Apple Course as it is engaging and fun. It brings much joy to us to learn that our child enjoys the lessons as well when he continues to sing the songs even after class has ended. Having a dedicated teacher makes the lessons even more satisfying.”
Reuben’s daddy, Chester Wan: "Yamaha's Apple course is a very good preparatory course for toddlers to understand the basics of music through fun actions and story based music. Teacher Maria is a very dedicated teacher who engages with her students very well."
Jacob’s daddy, Jerome: “Jacob enjoys the course and we are pleasantly surprised that even though we did not play the songs at home very often, he manages to remember the songs.”
Oliver has been attending Yamaha's Apple Course at YMS Kallang since three months ago. We were initially apprehensive and wondering whether he would enjoy the classes, and if he would be able to learn and benefit from it at such a young age.
Three months on, Oliver loves going to music class and learns and plays well in class. Each week, he'd badger us to bring him to class, sometimes even up to two hours ahead of the scheduled class time. He very much looks forward to classes, and it's such a joy to observe him sing to the lyrics and move with the music, enjoying the Musical Fantasy (story-telling) segment and appreciating the Teacher's Recital segment. It's quite amazing that he remembers the tune and lyrics of songs that were learnt in previous lessons, and sings to himself out of the blue at home and asks us to sing along with him!
We have seen significant value-add and have confidence that the music classes have set a good, strong foundation for Oliver's love for music. All in all, we are very happy with the way Oliver has taken to Yamaha's Apple Course. The class structure and music materials are engaging and adequately capture the attention of two-year olds. Credits also go to Teacher Maria for her efforts to keep the classes fun and light-hearted whilst keeping the children engaged and learning at their own comfortable pace.
Kok Ru Xuan, 6 years old - 3rd year Yamaha Junior Course student at Yamaha Music School, Plaza Singapura. Her mother, Ms. Goh Geok Leng commented on Yamaha courses:
Ru Xuan started her music learning journey with Yamaha when she was 3.5 years old. From Music Wonderland to Yamaha Junior Course, she has always been enjoying her lessons. Because of the group setting, lessons are fun and interesting as she learns alongside with her peers. With the help of passionate teachers, her interest in music has since grown. Besides listening to melody notes, chords, singing in solfege, lyrics, she is also enthusiastic about playing. Through attending the lessons in Yamaha, she is now developing her musical abilities confidently. Thanks to Yamaha!
Attending music lessons at Yamaha Music School Plaza Singapura Branch, 7-year-old Kuek Heok-Hwa is in his 4th year of YJC, and 5-year-old Jun-Theng in her 2nd year.
Mrs. Jinny Kuek tells us Heok-Hwa and Jun-Theng are the second generation Yamaha students in their family. They especially like Yamaha's focus on hearing, as it helps develop the ability to play by ear. The kids look forward to the classes every week, singing and playing solo and ensemble pieces with their classmates.
These are students from Yamaha Music School at Frontier CC: Hannah Kok Hann (Advanced Extension Course 1st year), 11 years old and Shanna Kok Minn (Yamaha Junior Course 4th year), 8 years old. Mum, Ms. Tan Shu Yee gives her feedback on YMES courses:
One of the many things I like about Yamaha group courses is having opportunities to perform in concerts. My children are trained to be confident when they play in front of an audience. The subject Ensemble/Duet Playing allows the kids to learn to cooperate as they work towards the goal together. Lessons are interesting as there are different musical activities conducted e.g. singing, repertoire playing, harmonizing etc. The music pieces in the Yamaha curriculum are very well written. DVDs & CDs are very useful for home practice. Good communication with the teacher enables steady progress for the children.
The courses have benefitted my children. They display well-developed listening skills, good music sense and are able to sing on pitch. In addition, they can play expressively and rhythmically. They even acquire the ability to improvise and transpose a piece of music!
My children are learning the harp as their second instrument. With the good musical ear they have developed under the Yamaha training, they are able to tune the harp efficiently and accurately. Due to much exposure to ensemble playing in Yamaha group lessons, it is effortless for them to blend with other musicians when they perform in a string ensemble. Memorizing music is also easy for the girls with the Yamaha training methods.
Yamaha lessons have also nurtured the children to sing and they are currently in the school choir, as well as children’s choir in church. On top of that, the Yamaha curriculum includes keyboard harmony and improvisation. Now I am truly thankful that my children can play church songs by improvising and harmonizing them with the chords they have learnt in Yamaha.
