Frequently Asked Questions (Courses)

Useful links:

Click here ► for courses fees To enroll in any of our courses, you may either register in person or on-line. Click here ► to register on-line

Securing a time slot for your preferred course is only possible after you have completed the registration process. Meanwhile, we will be happy to respond to any course-related enquiries via email or phone call. Our courses are as follows: Pop Piano Improvisation, Jazz Piano Improvisation, Pop Vocal, & Pop Piano Improvisation Junior. The courses provided are for adults, teenagers and children.

For one-on-one courses, you may postpone your regular lesson (up to a maximum of one lesson per month), provided you notify the school 3 days in advance, via any of the following methods:

DIY by accessing the APP

If the above condition is fulfilled, a make-up lesson will be credited to you. It is of utmost importance to note that you should NEVER postpone your regular lessons (or book any makeup lessons) through your instructor. Reason being, your instructor has no access to our main booking system and the master schedule, which everyone in PBE relies on for our official schedules. PLEASE always go through the official channels stated above, when you need any help with administrative matters.

Please email us at or whatsapp us at 91798110 for the latest available slots as these are subject to frequent, daily changes. Even better, you may let us know your preferred day and time of the week (for example, weekday nights, on weekends or during any afternoons) and we shall try our best to find you a suitable slot.

You can book a make-up lesson one week in advance of the desired date, via

Please note that the student booking scheduler is available and updated on a weekly basis.

Click here ► for self assessment to determine your current level

All new students enrolled in PBE start at either Level 1 or Level 2. (Students enrolling in jazz courses should have at least ABRSM Grade 8 or equivalent). In general, students with absolutely NO musical background, who are unfamiliar with musical notes/alphabets or unable to play a simple tune with both hands, should start at Level 1. Students with some music experience, such as classical training, or self-taught musicians who are able to play simple songs with 2 hands, may enrol in Level 2. Many students of varying musical backgrounds do enrol at level 2 straightaway. If you start at Level 2 and realize that you missed out certain topics from level 1, it is ok, as your PBE instructor is well able to bring you up to speed on any subject matter covered at Level 1, if necessary. If, in the event you feel that you are enrolled in the wrong level, you will always have the option of switching level within the first lesson. If you are really unsure, you may opt to take a paid trial lesson first, before signing up for regular lessons.

You need to give 4 weeks’ advanced written notice (for peak hour students) to the school. To do so, please email us at and we will process your request.

Yes. When your instructor is absent due to medical or other official leave, a relief instructor is assigned to cover lessons on his or her behalf, in order that your lessons may continue without disruption. If you decide not to have a relief instructor, you can opt for a makeup lesson credit.

Unfortunately, our human resource system is unable to accommodate such an arrangement. However, if you have a friend that wishes to learn, and both of you are able to co-ordinate or rotate among yourselves to attend lessons every alternate week (at the same timeslot), we would gladly allow it. In this case, both you and your friend will share one account (under one name) and will be treated as ‘one student’ to avoid any administrative confusion.

The school’s peak hours are from 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on weekdays, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. The off-peak hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays only.

Its free for PBE active students. The students’ practice room is located at Room 5 on the 3rd floor. There is also a waiting area on the 2nd floor with additional pianos for student’s use. All current PBE students are entitled to use the facilities on a first-come-first-serve basis without any booking. You will need to bring your own set of headphones or earphones while practicing with our digital pianos.

Yes. $10 per hour for a standard piano studio.

All newly-registered PBE students will receive a complementary P.B.E.S™ student edition textbook relevant to their current level. As you progress to higher levels, the corresponding P.B.E.S™ student edition textbook for that level will be provided as well. Hence, no purchase is necessary.

Yes, you can. Each replacement copy is priced at $15. We encourage students to take good care of their textbooks.

You certainly may request to learn under a particular instructor, as we understand that many students recommend our school and their instructor to friends. However, please understand that this will depend on the instructor’s availability. It would be more prudent to choose a time slot that suits you best and that you can commit to. This results in a more consistent learning program.

