Casio's Interview with Sng Yong Meng

Casio's Interview with Sng Yong Meng
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Since ThePiano.SG was founded in 2015, it has been earnestly forming an inclusive community of piano lovers in Singapore. Indeed, ThePiano.SG’s vision is to be the leader in connecting people in the piano community. Pianovers, as the piano lovers are affectionately known, of all backgrounds and skill levels are welcome to join our community. At ThePiano.SG, we truly believe that music transcends boundaries!

ThePiano.SG’s flagship event is the Pianovers Meetup. This weekly meeting, held at Piano Park @ URA Centre every Sunday at 5pm, offers a platform for Pianovers to come together and play the piano, enjoy listening to the piano and to network with like-minded people. Through the weekly sessions, Pianovers get exposed to piano music and grow together in knowledge and skill. Since July 2016, ThePiano.SG has conducted 61 Meetups and each session has been very well-received. Friendships have been formed and the Pianovers have grown into a very tightly-knit community.

As a testament to the role that ThePiano.SG has played in connecting people in the piano community, we have been featured in Casio Music Circle Newsletter Issue #03. The Casio Music Circle Newsletter is a publication from Casio Singapore, targeted at users of its electronic pianos, and it is our honour to have been interviewed for a feature. This interview with Casio Singapore comes hot on the heels of our appearance in Challenge Magazine, the publication of the Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office, and more recently, another appearance in Singapore’s national daily The Straits Times.

Apart from being featured in print publications, ThePiano.SG has also appeared on television news. We were seen on both Channel 5 and Channel NewsAsia, both on 12 September 2016, as well as on Channel 8 on 25 October 2016. The video clips display our Pianovers Meetups sessions and seen on television were our Pianovers Joshua Peter, Chris Khoo and Tabitha Gan, among others, as they performed on the pianos.

Below is the full interview with Casio Singapore.

 

“The man behind Singapore’s fastest growing Piano community.”

Today, we are glad to have Yong Meng, the founder of ThePiano.SG to share with us about his vision and contribution to the Piano community.

 

1. Could you kindly share with us why you started ThePiano.SG?

Instead of getting myself a job related to computing after graduating with a Bachelor of Computing in Computer Science, my passion in piano guided me like a North Star, clear and sharp. I was also an alumni of the NUS Piano Ensemble and was involved in the Marketing Committee. I decided to give piano lessons full-time.

In the many years of teaching, I came across students who gave up piano learning due to heavy school homework or other commitments. There weren’t many performing opportunities for them. Some did not have peers learning the piano too and felt it was a lonely path forward. There were even students who are only learning three pieces each year, with the only goal of passing the piano exam. This was a very sad phenomenon which motivated me to write an article, What is bad about exam oriented learning. Most parents were clueless how to buy the first piano for their child. Many were unaware the various brands, choices and options in the market. Selling their piano was also a challenge. Most were unsure how often their pianos should be tuned, whether the pianos were tuned properly, how late into the night they could play the piano. Those who were more competent are unaware of the various piano competitions they can subscribe to and how they can build towards a career as a performing pianist. These are but some of the common observations.

It became crystal clear to me that there is a need for someone to take the first step forward and make a positive difference for everyone.

 

2. What is your vision for ThePiano.SG?

To become the leader at connecting people in the piano community.

 

3. We heard you started this Piano community called Pianovers. Do share with us what is it about and how you came up with that name? Who can attend Pianover?

Pianovers = Piano + Lovers

Pianovers Meetup connects people in the piano community, whether you are young or old, a budding pianist or a virtuoso, or an armchair music enthusiast!

Whether novice or experienced, you are welcome to share your favourite pieces and play for us. There are certainly many pieces which we are unaware of and through your sharing, our repertoire will grow. Sometimes, we even have Pianovers playing their self-composed pieces! Learning is a lifelong process, and here in Pianovers Meetup, we find joy in learning from one another.

 

4, We've heard that Pianovers Meetup has been running weekly for 50 sessions. It must be difficult to organise such an event weekly. Care to share with us what motivates you?

Indeed, a few of my friends suggest that the Pianovers Meetup could be held once every month instead, because organising it weekly is very time consuming. What most Pianovers might not know is the tremendous amount of effort in the preparation of the event, as well as post-event tasks.

To build a relationship, there has to be interaction between the parties. It's especially more so for a piano community where we connect via music. It is piano that brings us together to a common place to connect, bond and perform. Seeing how people from all walks of life come together to socialise and become part of this big family of piano lovers is a great joy and is truly rewarding.

 

5. Are there any upcoming events/activities that we can look forward to?

Besides the weekly Pianovers Meetup, we are always looking for innovative and interesting ways to engage and benefit the piano community further.

In Dec 2016, we conducted our inaugural Pianovers Sailaway, a sold-out event, which saw four digital pianos placed on board a yacht as it sailed out to the open sea in the evening. It was a very memorable event for the 40 people who attended!

We held our very first piano event within a restaurant during Pianovers Hours in Jun 2017. Featuring a white, Essex-designed grand piano, Pianovers Hours saw a group of pasisonate Pianovers coming together and enjoying music over a good dinner. On top of the usual Mini-Recital, everyone is treated to a Speaker Sharing and a Recital Showcase! The good acoustics provided by the enclosed and airconditioned environment certainly allowed all to enjoy good music that evening!

Pianovers School is the newest addition to our growing list of events. At the invitation of Zhonghua Primary School, ThePiano.SG visited the school during its Art Festival. We addressed the staff and students during their morning Assembly, where a guest pianist, Asher Seow, from another school played a piece. There was also a booth set up in a corner of the school. Many students crowded around the booth and had fun playing the piano!

By the time you read this, we would have hosted our Pianovers Recital. This event was held on 20 Aug 2017 to celebrate the first Anniversary of Pianovers Meetup where we assist aspiring pianists take to the stage, to realise their dreams of performing at a recital and to celebrate the success of their music journey together as one big family.

In the coming months, we will continue to bring exciting events to the local piano community. Keep a lookout on our website and Facebook Page when we announce them in due time.

 

6. Is there anything you would like to say to our Casio Music Circle members?

Bring your piano students along for the Pianovers Meetup for them to gain public exposure and develop self-confidence outside the classroom setting. It is only by going out there and learning from peers that one can truly benefit in one’s musical journey. Indeed, giving pianists an environment away from the classroom is one of the benefits that Pianovers Meetup offers to pianists. We highly encourage other pianists and piano teachers to join us!

 

 

It is indeed exciting that ThePiano.SG has been featured in the Casio Music Circle Newsletter. We look forward to having more Pianovers join our community and hope to build an even stronger network! Do join us during our upcoming Pianovers Meetups and connect with fellow piano lovers!