chris-khoo-911's picture
April 15, 2017 at 10:45pm

What makes one piece of music "beautiful", "captivating", "catchy", "moving", "memorable" etc, but not another piece of music?

(Pop music composers often talk about this "musical hook" that makes a song captivating .)

How does the mind decide what's a musical hit and what isn't?

#MusicAesthetics

of 13
Corrine Ying

But I am still interested to hear about the quantitative method that Zensen spoke about.

April 16, 2017 at 1:26pm
Goh Zensen

Pardon me; as I've been reminded by my Master Trainers and potential investors about this; it is better that I run through all the various schools of thoughts in determining aesthetic quality via... See More

Pardon me; as I've been reminded by my Master Trainers and potential investors about this; it is better that I run through all the various schools of thoughts in determining aesthetic quality via my talk.

But in order not to whet your appetite too much, I will share the 4th school here, which is easier, reserving the 2nd school (quantitative method) at the talk, since it is rather sophisticated, requiring graphs and diagrams, etc.

The 4th school of thought hinges on the notion of nostalgia. There has been extensive research done on this field: Generally, people tend to like music that they listen to a lot during their late teens to young adulthood (20s), thereby finding these songs highly aesthetic. For example, my mum would feel pop songs in the 50s and 60s very appealing and beautiful, while those in my generation (80s and 90s) are no good. Interestingly, by the same token, I will have the tendency to find pop music in the 80s and 90s to be superior, and current hits are degenerating. Teens will feel otherwise!

The researchers attribute this to the phenomenon that during teenage and young adulthood period, we are most impressionistic about the music media we expose to, attaching lots of sentimental values to them, etc. However, as we grow older, many of us will be focusing more on developing our career, starting a family, etc. leading to the situation whereby we listen less to popular music thus feeling less receptive to the "new culture" or style.

There are several implications for this school of thought. For example, if we are organising a concert meant to let our audience indulge and enjoy the pieces, and if we know our audience are all around the age group of 70s and 80s, then probably we will choose our repertoire of oldies in the 50s and 60s (instead of say in the 80s).

April 16, 2017 at 11:52pm
Goh Zensen

So Corrine is right at the micro-level sense. But once we extend it to the macro-level, it will be a case of being beyond Person's A subjectivity vs Person B's subjectivity. Case in point: I am... See More

So Corrine is right at the micro-level sense. But once we extend it to the macro-level, it will be a case of being beyond Person's A subjectivity vs Person B's subjectivity. Case in point: I am about to go overseas (together with a team of others) for an exchange programme at their music fraternity. And I am supposed to select a few pieces of Singaporean works that are aesthetic to perform there, so that it will well represent the cultural superiority of Singapore.

What should govern my choices? If I simply go by my personal subjectivity, that's it. It will ruin everything. Why? For example, I personally don't like the melody of Home, but this will probably go into my repertoire because of several reasons (taking into consideration on other schools of thoughts in determining aesthetics beyond my personal subjectivity).

Thus the discipline or study of Music Aesthetics has widespread practical applications. It doesn't stop at personal subjectivity differences. It goes into factors that shape mankind's individual subjectivity (one of which is nostalgia).

April 16, 2017 at 9:27pm
Chris Khoo

Amazing!

April 16, 2017 at 10:22pm
goh-zensen-1469's picture
April 15, 2017 at 5:43pm

If you have a toddler niece/nephew whom you truly dote on, you might wish to consider getting them this Korg Tiny Piano at their 1st, 2nd or 3rd birthday - it costs only $200+ and is extremely small and light (doesn't take up much space). It operates either with batteries (which thus can be played at the bedside) or AC power, and has 4 colours to match surrounding furniture. It has good acoustic piano sounds, as well as toy piano sounds! Can also perform octave shifts and many more!

... See More

If you have a toddler niece/nephew whom you truly dote on, you might wish to consider getting them this Korg Tiny Piano at their 1st, 2nd or 3rd birthday - it costs only $200+ and is extremely small and light (doesn't take up much space). It operates either with batteries (which thus can be played at the bedside) or AC power, and has 4 colours to match surrounding furniture. It has good acoustic piano sounds, as well as toy piano sounds! Can also perform octave shifts and many more!

#PianoBrands #PianoModels

of 4
Corrine Ying

Nice. I only have the Kawai toy piano (which sounds more like a xylophone). Maybe I should get this as well.

April 15, 2017 at 6:39pm
Goh Zensen

Yes, you can either get it from City Music or the music shop at the top floor of White Sands Mall.

