How To Play Piano By Ear – The Holy Grail Of Piano Playing

Are you a pianist in Singapore who’s impressed by your friends who can listen to a song and start playing it on the piano by ear? It feels almost magical to you if you do not know how to do it.

However, it really is simple. Just like how a beginner pianist can play piano chords and sound like a professional to the layman, the tricks to play piano by ear is not difficult if you know the tricks.

If you want to find a good piano teacher in Singapore to teach you how to do this (e.g. learning piano for leisure instead of passing the ABRSM exams), you can also find a good teacher from www.facebook.com/sglearnpiano/.

Here are their tricks.

Can You Make A Full Time Living In Singapore As A Piano Teacher?

Many of us in the music industry, and whom have learnt the piano when we were young developed a passion for it. However, is passion enough to keep you going? Can you make a full time income as a piano teacher in Singapore? Is it sustainable? Or is it just something to be treated as a hobby and part time thing? Let us explore some of these burning questions that many potential piano teachers in Singapore have.

Firstly, it depends on how much money you deem as ‘full time income’. Some people treat it as $2000. Others treat it as $6000. However, for the purpose of this article, we will look at the median salary of graduates in Singapore, which is $3000 to $4000. So if you want to match the salary, while truly being your own boss and be a private piano teacher in Singapore, we will need to consider certain factors.

An ABRSM piano grade 1 student will pay you around $120 to $140 per month for weekly 45 minute lessons, and a grade 8 student will pay you around $300 per month for weekly 1 hour piano lessons. This means an average of around $200 per month per student. With this average, to make $3500 a month, you will need approximately 18 students.

Let us just say that you only want to work for 5 days a week instead of all 7 days. This means you will need to teach around 4 students a day. As each lesson is around 1 hour long, and you will need to travel around to teach the various students, each music student including travelling time will be around 2 hours.

This means you work for approximately 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week and you will be making between $3500 to $4000. Keep in mind, as you are self employed, all of these cash will be yours to control (other than the legally taxable part). You will have as much cash per month as a person making around $4500 to $5000 a month because they need to make mandatory CPF contributions as a normal employee.

So in terms of the money, you definitely can make a full time income as a private piano teacher in Singapore. Of course, you will need to get a steady flow of students, as no matter how good you are, there will be some students who will graduate from Grade 8 or Diploma level, or simply stop learning entirely. If you are considering a full time or part time job as a self employed music teacher in Singapore, then consider applying to a private piano teacher-student agency in Singapore to get yourself kickstarted and have a steady inflow of students so you never need to worry about getting enough students! Of course, you also need to be a good teacher while they take care of your marketing otherwise you will not get many students as they will be afraid of recommending to you if you are a bad teacher.

Private Piano Lessons Vs Public Music Schools – Which Is Better?

Should you get a private piano teacher to teach your child in the comfort of your home or should you send your child to public music schools in Singapore like Yamaha or Kawai for Singapore piano lessons? Which is the better choice in terms of quality as well as prices? Let me share with you some of the points you may want to consider.

Price

Let us talk about prices. when it comes to prices, there is no question about it. Private piano lessons are far cheaper than school, and the biggest reason for that is that private piano teachers have barely any overhead expenses other than travelling and their past investment in their own piano playing proficiency.

Schools charge a lot for their students because you will need to cover their rental and administrative staff overhead costs. These do not come cheap – especially the rental in Singapore’s shopping malls for these schools. These schools usually also rent quite a big area, so their rental costs are high and has to be covered.

Teachers’ Qualifications

This is actually equally good as long as you verify their credentials. This is because private piano teachers and teachers who teach at a public music school in a shopping centre are usually certified ABRSM grade 8 or Diploma or they have a Trinity College certificate. Therefore, as long as you learn in Singapore, and ask for verification proof, the teachers have good qualifications

Quality Of Teaching

Of course, the quality of teaching is not necessarily correlated nor linked to the teacher’s music academic qualifications. This is about the teacher’s ability to teach.

There is no real way to say for sure if a private teacher or a school teacher will be better at teaching, so there is usually an element of chance here. However, if you find the teacher not good, make sure that you can easily get another teacher through the private piano teacher agency or the music school in Singapore. That way, you negate this point.

Convenience

If you stay in a condominium above a shopping mall which has a public music school, then going to the music school can be considered quite convenient. However, if you do not stay in such a condominium, you will probably find it very inconvenient to send your child to and fro from the public music school if he or she is still young. Even if he or she is older, you may be worried about him or her when travelling.

On the other hand, if you get a private teacher to give piano lessons to your child in the comfort of your home, then life can be very easy for you as a parent as well as for your child. Of course, this means that you should get lessons in your home, and not send your child to the teacher’s studio – otherwise this defeats the purpose and is the same as send your child to a public music school in terms of level of convenience.

As you can see from the above, it really is about what you value more. At the end of the day, teachers from both public music schools and private piano teachers in Singapore are all relatively decent. Whether they can click with your child you will only know after you engage them.

Will Piano Lessons Boost Up Your Child’s Studies At School?

As a kiasu Singaporean parent, you are likely concerned if piano lessons will help improve your child’s results in Singapore’s schools. The short answer is YES. If you want the long answer, see the following.

First of all, you should not be asking your child to learn the piano purely for the sake of improving his or her school academic results. A child will not be able to truly master playing the piano, and improve all around if he or she absolutely hates playing the piano. That is the equivalent of asking an adult to do a job he or she absolutely hates. Sure, he or she can do it, but he or she will do terrible in the long run. Therefore, you want to first make sure that your child loves music and playing the piano, so that the following effects I am going to share with you will be amplified.

Second of all, if your child is passionate about music and learning to play the piano, then he or she will put in a lot of effort in mastering playing the piano. When your child practises playing the piano instrument a lot, what will happen is that due to the nature of the skill, he or she has to move fingers on both or his or her hands independently yet still coordinate with each other and therefore workout both parts of the brain at the same time. This is something that people do not commonly do on any given day. Have you heard of the saying that people who are left handed tend to be more creative while right handed people tend to be better at arithmetic related subjects? However, when your child learns the piano, he or she will be using both hands and working both parts of the brain, working out both his or her logical and creative side. Not only that, multiple studies have shown that learning a musical instrument such as the piano will increase the amount of grey matter in a child’s brain, and this effect is more pronounced the younger the child starts to learn to play the piano instrument. Therefore, if your child already intends to learn the piano, then give him or her the music lessons as soon as possible, and as young as possible! You may be able to increase both your child’s logical and creative mind, as well as improve his or her IQ. This means that learning the piano can have profound, beneficial impacts on his or her grades in Singapore’s schools – in both linguistic and arithmetic classes!

Third of all, because your child will need to learn to recognize the various different tones and sounds, he or she will also generally do better at language classes in Singapore’s schools than his or her classmates with no music background.

As you can see from the above, learning a musical instrument such as the piano can truly help your child boost up his or her studies at school. This is very useful, especially in academia driven Singapore.