D-Flat Studios presented Singapore’s first digital piano exam for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) examinations on 9 March 2018. Joshua Hanitio, 12, sat for his Grade 5 piano exam on the Grand Hybrid GP-500 Digital Piano, scoring a distinction, a first for music education in Singapore.
As one of Singapore’s leading music schools, D-Flat Studios pushed for the idea to have piano exams conducted on digital pianos in 2018. This was made possible with technology developed by CASIO and C. Bechstein, resulting in a digital piano that performs and feels like a regular acoustic piano. ABRSM requires that “when exams are held at visits, a digital piano may be used, provided it has a clearly recognisable piano tone, a touch sensitive keyboard with full-size weighted keys, and an action, compass and facilities that match those of a conventional acoustic piano, including a sustaining pedal”. This is a signal that ABRSM, the world’s leading provider of music exams, committed to high quality music-making has endorsed the use of digital pianos for examinations, with the vision brought to life in Singapore through D-flat Studios and Casio.
Digital pianos have had a surge in uptake in Singapore due to its affordability, ease of maintenance and portability. Additional reasons parents and music aficionados have opted for digital pianos over its acoustic counterparts also include the compactness of these pianos, a key consideration factor in Singapore where most people live in apartments.
“We have always believed that music education should be available to all. Since the inception of our studio, we have advocated for the use of digital pianos, to overcome the inhibition of parents who see music education as expensive. Given the advancement of digital piano technology, owning a high quality instrument is now a reality for most households. We are proud to be able to witness Singapore’s first digital piano exam in our very own studio and see this winning combination of digital technology and classical music taking flight,” says Aaron Goh, General Manager of D-Flat Studios.
When Joshua Hanitio transferred his lessons from another school a year ago, D-Flat Studios registered him for the ABRSM exams within the year, and also presented him for a recital in February 2018 on a digital piano. On his first examination experience, he says, “The digital piano has a few functions that helped me in my preparations. The metronome was helpful in keeping tempo, and the playback allowed me to record and analyse my performance.”
With lesson fees starting from only $188/month, students have benefited from D-Flat’s music programme and gone on to perform on national and international stages. Their teachers seek to inspire and encourage a love for music, placing importance on lifelong-learning by encouraging a performance-based learning environment.