April 15, 2017 at 6:46pm
Sng Yong Meng

This is different from the Kawai one you mentioned, right?

April 15, 2017 at 9:48pm
Goh Zensen

Yes, the Kawai one is strictly acoustic, and the sound is like a glockenspiel. But this is electronic.

April 15, 2017 at 11:45pm
gan-theng-beng-1871's picture
April 14, 2017 at 9:21am

As a piano newbie and novice, i learned piano by myself. I usually play by ears and memorization. Recently i play some songs and recorded it. i realised certain part of the songs the speed(Tempo) is not ideal. It could be a bit too fast or slow and as a result sounds a little bit messy. How do your play a song in an ideal speed (Tempo) and "Control" the whole songs seems like a hard skills to master. Any thoughts?

#... See More

As a piano newbie and novice, i learned piano by myself. I usually play by ears and memorization. Recently i play some songs and recorded it. i realised certain part of the songs the speed(Tempo) is not ideal. It could be a bit too fast or slow and as a result sounds a little bit messy. How do your play a song in an ideal speed (Tempo) and "Control" the whole songs seems like a hard skills to master. Any thoughts?

#AdultBeginners

of 6
Corrine Ying

How about adding some percussion (like a steady drum beat) to your playing if you're using a digital piano? Learners of classical music usually use a metronome to help control the tempo.

April 14, 2017 at 10:27pm
Sng Yong Meng

That's a nice suggestion for someone using the digital piano, since the percussion becomes an actual accompaniment to his playing.

At least, it is not as monotonous as a metronome for... See More

That's a nice suggestion for someone using the digital piano, since the percussion becomes an actual accompaniment to his playing.

At least, it is not as monotonous as a metronome for those playing on the acoustic piano, where the metronome has no musical participation, and it's purely for keeping the tempo in check.

April 14, 2017 at 10:42pm
Gan Theng Beng

Thanks for the insights and ideas. I am currently using acoustic upright piano. I also think that when you play the piano your mind need be calm and at peace and most likely you will get the '... See More

Thanks for the insights and ideas. I am currently using acoustic upright piano. I also think that when you play the piano your mind need be calm and at peace and most likely you will get the 'right' tempo.

April 15, 2017 at 12:11pm
Corrine Ying

There are apps that can provide different kinds of drum beats in varying speeds to accompany your playing. So it doesn't have to be a boring metronome beat.

Yes Theng Beng, when we are... See More

There are apps that can provide different kinds of drum beats in varying speeds to accompany your playing. So it doesn't have to be a boring metronome beat.

Yes Theng Beng, when we are nervous, our hearts beat faster and we tend to play faster.

April 15, 2017 at 9:07pm
thepianosg-1's picture
April 14, 2017 at 12:10pm

After Joseph played Für Elise by Beethoven, a small snippet of trivia about "The Mysteries Behind Beethoven’s Für Elise" was shared - Beethoven probably never wanted the version which is popularly played today to exist, and would have preferred the 1822 version instead. Neither was there a person by the name "Elise".

#ThePianoSG #pianovers... See More

After Joseph played Für Elise by Beethoven, a small snippet of trivia about "The Mysteries Behind Beethoven’s Für Elise" was shared - Beethoven probably never wanted the version which is popularly played today to exist, and would have preferred the 1822 version instead. Neither was there a person by the name "Elise".

#ThePianoSG #pianovers #PianoversMeetup

goh-zensen-1469's picture
April 6, 2017 at 7:12pm

Was feeling gleeful and jubilant after conducting the first run of the Advanced Harmony & Improvisation workshop! Participants were so enthusiastic and participatory in this "learning through jamming" session that many didn't want to go home even when it ended!

#events #concerts

of 13
Lim Jin Li

Yes!!! Hehehe, thanks for allowing me to crash course the workshop! As someone who went through the 'tao geh' learning, I find it very difficult to improvise and find the appropriate chords to... See More

Yes!!! Hehehe, thanks for allowing me to crash course the workshop! As someone who went through the 'tao geh' learning, I find it very difficult to improvise and find the appropriate chords to convey the right 'nuance' (like you mentioned in class). The materials mentioned in class will definitely help with my self-study and jamming in class made it real fun too! Thanks again!!

April 13, 2017 at 5:49pm
Goh Zensen

Am delighted that you enjoyed it and finding it useful! The 3rd and final session will be next Thursday!

April 13, 2017 at 6:35pm
Chris Khoo

During office hours again ?

