If you asked any child on the street, there is a high chance he/she is learning some music instrument. Either he’s still learning, or he has learnt it before and for whatever reasons, gave up. Well, not my kids.
While the husband and I have music background (the usual ABRSM piano exams), we decided that we won’t be spending any money on formal music lessons for the kids. I’m not sure why, we came up with, a “Music is Caught and not Taught” theory and figured with all the music in the house, in the car, in church, in school… they should be able to pick up something. And if there’s some gift there, we will send them for classes. If not, then the ‘Caught Music’ education should suffice.
So our kids have no formal music lessons and through the years, I started hearing some horror stories from other parents about their experiences with the music schools now. One huge complaint was the inconsistency and commitment levels of the teachers. With the current job market, it seems music schools are now engaging freelancers to be Music Teachers. This means, a Miss Tan can be moving around in a few schools to teach music, and she will fit classes in based on her schedule. There’s no loyalty to the school, no vision or goals imparted from the teacher to the student. Everything just feels temporary and non-committal.
In fact, many schools just require their teachers to have ABRSM Grade 8 certificate… you can imagine the proliferation of music teachers out there! I was surprised, cos I recall when I was learning music, you need a ABRSM Teacher Diploma to teach! This further convinced me, we really don’t need formal music lessons for the kids! (after all, most of us got our Grade 8 certs before O Levels!)
Ahhhhh…and then Aureus Academy of Music contacted us and told us about their music school and curriculum. It was after Nadine had her seizure, and we felt perhaps some proper music lessons would be good. But I was most reluctant. I didn’t want boring teachers and sub standard teaching methods that kill their love and interest in music. BUT there was something about Aureus that piqued my interest!
The school is started by brothers Lawrence and Julius Holmefjord-Sarabi. Lawrence is an acclaimed musician, a concert pianist who graduated from Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at National University of Singapore (NUS). Together with his brother, they realised music schools in Singapore are too cookie-cutter like, churning out students to pass exams. There was little emphasis on the quality of the music lessons.
So when they started Aureus, their main differentiating factor from other music schools was the TEACHERS! Instead of just employing those with minimum Grade 8, Aureus employs those with minimum Bachelor’s degree in Music! Now, that’s a very selected pool of people! (Think: how many people do you know personally with a degree in Music?)
I was most impressed! This means, the teachers are all serious about music, they genuinely love it enough to study music, they know the rigours of practicing music, they usually play at least 2 instruments so they know and remember what learning a new music instrument is like. Compare that to a teacher with just Grade 8 when they were in their teens!
And thus, we decided to let Nicole and Nadine try out formal music lessons for the very first time in their lives! Nicole is all excited because she suddenly wants to go on the formal route… embark on Grade 1 and take exams. (simply cos all her friends have done so! and she naturally just wants to play the keyboard) Nadine is also very excited, cos she is very curious about music and the keyboard and it’s just something very new to her.
So far, the two girls are really enthusiastic about lessons. The one-to-one experience is great, and they are so excited to come back and perform for us! (We’ve been hearing Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly at least 20 times a day!) I had a quick chat with Nadine’s teacher, Ms. Yan Sheau Huey and am so impressed she graduated with a music degree from Middlesex University, UK, and can play both the piano and the flute. Her dream is to be part of an orchestra playing the flute! Now, how’s that for a qualified music teacher?
With these trained teachers, Aureus Academy specializes in providing individually tailored piano, violin, guitar, and vocal lessons to students of all ages and abilities. And because all teachers are Full-time in the school, there is so much flexibility in arranging make-up classes! And that’s what defines commitment too! Woohooo!!
Find out more about Aureus Academy and their 5 schools located around the island. There’s an upcoming Winter Camp that you can sign your kids up for!
Disclaimer: Aureus Academy sponsored one term of music lessons for purposes of the review. No monetary compensation were received and all opinions are clearly 100% my own!