Growing up with music - by Cheryl Cheong
I believe there is a musical cell in every single person. Music is all around us. During my growing up years, my parents often sang to my brothers and me. My dad, being the creative one, would make up his own lyrics to a familiar tune. It never failed to make us laugh as the lyrics he made up were very amusing. Now, as a mother of two beautiful young children, I will do the same for them. I sang to my children while they were still growing in my tummy, when they were infants, and during their growing up years. I even composed a little jingle for each child, which they still fondly remember. Music has always been a part of our daily life, during playtime, walks, car rides, nap time and bedtime. When I played familiar tunes on the piano for my children, their curious little minds and hands would start to explore the black and white keys, trying to find out where the sound came from. They were absolutely amused when a sound was produced at each ‘banging’. When my older child was three years old, I started to teach him to play a few nursery songs as he had shown signs of interests. Much to my delight, he was able to play it back to me. However, I did not send him to a professional music teacher immediately as I wanted to make sure that he truly has an interest in playing the piano, and not because mummy wants him to (honestly, I would like him to, who wouldn’t?). I was also concerned that my little preschooler would not be able to sit still for thirty minutes as he was a very active child. Furthermore, I wanted to make sure that the teacher whom he would learn music under is a fun, patient, encouraging and passionate teacher who would build his interests in his musical journey. While I continue to observe and build my child’s interests in music, I also started to search for a good teacher. When he was almost four year old, I had a heart-to-heart talk with him, and through it, I decided that he was truly ready to learn music. It was also then that I found a suitable teacher and brought him for a piano trial class at Medley Music School. On the day of the class, I still had some reservations as my boy was still very active and I felt that he would not be able to focus in the class. When we met the teacher, she greeted us with a warm smile and made my son feel comfortable. Next, she whipped out some cards and covered the black piano keys with a card, which she explained the difference between the black and white keys. Throughout the lesson, I was very impressed with the creative teaching method and it was the first time that I saw my four-year-old glued to the chair for thirty minutes! During the next few sessions, the teacher used a “Treasure Bag” filled with little animal figurines, gold coin, dice and other small toys, which she used to correct techniques and ensure good posture, like how the wrists should be lifted up. My child has been learning the piano at Medley Music School for a few years now. He is able to focus better, is more disciplined, and displays better self-control in his active behavior. In addition, the many piano recitals and concerts held by Medley Music School has turned my shy little boy into a confident young man. I am grateful for the school and teacher that his love for piano and music only grew stronger over the years.