April 13, 2017 at 7:07pm
Goh Zensen

Yes, all three are from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.

April 13, 2017 at 10:29pm
thepianosg-1's picture
April 11, 2017 at 9:06am

Pianovers Meetup #33 was a special one - world renowned Steinway Artist Adam Gyorgy joined us in our usual Sunday evening Meetup!

We also had a Live Interview with him where he humbly shared many of his thoughts. Truly, it was an amazing night to have him walking among us, sharing his musical experiences, and taking photos with our community!

He even performed "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" which brought the night to an all high - because it was a rare opportunity for many of us... See More

Pianovers Meetup #33 was a special one - world renowned Steinway Artist Adam Gyorgy joined us in our usual Sunday evening Meetup!

We also had a Live Interview with him where he humbly shared many of his thoughts. Truly, it was an amazing night to have him walking among us, sharing his musical experiences, and taking photos with our community!

He even performed "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" which brought the night to an all high - because it was a rare opportunity for many of us to see Adam performing live right in front of us, up so close.

#ThePianoSG #pianovers #PianoversMeetup #AdamGyorgy #event

of 9
Alex Tee

He's really amazing
!

April 12, 2017 at 1:27pm
Sng Yong Meng

Lol, Alex, I am pleasantly surprised that you wanna pick up classical pieces after getting to know him!

April 12, 2017 at 1:34pm
Goh Zensen

Yong Meng, you meant Alex weren't playing classical pieces before this?

April 12, 2017 at 8:30pm
Sng Yong Meng

He's into Japanese anime piano arrangements.

April 12, 2017 at 11:52pm
lim-jin-li-1869's picture
April 12, 2017 at 1:43pm
of 1
Goh Zensen

This is good news! In fact another friend of mine had recently the chance to play on such a piano!

April 12, 2017 at 6:25pm
goh-zensen-1469's picture
April 9, 2017 at 5:32pm

Many have asked me to unpack the meaning of "music appreciation". When someone asks you, "Are you able to appreciate this piece/genre of music?", what exact does that mean?

Music appreciation has different levels:

First Level: I like that music / enjoy listening to it but I can't explain why.

Second Level: I like that music / enjoy listening to it but I can only explain why I like it in non-musical (layman's) terms.

Third Level: I like that music / enjoy... See More

Many have asked me to unpack the meaning of "music appreciation". When someone asks you, "Are you able to appreciate this piece/genre of music?", what exact does that mean?

Music appreciation has different levels:

First Level: I like that music / enjoy listening to it but I can't explain why.

Second Level: I like that music / enjoy listening to it but I can only explain why I like it in non-musical (layman's) terms.

Third Level: I like that music / enjoy listening to it and I can decipher/analyse why I like it by relating it using music concepts and terms.

Fourth Level: Not only am I of the above (3rd Level), I can also play it if a score is given.

Fifth Level: Not only am I of the above (4th Level), I can also play it by sight-reading and also by ear.

Sixth Level: Not only am I of the above (5th Level), I can also play it by improvising it so that it adopts the style of another genre.

(Source: My synthesis of Reimer's Aesthetics Philosophy, Elliot's Praxial Philosophy & Revised Bloom's Taxonomy)

#MusicAesthetics

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Sng Yong Meng

Classically trained pianists who learn mainly by reading scores might challenge the order of level 4 and level 5, which of course is another highly debatable topic of its own. Any thoughts?

April 11, 2017 at 6:15am
Goh Zensen

There are two parts to this. First, the defined Level 5 here is not just having the ability to play-by-ear. It refers to those who can sight-read PLUS possessing the play-by-ear ability (dual... See More

There are two parts to this. First, the defined Level 5 here is not just having the ability to play-by-ear. It refers to those who can sight-read PLUS possessing the play-by-ear ability (dual skills). In other words, they are progressive in nature. Incidentally, and statistically speaking, there are indeed more who are able to sight-read than those who are able to play-by-ear, thus portraying the right pyramid structure.

Second, according to the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy, playing-by-ear is a higher -order thinking skill-set because while a computer can play out a piece of music when a MIDI score is fed onto it, it lacks the ability to play-by-ear (relative pitch, not absolute pitch because the former requires musicality while the latter does not). It is akin to newsreaders who can read a passage extremely well (with good diction and intonation) but are unable to speak well in the impromptu/off-the-cuff sense (when relating an incident).

