Today is the last day of 2020. Singapore has entered Phase 3. Things are almost back to normal for Singaporeans.

But did you have a crazy ride this year along with The Happy Pianist?

Let’s bring you through the year again with the crazy stuff we did too!

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1. The Happy Pianist Become Tech Support

The Happy Pianist started since 2014, and for the past 6 years, all our teachers conduct lessons at their own home studio, or at students’ home. Face to face lessons.

Until Covid stuck.

Back in early March, where there are first few community cases in Singapore, home piano lessons are still allowed with masks on. People are still going to work, offices, restaurants are still open.

However, situations worsen, and in April, the government announced Circuit Breaker – where offices switch to Work From Home, Restaurants only allow take-aways, and all tuition and educational centres closed.

So what happen to our piano teachers?

Some parents are open try out online lessons, but teachers are not sure how to set up online lessons.

So we quickly record a short video and write out a guide to share with teachers and parents how they can use simple tools to set up online lessons at home.

Along the way, we also assist as many teachers and parents to set up their online lessons, one by one.

We’re so happy our teachers and parents can transit to online lessons so smoothly!

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2. The Happy Pianist Become Government Grant Consultant

During this circuit breaker period, The Happy Pianist also become a ‘government grant consultant’ for many of our teachers, and many other teachers too.

This Covid hurt many people, and one of the hardest hit group of people are the freelancers. Many of our piano teachers are self-employed. 

Their income are greatly reduced due to cancellation of gigs, performances, and lessons.

Luckily, the Singapore government acted fast and introduce various financial support, which many of our teachers can gain access to tide through this difficult period.

But, there are so many financial support rolled out, with many terms and conditions. Music teachers don’t even know what they qualify, or don’t qualify.

So we quickly study all the budget information and write out a comprehensive guide solely to help our teachers to get the grant quickly.

And this guide went viral among the music teaching community and was massively shared.

Questions and emails keep coming in, and we just keep answering everyone, even though they are not our teachers. In this time of need, as long someone gets the grant they need to tide through this period, we are happy!

Many of our teachers got the grant, but some missed out because of certain terms and conditions they fail to meet.

From this episode, we can tell that most freelance and self-employed teachers did not do proper recording of their finances, hence the struggle to show important documents when applying for government grants.

Maybe we should have a Finance workshop specially for our teachers? 🙂

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3. The Happy Pianist Become Online Entertainer

When the circuit breaker started, we thought it will just be 2 weeks and things will go back to normal.

But no.

It got extended for another 2 weeks!

That was when The Happy Pianist… started to entertain all our teachers and students online!

Since many of our teachers and students are stuck at home and feeling bored, we want to cheer them up!

We started The Happy Pianist Quiz on our Facebook LIVE.

Here’s one of our quizzes we conducted with Teacher Joanne.


And here’s a FB Live with Ms Ashley sharing about famous composer Chopin, along with a quiz after that. Students can learn and play at the same time.

And we sent prizes to winners’ home to cheer them up!

Plus, we also do a few educational talkshow by inviting our teachers to share their expertise with our community too.

We discuss topics like:

Learning Piano: For Exams Or Leisure with Marc Yeo

How Parents Can Motivate Kids In Their Music Journey with Ms Vivian

 

Every quiz and talkshow raked up hundreds of views each time we go live.

We had so much fun entertaining and educating our community on Facebook!

4. The Happy Pianist Become… The Happy Pianist

In June, Phase 2 started. People can start to go out, but still with certain restrictions.

Our piano teachers are can resume home piano lessons, but with precautions taken.

Other than that, no gatherings allowed, no more than 5 people in public places…etc.

And that means, no recitals and no concerts are allowed too. ABRSM announced early of the year that exams are cancelled until further notice. Such a sad year for musicians, right?

But not for us!

We came up with the idea of organising the first ever… The Happy Pianist Festival!

We’ve never organised any competitions before, and doing it during this pandemic has its challenges too. The entire festival, performance, and judging all has to be online!

But heck, if we don’t do it, there’s really nothing for piano students and teachers this year!

So we went ahead to open the registration for the participants for the festival, and invite experienced teachers and professionals onto our judging panel. We even had two judges from Japan!

We received overwhelming response with a total 137 contestants competing in four categories.

And after 5 long months of preparation..

2 rounds of competitions

2 sessions of FB Live

and countless discussions and evaluation with the judging panel, we finally have the winners of The Happy Pianist Festival 2020.

Click here for the full results and performances of all the finalists.

Every contestant will receive a certificate, a result slip and a festival souvenir for their participation in this festival.

And winners get their trophies, personally presented to their homes by The Happy Pianist himself!

And just yesterday, 30th Dec, the judges are able to come together for the first time, because it’s Phase 3!

Throughout this festival, we received countless positive feedback from parents, teachers and students how much this competition mean to them.

Parents saw their kids become motivated to put up a flawless performance, even after many recordings.

Teachers saw their students practice multiple times daily to improve their playing, without nagging at them.

Students themselves see how much they have improved during this short period, and they get to watch how their peers perform too.

And the most common question I get from everyone?

“Will you organise another festival next year?”

Definitely yes… because our job is to make you a Happy Pianist!

A famous quote says…

“Life Isn’t About Waiting For The Storm To Pass. It’s About Learning How To Dance In The Rain”

2020 is a challenging year.

We won’t know when covid will end.

But we don’t want to wait till everything is back to normal, for you to be happy again.

As long as you’re with us, we want to constantly deliver happiness to you.

And that’s what The Happy Pianist will continue to do, for many years to come.

Thank you for a fantastic 2020.

See you in 2021!

~ Mark
The Happy Pianist

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