Students from YMS Thomson branch – 14-year-old Megan Low Jia Ying, 4th year of Advanced Ensemble Course with her brother Christian Low Jia Hao in his 2nd year of Advanced Ensemble Course. Here is Mr Low’s opinion of YMES.
I like Yamaha's approach in nurturing an appreciation of music for the children by establishing strong fundamentals in listening and singing, playing, in addition to reading. I believe the systematic approach employed will enable them to pick up music any time after they have completed the Yamaha courses. It's like riding a bicycle - once you have learnt to listen sing, play and read you can resume music learning easily, even after a break.
I also like the fact that the rudiments of theory is built into the curriculum rather than a separate theory course /exam. This links the theoretical and practical music concepts in a natural and relevant way.
My daughter Megan, has been taking Yamaha classes for 12 years. She is a dancer and the Yamaha music classes have contributed much to her musicality. She always scores high marks for her dance exams and performances.
My son Christian, has been taking Yamaha classes for 8 years and I believe the music lessons have helped stimulate his creativity and supplements his studies for a more rounded student.
Elizabeth Peh (12 years old) is in her 2nd year of Advanced Ensemble Course and her brother, 10-year-old Sean Peh is in the 1st year of Advanced Ensemble Course. They are both enrolled at YMS Plaza Singapura. Ms. Dalphie Gwee shares what her kids, Elizabeth and Sean, have learnt in the years at Yamaha:
I love the the way Yamaha teaches kids to appreciate music from a young age. Not only are the kids taught to play the keyboard, they learn to distinguish sounds either through physical touch or through the variety of sounds on the electone. The teachers make the music classes fun, and my kids look forward to the classes. They grow up becoming good friends through their weekly interactions in class. The kids are given opportunities to perform in class from young and that helps them to be natural performers and be comfortable sharing their performances with others.
My kids appreciate all types of music - classical, opera, jazz in addition to pop music that appeals to teenagers. They have sensitive ears and have good listening skills. I have seen my kids being able to play on the piano just by listening to a piece - that impresses me! My eldest girl, who was also a student of the Yamaha group courses, is 16 years old now. When she is stressed out by school work, she will always put her hands on the piano and play pieces that she loves. She told me that it’s very effective for her to de-stress.
Yamaha has definitely given my 3 kids a very good background in music. My kids all started in Yamaha, having their music lessons on the electone, but they have started to pick up other instruments like drums and guitar concurrently. I believe they will continue to pick up other instruments easily along the way.
Another important point to add, Yamaha has very passionate and patient teachers (one of the reasons why my kids love to go to Yamaha) so now all my 3 kids appreciate music in one way or other. Thank you, Mary!
Chrystal Chia (9 years old), a student of YMS Frontier Community Club, is enrolled in Junior Advanced Course. Her 2 siblings, Jacob Chia (8 years old) and Joel Chia (6 years old) are both in the Yamaha Junior Course at the same branch. Their mother, Ms. Lee Mei Chan, shares her opinions of YMES courses:
We like the group courses because the classes are fun for the kids. Our children get to make friends and enjoy music at the same time. Having a group of students learning together creates a sustainable environment for learning especially from the school age, that is Junior Extension course or the 3rd year of the Yamaha Junior Course. Our kids look forward to every group lesson for the group class subjects, the child friendly pieces, and the fun time learning music with their friends.
All this is made possible with the dedicated music teachers. We would like to express our utmost appreciation and gratitude towards Ms. Tan Hui Sin and Ms Vera Tan @ Yamaha Frontier for their selfless dedication in teaching our children music. They have not only aspired my children to do better in music and also truly cared for each student's overall well-being. They do not turn away enquiries by parents, instead, they make extra effort to ensure parents' concerns are answered or handled by the right personnel.
It is a blessing to have them as our children's music teachers. Our children have learnt to understand and appreciate the concepts that "Practice maketh a man perfect" and that "Perseverance is the only way to success". They practice many times to familiarize themselves with the fingering of the pieces. It can be quite frustrating at times, but, seeing their friends achieve it, coupled with support and encouragement, my children have adopted a "never give up" attitude which we believe is very important in early character building.