April 11, 2017 at 9:18am
Chris Khoo

I agree with Yong Meng. For those who can play by ear, most of the time it's pretty effortless (it's an innate talent which can be cultivated further I believe ), whereas playing by score often... See More

I agree with Yong Meng. For those who can play by ear, most of the time it's pretty effortless (it's an innate talent which can be cultivated further I believe ), whereas playing by score often takes hard work and concentration (unless of course you can sight read effortlessly :)

April 11, 2017 at 9:18am
Chris Khoo

There are those who can't read music notes but can play a piece by ear even better than one who can read the score !

April 11, 2017 at 9:19am
goh-zensen-1469's picture
April 5, 2017 at 7:38pm

I've just listened to an atonal work. To summarise it in two words, I would use the acronym, "Organised Mess". Please note this has nothing to do with its superiority, beauty or aesthetic level.

#MusicAesthetics

of 7
Goh Zensen

"The Clothed Woman" does have tonal sections!

April 5, 2017 at 9:13pm
Wenqing

Like schoenbergish atonal?

April 5, 2017 at 9:43pm
Sng Yong Meng

Lol, Zensen's baby piano is a Schoenberg! Ok, I sidetracked. =D

April 7, 2017 at 1:46pm
Goh Zensen

Haha, Yong Meng, you do have a photographic memory!

April 7, 2017 at 3:10pm
goh-zensen-1469's picture
April 5, 2017 at 9:49pm

Finally I'm able to conduct this from tomorrow, after an ultra-long wait and preparation!

#events #concerts

of 2
Lim Jin Li

Hi Zensen, any details of the above mentioned workshop?

April 6, 2017 at 2:08am
Goh Zensen

Haha I'm conducting it FOC for my cluster schools of music teachers over three Thursday afternoons. As the intermediate level workshop I did for them was well received last year, they requested to... See More

Haha I'm conducting it FOC for my cluster schools of music teachers over three Thursday afternoons. As the intermediate level workshop I did for them was well received last year, they requested to go deeper into it. PM me if keen, thanks.

April 6, 2017 at 8:08am
lim-jin-li-1869's picture
April 5, 2017 at 12:53pm

Above is a link to a short film that depicts what goes on in some parts of our society.
Yong Meng, this is relevant to our discussion regarding why parents stop music learning for academics.

#general

of 3
Sng Yong Meng

Wow, that's a nice short animation film!

It was sad when the dad finally realises something, and it was too late - the violinist was no longer there.

How many times in life have we... See More

Wow, that's a nice short animation film!

It was sad when the dad finally realises something, and it was too late - the violinist was no longer there.

How many times in life have we let chances slip by us in this way - how familiar.

April 7, 2017 at 11:12am
Goh Zensen

This is indeed a touching movie! It unearths a crucial topic in Music & Society - what does our society hold the value/worth/esteem/respect towards the music discipline (as a course of study)... See More

This is indeed a touching movie! It unearths a crucial topic in Music & Society - what does our society hold the value/worth/esteem/respect towards the music discipline (as a course of study) and the career of a musician? Why are these not as highly regarded as compared to other areas of study and professions such as medicine, law, banking and engineering?

April 5, 2017 at 7:29pm
Chris Khoo

This video portrays the Singapore situation so well !

April 5, 2017 at 8:01pm
chris-khoo-911's picture
March 29, 2017 at 10:27pm

Responding to Yong Meng's request to post the photos of the Bosendorfer grand piano...which has 9 extra keys.. I played on it in 2006 in Toronto. This piano cost C$238,000 back then (see the price tag!). The extra 9 keys are in black in the last photo.

#PianoBrands #PianoModels

of 3
Sng Yong Meng

Is this the Bosendofer 290 Imperial model?

March 30, 2017 at 12:03pm
Chris Khoo

Absolutely ... (it says so on the white card). Want to buy one for Pianovers Meetups? :)

March 30, 2017 at 12:24pm
Sng Yong Meng

Lol, the extra keys will be under-utilised.

April 5, 2017 at 3:02pm
thepianosg-1's picture
April 3, 2017 at 9:39pm

One possible future Pianovers Meetup will be at D'Nest condominium's communal music jamming studio. Look at its legend on Club House 3 - Music Nest - they have a jamming studio, a karaoke room, and more! Julia, 全靠你了!

#ThePianoSG #pianovers #PianoversMeetup

of 5
Sng Yong Meng

Wow, a dedicated jamming studio designated by the Condo, which I believe is quite rare in Condos?

April 4, 2017 at 12:56am
Goh Zensen

Yes, only a few developments have that as a feature.