Yes, most certainly. Although all of our instructors have gone through quality checks and are qualified PBES instructors, we understand that human interactions and social chemistry may naturally differ. Teaching styles will vary a little from instructor to instructor. Please feel free to give us feedback about this, and allow us to re-assign another instructor to you. We will never take it personally and you should never feel awkward for wanting this, as it is not uncommon at PBES. We want to offer the most suitable instructor to each of our students. Besides, this is one of the benefits of joining a music school as opposed to learning from a private instructor. The school provides many instructors to ensure one that will fit your requirements.

You are most welcome to do so, if you feel that the gender of the instructor would make a positive impact on your learning. However, all our instructors are trained to provide a conducive and enjoyable learning environment.

We are open 7 days a week, except on public holidays. Our operating hours are as follows: Monday – Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:15 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In general, we encourage our students to commit to their regular weekly lessons. Sticking with the same instructor at a regular time slot is more conducive to your learning progress. If you have to miss your lesson, we can be flexible and conduct a replacement lesson on another day, as long as you give 3 working days’ notice (for peak hour students) and provided there are available slots for replacement. However, you are only allowed to postpone or make changes to your regular lessons up to ONCE a month.

Yes, we certainly do. Most of our students are working adults, thus making weekday evenings and weekends the peak timings for classes. Our last time slot for lessons on weekday nights is 8:30 p.m., and 4:15 p.m. for weekends.

Regular lessons are conducted individually, 1-on-1. This provides a comfortable, conducive and safe learning environment, which is specifically tailored to each student’s learning rates and abilities. There is no need to worry if you are learning too fast or too slow, as your instructor will speed up or slow down depending on your abilities. PBE supplementary group workshops are ‘one-off’ and are not meant to replace your regular individual lessons.

Your monthly school fees are due before the start of the following month. For example, your October school fees will be due on the last week of September.

Generally, all our classes are conducted in English. However, if you are more comfortable learning in a different language, please inform us and we will do our best to offer you an instructor that speaks your language. Please understand that this is dependent on our instructors’ availability and their familiarity with your requested language.

Yes, as a potential student, if you are still unsure about what a Play By Ear course can offer you, you are welcome to book a trial lesson at the school administrator counter. The trial lesson costs $65 and it is independent from any other school fees (ie, should you decide not to sign up after the trial, there is nothing else to pay).

For one-on-one courses, you will receive a makeup lesson credit which you can use to book a class either in the same week, or sometime in the future. If you do not give the school at least 3 days’ advanced notice, the lesson will be considered forfeited.

Yes, you may request to change. However, although we would like to assist you with your request as soon as possible, it also depends on the existing schedule and availability of instructors. Having said so, we usually do our best to help facilitate the change, giving our existing students priority to choose their preferred timeslot.

Yes, provided you are able to show a copy of your MC to our administrator at the counter, who will then credit your account a recuperation/makeup lesson for the one you missed.

Unfortunately, no. In order to prevent any potential abuse of our school’s system and administration process, we need to apply consistency and be fair to other students who had their lessons forfeited due to last minute cancellation (sometimes because of their work requirements), and to the school management.

Makeup lessons may be used at any time (via with any instructor of your choice (except on your regular weekly time slot). In other words, you won’t be able to use your recuperations lesson to “cover” or “offset” one of your regular weekly lessons. However, you can use it at other times, including back-to-back with your regular lesson, as well as for workshops.

When you postpone a regular lesson, you will be credited with a makeup lesson. The credited recuperation lesson that you earned cannot be re-imbursed as a next month’s school fee. Your monthly school fee will always be the usual standard full month fee – the equivalent of 4 regular lessons (or 5 regular lessons depending on the particular month).

You may offset your makeup lesson credit(s) with a validity period of 1 year.

Yes, you may. In such event, there are 2 possible approaches. The first is to treat it as a “suspension” or temporary “termination” of classes, where you are required to give a 4 weeks’ notice (for peak hour students). Upon suspension, you will not be required to pay fees for the months that you are away. You also will not accumulate any recuperation lessons. However, by doing so, your regular lesson time slot will be made available to other students. If you wish for us to reserve the time slot for you, you may choose the second approach, which is to pay the full fees as usual, and then postpone the lessons that you will be missing. In this event, you will accumulate a lot of recuperation lessons (which we strongly discourage).