The training in the Yamaha Music Education System has nurtured the listening ability in our children. They are also able to appreciate different music variants. Our older kids, Chrystal and Jacob, are able to identify the exact key (i.e D minor, C Major) and play back the main melody of any song simply by hearing. It is really amazing!
In addition, our older kids find much enjoyment in creating music under their teachers' guidance. This segment empowers them in creative thinking and instills self-confidence. These original compositions, though simple, have become their 'masterpieces', and are showcased with much pride. Besides those, we have also noticed Chrystal displaying great rhythmic sense in her ballet lessons. Some of the ballet music she dances to are pieces she has learnt in music class!
Lastly, our children find ease in singing any songs right on pitch and also in learning other musical instruments (e.g. Ocarina or recorder) during their music lessons in school (Primary or Kindergarten).
In the picture: 8-year-old Neo Wei Judyth with her mother, Ms. Cheok Soh Yian. Judyth is a student of Junior Ensemble Course at YMS Hougang. Ms. Cheok has this to say about YMES:
Judyth loves the ensemble work and her interaction with friends. She has benefitted lots, especially in the group environment. She knows that she is not alone when she encounters difficulties in her music studies.
The Yamaha curriculum is excellent for beginners. It's fun, class based, and with parental involvement. The CDs and DVDs, the singing subjects, the attractive scores, and the ensemble pieces are tailored well to this age group.
In addition, improvisation is strongly emphasized and this is introduced and continued in smooth progression.
In the picture: 13-year-old Chen Guan You (4th year of Advanced Ensemble Course), 11-year-old Chen Guan Zuo (2nd year of Advanced Ensemble Course), and 6-year-old Chen Guan Jun (3rd year of Yamaha Junior Course) with their father. The Chen brothers attend music lessons at Yamaha Music School Thomson. What do the Chen brothers like about Yamaha group courses?
“Having friends to learn together with… songs we learn are interesting… and ensemble playing is fun!” said the boys.
Mr. Chen commented that they are able to appreciate music, and while listening to the trendy and popular songs, they will make an attempt to play them on the piano, without the need for scores. He strongly believes music helps in developing the brain to the fullest. As parents, Mr. Chen and his wife have great pleasure and tremendous joy listening to their boys playing at home, both the pieces they learn from Yamaha, as well as songs they pick up through listening to the radio.
This 12-year-old student from YMS Thomson is Wong Xin Hui Rachael. She’s in her 2nd year of Advanced Ensemble Course, and also a student of Yamaha Piano Course. Here is the reply of her mother, Mrs. Mae Wong, to the question on how Yamaha courses have benefited her daughter:
She is more creative now. Both courses complement each other. She attends Yamaha Piano Course to learn techniques of playing the piano as well as take the piano exams. But, she really enjoys the atmosphere and content of the group lessons. This is especially so, for the ensemble playing. She loves playing together with her peers.
10-year-old student Toh En Qi attends Junior Ensemble Course at Yamaha Music School Frontier Community Club and is now in her 2nd year. Her siblings, 8-year-old QiHeng and 6-year-old En Xin are both in the Yamaha Junior Course. Ms. Liang Kai Poh, mother of the Toh siblings, says this of YMES courses:
Yamaha’s music courses provide the children with a holistic music education. They learn a variety of musical skills through a fun and non- threatening environment. Teamwork and self-confidence are built through the various class activities and concert performances. My children look forward to their lessons as the teachers are often encouraging.
The children who have gone through Yamaha’s music education system develop confidence in performing in front of others. They are definitely more able to pick up the notes after listening to a piece of music. My eldest child who is now in the Junior ensemble course enjoys improvising music pieces and through her practice sessions at home, the younger siblings are inspired to try something creative.
10-year-old Tze Ning learns music (Advanced Ensemble Course) at Yamaha Kallang branch. Her sister, 6-year-old Tze Xin, is in the 3rd year of Yamaha Junior Course, also at Yamaha Kallang branch. Their Dad noticed the two siblings like different subjects and are talented in different areas. His feedback:
The aim of the Yamaha courses is to create an interest in music from a very young age, instead of targeting certifications from the start. The students are trained to listen from the pre-schooler age, teaching the young ones to recognize tones and chords. The children are exposed to all genres of music and as a result, I see that my 2 daughters are able to appreciate music in different forms. Coupled with the passionate and experienced teachers of the Yamaha school, learning music is an enjoyable experience. I believe that my children now have a lifelong love for music.