April 4, 2017 at 8:36am
Corrine Ying

This one's also in the far east :D

April 4, 2017 at 9:41am
Gee Yong

That will be nice :)

April 4, 2017 at 5:17pm
goh-zensen-1469's picture
March 31, 2017 at 12:19pm

Of late, I've noticed that more and more piano teachers (whom I know personally) are not genuinely passionate about music or music education. They are just treating it as a job (for income purposes), and thus perceiving any musicking activity (e.g. jamming with friends) as an extension to their job (which they would want to avoid). Any thoughts about this?

#teacher

of 4
Corrine Ying

Agree with Albert. Full-time music teachers can't afford to sacrifice their source of income for leisure activities. Not taking part in these activities doesn't mean they are not genuinely... See More

Agree with Albert. Full-time music teachers can't afford to sacrifice their source of income for leisure activities. Not taking part in these activities doesn't mean they are not genuinely interested in music education.

That said, leisure/social music-making does have its place in my life. That's why I have shifted a student to make space for the Pianover's Meetup every Sunday evening. However, other students may not be so accommodating. We all know that piano lessons are usually held at night or on weekends, which is (unfortunately) also the time that leisure and social activities take place.

A teacher who cancels lessons because of jamming sessions would not only lose income, but also come across as lacking commitment towards the student.

March 31, 2017 at 2:10pm
Goh Zensen

Now I see, thanks for sharing! Anyway a spin-off from this discussion is whether one believes in investments (aka "wasting time to gain time in the future"). While Corrine is willing to "... See More

Now I see, thanks for sharing! Anyway a spin-off from this discussion is whether one believes in investments (aka "wasting time to gain time in the future"). While Corrine is willing to "sacrifice" a regular piano lesson slot for attending Pianovers Meetups, she is doing it because of her passion in music and believes in doing this as a form of leisure activity. However, to others, have they ever wondered, by attending Pianovers Meetups, it is actually an investment (though giving up a piano lesson) because through networking, etc., one can garner more piano teaching assignments in the long run? And also possibly learning from fellow piano tutors on how to teach certain aspects which are challenging?

March 31, 2017 at 8:34pm
Corrine Ying

Zensen, you do have a point there. Although I participate in Pianover Meetups primarily for leisure and personal growth, I do see it as a way of enhancing one's teaching as well. Thanks for the... See More

Zensen, you do have a point there. Although I participate in Pianover Meetups primarily for leisure and personal growth, I do see it as a way of enhancing one's teaching as well. Thanks for the insights!

March 31, 2017 at 9:54pm
Chris Khoo

Do piano teachers generally have a more "academic" mindset when it comes to music vs those who have a more "performance-oriented" mindset? Just a thought. (I really appreciate everything my piano... See More

Do piano teachers generally have a more "academic" mindset when it comes to music vs those who have a more "performance-oriented" mindset? Just a thought. (I really appreciate everything my piano teachers taught me. :)

March 31, 2017 at 10:12pm
goh-zensen-1469's picture
March 29, 2017 at 11:25am

How do you teaching fingering on the piano? Do you advocate a "fixed way" for fingering (as spelled out in the score, especially), or do you train learners to adopt a more flexible approach?

#PianoMethods

of 4
Maxim Yanchenko

Both, depends on a situation. The written fingering, when it contradicts the habitual fingering of a student, frequently exposes weaknesses and gives a way to address them (for example, overuse of... See More

Both, depends on a situation. The written fingering, when it contradicts the habitual fingering of a student, frequently exposes weaknesses and gives a way to address them (for example, overuse of the third finger when the forth is more appropriate but it's weak and therefore uncomfortable to use). Otherwise the weaknesses would stay hidden and the student would end up with a very limited set of fingering patterns he's comfortable with.

March 29, 2017 at 11:30am
Goh Zensen

Thanks for your sharing!

March 29, 2017 at 11:37am
Goh Zensen

Explaining why music theorists are always lagging behind instrumentalists!

March 29, 2017 at 11:40am
Gee Yong

Adopt flexible approach due to short or long fingers. In playing different genre of music may requires different fingering techniques.

March 31, 2017 at 5:57pm
corrine-ying-1280's picture
March 27, 2017 at 12:38pm

How important are graded piano exams?
Feel free to discuss and debate

#exam

of 9
Goh Zensen

Indeed a very interesting topic!

March 27, 2017 at 10:22pm
Sng Yong Meng

Theng Beng, are your kids learning the piano currently?

