From left to right: Sng Yong Meng, Deborah Tham, Rinat Valiev, Serene Cheng, Dorothy Chia
Photo Credit: Steven Tor PH
To know and interact with fellow piano teachers in Singapore, is simply - euphoric. On this little Red Dot, there are many interest groups, which include K-pop Dancing, Photography, and Cycling. However, an interest group for Piano Teachers is quite unheard of, probably due to the individualistic nature of piano playing. Here's at least one from Meetup.com - Singapore Piano Teachers.
The Singapore Piano Teachers meetup group was started in June 2013 and currently boasts more than 100 members comprising active music teachers. There have been more than 45 activities organized in the past 2 years. The meetups range from small group breakfast meetings to discuss selected topics related to piano teaching, formal seminars conducted by invited lecturers eg. iPad Music Course by Ms. Julia Wee, and Impressionist Art & Music workshop by Ms. Cynthia Tan. Members also get invited to book launches by Singapore Piano Teachers meetup group founder, Ms. Dorothy Chia, owner of Forte Music Training, piano teacher and author of Piano Pedagogy and Theory Explorer. "As piano teachers, we often work in a solitary manner in a schedule that does not conform to normal 9-to-5 working hours. This group was formed to allow piano teachers to get together to socialise, offer support, network and grow professionally", says Dorothy.
Today's lunch social was arranged at Russkiy Dome, a Russian Restaurant along West Coast Highway, just opposite Haw Par Villa. It is a small cosy place in the reddish Westway Building, and is also absolutely great for a getaway from the usual Hawker Centres and Cafes. By 12.30pm, Deborah, Dorothy and financé - Steven, Serene, and me were already looking through the menu which offers so many choices of authentic Russian food. We were also introduced to the chef cum restaurant owner - Rinat. He's a Russian from Uzbekistan, and has lived in Singapore for 5 years. He is also Deborah's husband! Ha - didn't see that coming, right?
The dynamics was awesome, as we chatted about the matryoshka doll, our recent upbeats in life; and topics like organising concerts for our own students, and music mobile apps that can help students. It was really exciting to hear everyone's views and discover new perspectives. It was casual, cosy, warm, and inviting. And despite the nature of the interest group revolving around piano, Deborah is actually a violin teacher!
I certainly do believe that a piano interest group can also be a great support system for piano teachers, since we can identify and unify to help solve another teacher's problems, and provide emotional support for one another. Some of us are experienced piano teachers who have taught for many years and we might just be able to offer tips and advices to those who have just started the teaching profession; whilst they can, on the other hand, broaden our horizons by showing us new approaches to the otherwise traditionals.
The Singapore Piano Teachers group is meeting this month for a course "Understanding Dyslexia and Autism" and a free studio class session, "Moonlight the Moonlight Sonata". Interested teachers can join the group by searching for Singapore Piano Teachers in www.meetup.com.
The views expressed in this reading article are personal and do not represent the views of the members or organisers of this meetup activity.
And if you are part of, or know another Piano Teachers group in Singapore, email me!