Tze Ning likes Ensembles and Duets, while her sister Tze Xin loves to sing. They both enjoy different subjects, so it’s good that the curriculum has a variety, recognizing that this is necessary since every child is different. Tze Ning has fun detecting key changes in a song. She has learnt how to improvise and she can apply chords to tunes she hears. Tze Ning is also able to recognize the notes of a song, just by using her listening ability.
Tze Xin enjoys the different pieces of music she gets to play and sing in class. Now she is starting to learn how to transpose the pieces.
11-year-old Jodie Poh Zhao Xuan is a student enrolled in Advanced Ensemble Course at Yamaha Plaza Singapura branch. Her mother, Ms. Elaine Lee, gives positive feedback on the YMES courses:
The small group size of 8, the pace that the curriculum is delivered, well illustrated and colourful books, and most importantly, dedicated and patient teacher— these are factors that kept my daughter engaged at Yamaha Music School. It is very clear to me that her listening skills have become sharper. Jodie is able to listen to her favourite pop tunes and rely solely on her listening ability, and play the tunes out without any reference to scores.
Yamaha Music Course was chosen because I believe the course is not mundane and the lessons can bring out the creativity in my kid. I am proud that she is able to compose her own music pieces – a very satisfactory result achieved!
5-year-old Kayden Ang, 7-year-old Kylie Ang, and 10-year-old Kara Ang are siblings who are enrolled in Yamaha Junior Course (2nd year), Yamaha Junior Course (4th year), and Advanced Ensemble Course respectively, at Yamaha Kallang branch. Kara is concurrently enrolled in Junior Electone Course at Yamaha Plaza Singapura branch. Their mother, Ms. Irene Ng who has a grade 8 practical piano certification, says this when asked to comment on the YMES:
I have all my 3 kids in the YMES because it is a good music education system-enjoyable, gives them fantastic overall music knowledge, and builds a good foundation in music abilities of listening, singing, playing, and reading.
They get to enjoy music as a whole, and not just to read and play according to music scores. The subjects in the Yamaha curriculum include how to harmonize, improvise, listen and sing on top of learning how to play repertoire on the keyboard.
Group lessons provide the children with opportunities to play ensembles, and this does make music learning fun and enriching.
At the recent Heats of the Yamaha Electone Festival, Kara advanced to the Finals in the Junior 2 competitive section. Congratulations Kara! All the best for the Finals.
Ms. Lim Li Koon, mother of 8-year-old Cheng Gin Yee who is in the 4th year of Yamaha Junior Course, affirms that Yamaha group courses do indeed sustain interest of young students:
I like the focus on creativity — where the students are exposed to variations, improvisation and composition. In addition, Junior Ensemble Course (JNC) and Junior Extension Course(JXC), which is also the 3rd & 4th year program of the Yamaha Junior Course, are group courses that can sustain interest in the music-learning process of the younger children. Teacher Mary is a superb teacher and this is very important.
Gin Yee has learned how to play musical instruments, electone and piano, as well as how to sing. These are invaluable musical abilities to accompany her for her whole life.
Sharon Tay Hui Xin, 11 years old, is a student in her 2nd year of Advanced Ensemble Course. Her mother, Ms. Alison Heu, says she has gone beyond textbooks in her learning process:
I like it that students are taught to play by ear and they learn chord playing in a systematic way. This enables them to apply these practical musicianship skills to other songs and instruments when they are older. Learning in a group also provides opportunities for them to work in an ensemble and grow in showmanship. Valuable friendships and bonds with teacher and friends are built. Sharon finds music a great way to release her stress.
Sharon has learnt to focus, coordinate and appreciate music. I see her trying to play other songs (that are not in the textbooks), using the skills like keyboard harmony and improvisation.
In the picture are 12-year-old Alysa Koh Jing Xuan who attends Advanced Ensemble Course and her sister, 9-year-old Maegan Koh Yi Xuan who is enrolled in Junior Ensemble Course. Both are from Yamaha Kallang branch. Ms. Ow Wai Lin comments on her daughters’ learning experience:
My 2 girls like learning music in Yamaha’s courses, as they prefer a group environment. Comparing this to one-to-one lessons, where focus and pressure is just solely on them, group classes provide healthy peer pressure. The teachers are able to encourage and sustain their interest in music by making lessons challenging, but fun.