March 27, 2017 at 10:41pm
Corrine Ying

Yong Meng's article has rightly pointed out the downsides of exam-oriented learning (weak sight-reading, limited repertoire and loss of interest which was also mentioned by Theng Beng). But as... See More

Yong Meng's article has rightly pointed out the downsides of exam-oriented learning (weak sight-reading, limited repertoire and loss of interest which was also mentioned by Theng Beng). But as Zensen said in the first comment, it ultimately boils down to the learner's objectives or purposes.

In defence of exams, these graded assessments are a tangible measure of one's progress, for the learner and for the parent. They are also a source of external motivation, which I believe, has its place alongside intrinsic motivation. Some kids may want to learn certain songs they like very much (e.g. from movies), but because they are unaware of the hard work and commitment needed to master the song, they may also give up eventually. Hence, being "forced" to learn something may not be as bad as it sounds.

The practical purposes would be, as Yong Meng mentioned, entry into MEP in schools or DSA, although an audition may also be held. Moreover, if a learner aspires to become a piano teacher, they would need to attain certification. A qualification from an established institution would enable employers to hire in a fair and objective way. If not, piano teachers would likely need to rely on personal connections or word-of-mouth recommendations.

March 29, 2017 at 11:10am
Gan Theng Beng

I am currently try to 'influence' my eldest daughter who is 10years old to pickup piano. I think she got good height, fingers are Long enough and still flexible. She currently still prefer guitar... See More

I am currently try to 'influence' my eldest daughter who is 10years old to pickup piano. I think she got good height, fingers are Long enough and still flexible. She currently still prefer guitar over piano. I always believe piano is the fundamental basic of all musical instruments. Once you knew piano then you could pick up and learn other musical instruments.

March 30, 2017 at 5:54pm
thepianosg-1's picture
March 30, 2017 at 10:11am

Thank you Vanessa and Mitch for your performance of the theme song from the popular "Bubble Bobble" video game which brings back childhood memories of playing the game.

#ThePianoSG #pianovers #PianoversMeetup

goh-zensen-1469's picture
March 30, 2017 at 9:34am

Since I'm a music theorist, I shall start the ball rolling. Personally, I don't quite like the name of this discipline because it often carries with it a not-so-positive connotation. Why? Generally people would associate it with the learning of (especially) the Western 5-lined stave or notation system (or what we colloquially call it 'the tadpoles' or 'beansprouts').

But we know that Music Theory comprises much more than that - other than notations, it also touches on items such as... See More

Since I'm a music theorist, I shall start the ball rolling. Personally, I don't quite like the name of this discipline because it often carries with it a not-so-positive connotation. Why? Generally people would associate it with the learning of (especially) the Western 5-lined stave or notation system (or what we colloquially call it 'the tadpoles' or 'beansprouts').

But we know that Music Theory comprises much more than that - other than notations, it also touches on items such as harmony, modulations and syncopated rhythms.

Thus, I would prefer to call it 'music concepts'. It is akin to 'salesman' being re-coined as 'sales engineers'.

Closely related to this, the titles of the music arranger and copywriters aren't going a service to what they deserve - people who don't know are likely to misconceive them respectively as "workers who arrange for music events, including coordinating logistics matters" and "workers who copy (or transcribe) what someone articulates orally onto a piece of paper".

Any thoughts to share?

#MusicTheory

lim-jin-li-1869's picture
March 27, 2017 at 1:03pm

Do you think piano technician/restoration is a diminishing trade in Singapore? Do you think it is a correlation to the number of pianist in Singapore? Feel free to share your observations and experience!

#PianoCare #technician

of 7
Corrine Ying

Haha i prefer the analogy of "car dealer" vs "car mechanic".

March 29, 2017 at 6:53pm
Sng Yong Meng

Jin Li, I also observe that there is no official education route that leads to a piano tuner or piano technician career in Singapore.

Consequently, here's a thought:
For so many years... See More

Jin Li, I also observe that there is no official education route that leads to a piano tuner or piano technician career in Singapore.

Consequently, here's a thought:
For so many years, most pianists, parents, students, schools have employed piano tuners and technicians without much background check on whether they have the necessary certifications, and the tuners and technicians are hired, more often than not, based on trust and assumptions.

If you want to hire a tuition teacher, you might ask for their education certificates to demonstrate the fundamental level of credibility. (Even if he has the paper qualifications, it does not mean he will be a good teacher.)

If you want to hire a swimming instructor, you also might ask for his Instructor Certificate before entrusting your kids to learn from him.