The school only accepts cash payments or payment via NETS. We do not accept credit cards.

Each private teaching studio is built to create a conducive learning environment. Every studio is equipped with a Yamaha Clavinova (Digital Piano). Lessons are 45 minutes each, and are conducted by your very own personal instructor. The instructor will teach you improvisation techniques and skills during the lesson, which can be applied to your choice of pop songs.

No, we do not. All our classes are currently conducted in the school’s premises. Our school environment is conducive for learning, and each classroom is equipped with a high-tech digital piano and writing materials. Our instructors have easy access to our song library when they conduct lessons in the school. We do provide ZOOM / Skype lessons though.

You may suspend your lessons for as long as you wish, as we will never “force” or “pressure” you to return. We understand that working adults can be busy and have many responsibilities. When you do resume classes, the administrative charges are waived.

It is better to book at a later date, as our instructor’s schedule changes on a weekly basis. You may, however, enquire about the availability of time slots, as some slots may only be available in 1-2 months’ time, and this will be ideal for your situation.

The school fees for the full calendar month will always be payable, regardless of whether you attend all or only some of the lessons. If you successfully postpone a lesson with 3 days’ notice, a recuperation lesson will be credited to you and you can utilise it at any time, even months later. The recuperation lesson(s) have a validity period of 1 year.

Lessons are conducted every week unless the particular lesson day falls on a public holiday, during which the school will be closed. In the event that there are 5 weekly lessons in a particular month, your lesson fees will be prorated accordingly. For example, if your monthly school fee is $160 (based on 4 lessons), your school fees for the month with 5 weeks will be $40×5 = $200 (based on 5 lessons). However, if the school is closed for a public holiday, fees will not be charged for that particular day.

In general, Level 1 may be completed within 2-4 months; Level 2 in 6-9 months; Level 3 in 6-9 months; and Level 4 in 6-9 months. However, the actual length of time depends on the individual student’s learning pace and commitment to practice.

The entire course is designed for completion within 2 years, but it depends on each individual. Some would prefer to learn for a shorter term, or by doing a “crash” course. You may decide for yourself the duration of your study at Play by Ear Music School.

We are not an exam-orientated music school, as many of our students wish to learn for recreational purposes. However, if students wish to be assessed, we do conduct the P.B.E.S™ exams on a yearly basis. The exams are conducted by certified P.B.E.S™ examiners from our PBE Japan HQ and may be used to gauge your ability to progress to the next level.

Yes, it is possible, if the instructor is free. However, they are usually busy teaching and only have limited time during their lunch or dinner break. It may not be too “fair” to them to use their break time to speak to potential students, unless it is going to be very short. We recommend that you sign up for a paid, no-obligation trial lesson instead, during which you can have a full 45 minutes to interact with the instructor and understand how a lesson is conducted, which is much better.

As we are not an exam-orientated music school, your instructor will informally assess your playing skills and understanding from time to time, and inform you when you are ready to progress to the next level. The completion of the P.B.E.Syllabus™ lesson modules at each level serves as a good gauge and as a standard requirement for each level. Your instructor is the best person to assess your skills and to ensure that you have understood and are able to demonstrate application of the concepts learnt at your current level. You may also refer to the upgrading procedures here ►

You will get a certificate of completion at each level upon passing the non-compulsory P.B.E.S™ exams. However, certificates are not applicable if you do not wish to take exams.

We currently have approximately 20 instructors at any one point of time.

Just bring yourself, and the given PBE student text book (A5 size) and CE card, which you will need to bring to every lesson.

PBE workshops are one-off learning sessions. Each workshop has a different theme and is suitable for a particular level. PBE students may utilize their recuperation lesson credits to pay for the PBE workshops (1 recuperation lesson for 1 workshop), or pay separately at a rate of $65. The workshops are also open to the public at a rate of $65 per workshop.

The requirement of a school deposit is common among established music schools. It is retained as a security deposit for us, in the event where students are late or default on their fee payments or if they terminate their lessons without giving the required 4 weeks’ advance notice.

Please send us an email at and we might be able to work something out for you.