Alysa who is doing her PSLE this year, plays the piano to relieve stress from school, while Maegan is now able to appreciate music better and has more confidence in presenting herself. As they progress through the more advanced stages of Yamaha’s music education program, they have fostered friendships and find support among their music mates, while learning music more deeply from the subjects in the Yamaha curriculum.
9-year-old Charlotte Lim Xin Yi is a 2nd year student of Junior Ensemble Course, at Yamaha Plaza Singapura branch. Her mother, Ms. Chan Wai Ling, tells us about the benefits of Yamaha’s group lessons:
When she first started in Yamaha Junior Course (YJC), she was already introduced to harmony, and this was taught progressively in the curriculum. There's a lot of interaction among the students in class and the active participation definitely helps kids who tend to be more shy, to speak up. Such participation also serves to break the monotony of learning. As the kids are engaged in the group environment, they find the lessons interesting. Charlotte loves the bright colors and drawings in the nice textbooks.
My girl has learnt to enjoy music more as the YJC prepared her for a wider aspect of music appreciation. She has grown to love different types of music, including Chinese folks songs and Mandopop as well! I have noticed the development of her hearing ability, and Charlotte now has a keen sense of hearing.
11-year-old Larissa Chan Mei Huen is currently enrolled in Advanced Ensemble Course (2nd year), at Yamaha Plaza Singapura branch. Her mother, Alysia Ling, has this to say about YMES and its courses:
The group courses follow a structured syllabus which encompasses many areas of musicianship. The students are able to progress at a comfortable pace as they have built up a solid foundation over the years. Certain skills can only be developed in group classes, for example, part singing, ensemble playing, and rhythmic sense.
My daughter's favourite lesson is her Yamaha group lesson and this has always been the case since she started Junior Music Course more than 7 years ago. She has since picked up numerous musical abilities including singing at the correct pitch, playing by ear, harmonization, improvisation, composition and ensemble playing. Most importantly, she has developed a love for music because of her wonderful teacher, Mary.
9-year-old Shannon Lee Karim attends Junior Ensemble Course at Yamaha Plaza Singapura branch. Her mother, Jessica Lee, tells us that Shannon has made significant progress through YMES:
Shannon has great fun making music with her group of friends in the class. I noticed the growth of Shannon’s interest in music as she advanced in the education system, and the listening and reading abilities have progressed significantly.
7-year-old Jovin Cheong is a Yamaha Junior Course student in her 4th year, at Yamaha Plaza Singapura branch. Mother of Jovin, Ms. Lee Bee Shien shares with us what she likes about the Yamaha Education System Courses and its benefits:
The reason my girl is still enjoying learning music is the fact that she finds the lessons engaging and 'funny'. Group lessons definitely have this advantage as the children can learn music skills and also giggle as they learn together. I have heard of kids who gave up music lessons quickly because they found the individual lessons boring. Of course credit must go to the fine teaching skills of the teacher.
My girl's hearing ability has been greatly sharpened! She is able to distinguish music notes and I found this hearing ability also helps a lot in her learning of Hanyu Pinyin! Because the curriculum in Yamaha includes Keyboard Harmony and Improvisation, she is able to harmonize and create variations, and I could see she enjoys doing that. She is also starting to play with more expression as she is exposed to different types of music. In addition, I have noticed the boost in her level of confidence, not only where music lessons are concerned, but in school as well. The lessons have surely benefited her in many ways and I am glad I started her on this journey 4 years ago!
12 year-old twins Ng Le Yang and Ng Le Xin have been in the Yamaha Music Education System since they were 4 years old. They began their musical journey at Yamaha Junior Course, progressed to Junior Ensemble Course, and thereafter, Advanced Ensemble Course. They are currently enrolled in the 3rd year of Advanced Ensemble Course at Yamaha Kallang Branch. Just what do they like about Yamaha group courses?
The Twins: “The teacher and friends in class make learning music interesting and fun. Helping one another and interacting with one another allows us to build friendships. My interest in music is sustained and cultivated through the group lesson experiences.”
Mom: “The environment is fun yet enriching, thus enabling the girls to cultivate their interest and appreciation of music. My elder boy had 1-to-1 piano lessons, but it was hard to sustain his interest.”