Interview with Audris Ho : Piano Teacher, Singer, Songwriter, Performing Artiste
Hi! Welcome to our forth series of our “Interviews with Teachers”.
In this series, we have interviewed Ms Audris Ho.
We have worked with Ms Audris for sometime by recommending her quite a number of piano students. While working with her, we realized that she’s not only just a piano teacher, but she also performs in live events, public venues in Europe, and even written a National Day song for SG50!
Hence, in her very busy schedule, we are glad she took out some time to share with us her music journey here!
So let’s get started!
1. Share with us a little about yourself, and your music background
I’m a Business graduate major in Marketing and started teaching part-time piano in my final year. I immediately turned into a full time piano teacher after I graduate from SIM RMIT upon discovering my love in teaching music. I have attained 2 piano teaching diplomas: Distinction in DipABRSM and Merit in ALCM.
After few years of teaching group music in kindergartens, I am now a trainer for training teachers on an Australian syllabus Encore Music Education. I enjoy singing, performing and writing my original compositions too.
2. How did you get started learning the piano?
I’m just like any other 4 year old girl, with her Mum accompanying her to the weekly Yamaha group music class. It was my Mum who initiated me to go and my music learning journey has never stop since then.
3. What motivates you to teach piano?
There is this immeasurable amount of joy and satisfaction to eventually see my students be:
i. passionate about music,
ii. becoming an independent musician (able to play well without much help from teacher)
iii. and improving their overall psychological well-being.
I get satisfaction from adult beginners who can sing and play to their partners or eventually do well in piano exams.
I have a selective mutism student who doesn’t speak to teachers, and I felt so happy for her that she put in lyrics to a tune and sings while she plays the piano during my class.
I get joy in seeing how music makes them happier and appreciates music better. Of course if any student can score distinctions in their piano exams, I’m definitely over the moon but I’ll have mixed feelings if the student wasn’t happy playing the piano to achieve that.
4. We understand that you also teach piano for 2 years in Scotland. Is there any similarities/difference in teaching the students in Scotland, compared to Singapore?
In Scotland, children are engaged in playing outdoor with friends, climbing trees, doing handicrafts/baking, learning another instrument and I even had a student busy with training schedule in the youth national team for circuit cycling.
In Singapore, children are engaged in different activities like swimming, ballet, enrichment courses, and tuition.
In the end, the similarity is that all children are busy with other activities that might distract them from their piano practice time.
The difference lies in the perspective of picking up piano. For Scottish, they pick up piano lessons without having exams in their mind and progress according to their interest level.
Parents leave it to their children on how much they practice. They will stop the lesson without hesitation if their children are less keen.
In Singapore, parents will remind their children to practice and look forward to see them going through piano exams.
However, teaching adult beginners in Scotland and Singapore is the same. They have strong interest, but have lesser time to practice due to more commitments and they require more exercises to work on their finger agility.
Click here to watch student lesson videos.
5. Hey, we understand you wrote a song for Singapore for SG50! Can you share with us what moves you to write a song for our country?
In year 2014, I was in Scotland and I missed home. It was SG49 then when I wrote “There’s no place like home” with Charlyn filling in the lyrics. It was just a homemade video on youtube that made it’s way into Channel 8 program 前线追踪.
After that in year 2015, I suggested to Charlyn, “Since it’s SG50, let’s come up a chinese version as well and do up proper MV for these 2 songs”. With the help of crowdfunding contributors, music and video production team, it was made possible. Click here to watch the video on YouTube!
6. You have written songs, taught piano lessons overseas, and even performed at various public venues and conservatories in Scotland, England and Iceland. What’s next in your plans?
I’ll be immersing myself more into wedding gigs and I look forward to my upcoming plans for doing up my originals.
It’s our honour that Esplanade invited Charlyn and me to perform on 17 & 18 December 2016 at Esplanade Concourse to showcase our originals, and some covers including Christmas songs.
We will have the deaf community to songsign as I sing my song “If you were in my shoes” written with a deaf lady Lily Goh who holds a grade 8 in ABRSM percussion.
7. If you have some advice for piano students who want to play really well, and perform on different stages, what would you tell them?
Advice 1: Overcome the fear of playing in front of a crowd.
Be daring to always play for your friends or relatives at many different venues if possible, so that when the big stage comes, you are more used to performing in an unfamiliar environment.
Advice 2: Please do not panic or make obvious expression from your body language that you have played a mistake.
Do not stop playing and just carry on! Sometimes, people won’t notice your mistake but with your panic expression, people will definitely become aware of it. Don’t let that mistake affect you and caused you to make more mistakes.
Advice 3: Keep practicing your piano at home to perfect your performance.
There is simply no shortcut way to reduce your practice time. Practice makes perfect.
We would like to thank Ms Audris Ho for her generous sharing about her music journey, singing and songwriting experience, and her live performance at Esplanade in 17th & 18th December this year (Note down the date now!).
We hope that you have gained lots of insights about learning and playing the piano. Stay tuned as we will bring you more interviews of our piano teachers!
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