I learned to play the classical piano when I was studying in Primary 5, only to find the learning journey short-lived; I did not enjoy classical music as much as pop, and was quickly bored by it. I don't listen to classical music at all! It has always been one of my biggest dreams to be able to play the piano. One day, I decided to Google for pop piano music schools in Singapore, and there, I came across PBE. One of the videos on the website was featuring an improvised version of Jay Chou’s music composition. That blew me away and I decided to put my foot down and signed up as a student. I have been enjoying every piano lessons since.. The syllabus is very comprehensive and very much tailored for beginners with little or no music background.
It was an encounter with a pianist who was playing a Super Mario tune at a café in states that intrigued and stirred my passion. I mean, he was playing SUPER MARIO and played it very well; I like video games and had played Super Mario on several game stations. That impressionable moment of the pianist playing at the cosy café, sparked an idea in me. “How nice if I can too, play on the piano as entertainment to a bunch of friends.” Besides, piano seems to be the only musical instrument that appeals to me more for its enchanting sound. So, when I found PBE , I took the step to sign up for piano lessons. That is what I like about learning piano here in PBE; music examinations are optional. On the contrary, most music schools in Shanghai emphasize a lot on academic achievements which I am not keen in at all. I am glad that PBE promotes fun and leisure piano playing.
HuiYiSocial Worker/Church Keyboardist
I used to take classical piano lessons in my secondary school days but I stopped eventually due to my increased school assignments; you need time to practice the piano, and I could not the time to do that back then. I would rather have some fun time with my friends and family whenever I was free from studies. The desire to learn pop piano came, when I started to play for my church. I want to improve, and it seems that signing up for proper piano lessons is the best way to help my progress. So, here I am! (Smiles) During the last 4 months with PBE, I have learned a lot of new playing techniques and theory and also realized that my playing style in the past were wrong! Now, it is more on the application of the rules that I have learned from my music instructor, which can be quite confusing at times. However, my instructor is very patient in guiding me. He is also a very, very good pianist. I learn a lot from him and personally feel that his guidance has provided me a strong foundation, knowledge and groundings for my piano playing.
I first took interest in pop piano since young. I have always admired people who can play the piano I was even envious of my cousins who could play the piano very well. That became a dream that I want to achieve – to be able to play the piano. At PBE, I learned how to read the music sheets and also how to play a song in various different styles. It is very interesting to know how you can play a song in so many different ways; I like Jazz and ballads more. Just last month, I booked a concert hall at Newton, and played “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence” by Ruichi Sakamoto, and proposed to my girl friend. Yup, it was at the French Alliance Theater.
I found PBE on the website. The concept of learning to play music by ear was what got me signing up with the school. Ever since I was a kid, I have always liked the sound of the piano. However, back in the early Singapore days, piano learning was a luxury. So, I did not get to learn it. Now that I am retired, it is the best time for me to get down to those things or hobbies I wanted to do in the past, and to fulfill those dreams that I could not due to the busy working days. I want to live my life to the fullest and have been keeping my days purposeful with many exciting activities such as dancing, painting, playing pop piano, volunteering for missionary work, traveling and many more. At first, It was mind challenging as I was conscious about my fingers flexibility. However, the instructor was very patient with me, and with his loving guidance, I was able to overcome my fear and first obstacle. In all learning, it will always be the most challenging at the beginning. However, once you become more familiar with the playing techniques, the learning curve gets easier too. With that in mind, I persevered through patience.
DarylEconomics, 4th year in NUS – Honors
The reason why I chose to learn to play a piano was because I learned classical piano previously until Grade 8 and stopped when I was in Secondary 4. The biggest take away was that I did not know where I could go after Grade 8, but PBE showed me where I can go from there, new possibilities and more things I can do with the keyboard. It was very scary mostly because when you learn classical, you have the score to follow. Everything is more or less decided what you should do and you just follow the instructions. Jazz is scary, yet exciting because it is more or less up to me to decide what I want to do, especially the improvisation. I enjoyed playing the keys more after I learned here in PBE.
Ying Er Chemistry, 2nd year in NUS – Honors
I started learning the violin and piano (classical) at the age of four and love playing these musical instruments ever since. Back in the tertiary years, I was in the music elected program and had many performance opportunities with the school orchestra. I was also a member of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra. Today, learning pop piano is a new musical journey that I have embarked on with Play By Ear Music School. This experience has opened me to a whole new level in the area of music, and I am excited by it. When compared to classical piano playing, pop playing infuses self-expression and creativity into the songs. That encourages me to improvise the music pieces I play, to my own liking and style. Also, I get to play many Korean, Chinese and English pop songs that I like. Instead of reading off the notations (one by one) in the music score and being fully independent on what is written on it, you learn to read simple notes and play a song by ear, alongside with the various playing techniques or patterns taught in the PBE syllabus.
I learned how to play a piano when I was very young, but I cannot recall what I have learned. That was donkey years ago! I hate Classical. Sorry. I would say the syllabus here is much tailored for all levels including beginners. Everything seems very structured which works for me. My music instructor is very patient, and that really helps. I enjoy my music lessons. They are fun. I used to listen to alternative rock bands like Oasis and Goo Goo Dolls. For now, I like Katy Perry’s and Taylor swift’s music.
Slim TanClinic Assistant
I see playing the piano as a lovely way to prevent dementia, because it pushes you to engage your mind as you coordinate between reading the music sheet and moving both hands. I was on my way to Raffles Hospital one day when I chanced upon PBE signboard. Since I have always wanted to learn music since young, I decided to find out more about the courses and went to the reception without a second thought. My first lesson was just a trial to ensure that I had made the right choice. After the trial lesson, it got me more determined and enthusiastic to take up the piano lessons with PBE. My music instructor’s explanation made the theory and playing techniques in the syllabus easy to comprehend. The syllabus works as a very good follow up whenever a lesson is concluded. It is something you would want to go back over and over again to re-enforce what has been taught. The instructors are really good. They customize lesson plans according to each student’s learning style, and always get feedback from us if we are achieving what we wanted to learn in PBE. Overall, PBE provides a very conducive learning environment for the adults.
I have learned pop piano for about 1 ½ years. I used to learn classical piano but it was too hard to pick up so I decided to try learning pop piano instead since it is all about improvisation and playing by ear. I was googled on the internet for pop piano music school and chanced upon PBE website. After my first trial lesson, I decided to pick up pop piano with PBE. Now I am glad that I can now play a music piece beautifully; My mum even thought she was listening to a music CD when I told her that it was actually my playing! I thought it was quite an achievement that my mom praised my playing for the first time! Pop is more about improvisation and infusing your own expression and style in the music piece. Classical is more on dictating what the composer wants to in his composition. The syllabus is very useful and structured. Unlike classical where the teacher would just tell you what to play and you play accordingly. I heard from my friend who is learning in another music school says, she is actually learning by numbers (Jianpu) whereas here, we learn how to read the notes, which is better.
I first learned classical piano when I was in kindergarten, then I stopped due to PSLE. Only recently my mum told me about your school - PLAY BY EAR. That is when I started playing pop piano. She wanted me to try something new and also because I wasn’t interested in classical. I supposed she wouldn't want to waste the classical piano training I had when I was a kid. Anyway, I was surprised at how easy and stress-free playing pop can be. It is more “free-style” playing compared to classical where you need to read off a piano score, which can be quite intense. My instructor is funny and teaches well; jokes and teach at the same time. That made me feel relieved and more relaxed learning piano, especially in my first lesson with him, as I was not sure what to expect.