I think we hire plumbers without knowledge whether he has the certifications or not.

This can actually open up another topic: If a person has acquired sufficient experience and expertise to perform his responsibilities and is able to fulfil his duties, does he need to possess any paper qualifications before you will consider him for employment?

March 29, 2017 at 7:10pm
Goh Zensen

Corrine - you're right - 'car dealer vs mechanic' is a much better analogy!

March 29, 2017 at 8:31pm
Lim Jin Li

Yong Meng, interestingly I actually had this discussion with 2 young budding piano technicians.

To perfect any skill, the best results come from mindful repetition. Hence the argument is... See More

Yong Meng, interestingly I actually had this discussion with 2 young budding piano technicians.

To perfect any skill, the best results come from mindful repetition. Hence the argument is whether there is a need to go all out and seek formal education for it (the vocational courses are very expensive), why not just stay in Singapore and apprentice under a skilled piano technician?

First reason being lack of apprenticeship opportunities. There are limited piano technicians to begin with, compounded with few are willing to teach for various reasons; some are retired; some are not interested; inconvenient for freelance piano technicians to have an apprentice going around people's houses with them, plus the fact that they might not actually have calls every day. Therefore the only condition match for apprenticeship is probably a 2nd hand piano shop with a piano technician who is willing to teach as that is the only condition where there is an abundance of piano to work on under guidance.

Secondly, a formal institute will have a curriculum designed to gain recognition from reputable pianists/organisations, hence apprentice and companies will have confidence in the education provided. I think this applies for all certificates/paper that we gain in any field of discipline. Traditional apprenticeship has more room for questions and doubts for the teaching methods, hence one has to really know the good from the bad to be able to choose the right place to invest their time for learning.

With the above being said, "Practice makes perfect" still holds true. A certificate/paper in piano restoration/tuning is only good for the first step forward in the industry, it does not guarantee the quality of work provided. Just my 2 cents.

March 29, 2017 at 10:53pm
goh-zensen-1469's picture
March 27, 2017 at 9:18am

Do music need to be technically challenging in order to be superior or aesthetic? This is a highly divided issue in Music Aesthetics. Would like to hear your views and rationale!

#MusicAesthetics

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Goh Zensen

Expressions or interpretations aside, pianists who can run fast passages skilfully (with precise notes and precise rhythm/duration) may perceive that they can play both fast pieces and slow music... See More

Expressions or interpretations aside, pianists who can run fast passages skilfully (with precise notes and precise rhythm/duration) may perceive that they can play both fast pieces and slow music with similar precision/accuracy. But others who have difficulty playing fast passages can only play slower works. Thus their argument might be: A sports car can be faster than a regular car, but it can be as slow as a ergular car too, if it wants to be. But a regular car can never be as a fast as a sports car.

March 27, 2017 at 8:12pm
Goh Zensen

In fact we are dwelling into a topic that encroaches into social-politics. How do we comfort or encourage someone (who has the aspiration to be a doctor and has been working hard towards it... See More

In fact we are dwelling into a topic that encroaches into social-politics. How do we comfort or encourage someone (who has the aspiration to be a doctor and has been working hard towards it throughout his life) who is janitor, because he failed to make it to becoming a doctor or any other white-collar professions? By the same token, we know of several instrumentalist-aspirants who have been learning to master the playing of piano for decades but they can never reach the technically-challenging levels required of most classical piano concertos. What should we be telling this person?

Verdi, as we know him, is one of the greatest composers, especially in writing Opera music. But did you know that he was very poor in playing the piano? But his music works are supreme! Which explains I don't agree with Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, which sees Musical Intelligence as one unique factor in mankind. My point here is: While someone is excellent as an instrumentalist but poor at composing, other are the opposite.

March 27, 2017 at 8:31pm
Corrine Ying

Zensen: In terms of performing ability, there are more objective methods to measure this. However, if we're talking about composing ability, like what you said, it's a different matter altogether... See More

Zensen: In terms of performing ability, there are more objective methods to measure this. However, if we're talking about composing ability, like what you said, it's a different matter altogether. That is why, very few child prodigies grow up to become geniuses who change the world. Because while these prodigies are excellent at playing music or are very knowledgeable in whatever field they're in, they rarely produce anything original.

I am neither a concert pianist nor a composer, but I don't consider myself a failed musician because, my mission is to spread the lifelong love of piano music to others, and that's enough meaning and purpose for me.

March 30, 2017 at 1:13am
Goh Zensen

Corrine, well said! If you trust my musical judgement, your performance standard is on par with concert pianists'!

March 30, 2017 at 1:15am
goh-zensen-1469's picture
March 25, 2017 at 10:26pm

One item which delights me is that we can now play musical instruments in the MRT train. In the past this was forbidden by law (and spelt out explicitly in small prints at each station).

#MusicLaw #copyright

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Goh Zensen

Yes, a permit is needed for a person to busk. But if we are simply playing an instrument INSIDE the moving train itself, it is a different scenario altogether.

March 27, 2017 at 8:21am
Sng Yong Meng

Jin Li, did the accordionist play on the platform, or inside the train?

April 4, 2017 at 10:41am
Lim Jin Li

From what I know, I think buskers are only allowed to play on platforms for now.

March 27, 2017 at 11:43am
Goh Zensen

When my car is sent for the next servicing, I'm going to play my recorder, pianica and accordion on the MRT train!

March 27, 2017 at 1:55pm
sng-yong-meng-85's picture
March 28, 2017 at 10:15am

Visited a piano shop yesterday with Jerome, Gee Yong, and Julia, and tried on a Fazioli.

What are your views on Fazioli pianos?

#PianoBrands #PianoModels

of 4
Chris Khoo

Have never tried this piano. But have tried the super grand one with extra keys (in black )

March 28, 2017 at 10:21am
Sng Yong Meng

Did that happen in SG?

March 28, 2017 at 10:36am
Chris Khoo

No in Toronto, Canada

March 28, 2017 at 11:12am
Sng Yong Meng

Nice! If you still have a pic of that, and don't mind sharing; post it here! =)

March 28, 2017 at 11:55am
corrine-ying-1280's picture
March 25, 2017 at 8:50pm

Dear pianists, I'd like to ask you all to share about your journey in learning the piano. How and when did you start? What was your highest and lowest point in the journey?

#general

of 2
Goh Zensen

For me, music was completely self-taught and self-researched. In other words, I don't have any music teacher to date. Like Max, from age 7, I started self-learning music first "by eye" - meaning... See More

For me, music was completely self-taught and self-researched. In other words, I don't have any music teacher to date. Like Max, from age 7, I started self-learning music first "by eye" - meaning when my 4th brother had his first Yamaha organ (and he was the one attending lessons at Yamaha), I tried remembering when and where he exactly played which keys/notes and duplicated his playing thereafter. Later, as I self-explored and read more about music theories, I began to develop methodologies for playing-by-ear, and devised my own music theory at age 17. Sad to say, I only had my piano from age 17!

March 25, 2017 at 10:01pm
Corrine Ying

I'd say my lowest point was after getting my piano diploma, and the highest point would be when I found Pianover Meetups. Now I'll go into more detail (be prepared for grandmother story)...

... See More

I'd say my lowest point was after getting my piano diploma, and the highest point would be when I found Pianover Meetups. Now I'll go into more detail (be prepared for grandmother story)...

I started showing interest in piano from 6 years old, by playing out the tunes I heard on TV. Parents enrolled me in piano lessons and I went on the conventional ABRSM route. Was pretty motivated until diploma level, where my playing was deemed unmusical. All along my repertoire had been limited to exam pieces, but thankfully the Music Elective Programme in JC offered more opportunities to play duets, 2-piano works, and perform in public. My JC teacher, who was really passionate about music, inspired me to further my music studies at a tertiary level.

However, I hit another low point as I started to struggle with the more technically demanding music. I lost confidence as I felt my small hands could not handle the virtuosic Romantic music that sounded so beautiful and impressive. I chose to do a dissertation and gave up practising the piano. It was ironic because as a music grad, I was losing interest in music. And at that time, I was unaware that my piano world was limited to classical music.

One day, I chanced upon the piano arrangement of Super Mario Bros (the most popular video game in the 80s) and found I really enjoyed playing it. I began searching for more of such arrangements of video game and movie music, and progressed to doing my own transcriptions. It was at that point (in my mid 20s) that something clicked and I understood musicality! Even my playing of classical works became more musical.

But while I was playing those songs I truly enjoyed, I felt something was missing. I wished I could connect with other people instead of just playing them for myself. My wish was granted when I found Pianover Meetups! Participating in the meetups expanded my world. I met people who were self-taught musicians, people who improvised, played by ear and seniors who were still persevering despite their age. I discovered new perspectives and interesting, new repertoire. A big "thank you" to Yong Meng for his vision and dedication!

March 26, 2017 at 10:33am

 

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