Interview with Teacher Joshua : Classical & Jazz Piano Teacher
Hi! Welcome to our fifth series of our “Interviews with Teachers”.
In this series, we have interviewed Teacher Joshua.
We have worked with Teacher Joshua for some time by recommending him quite a number of piano students. He’s unlike most teachers out there. He has been teaching piano for over 10 years, performed in events, taught jazz piano too (not many teachers teach that!), and also uses a music syllabus not many students heard of (not ABRSM or Trinity!)
So we interviewed him to find out more!
1. Share with us a little about yourself, and your music background
Hi, I’m Joshua, or what most of my students call me, Teacher Joshua. I started my teaching career in 2002 with various prominent music schools before taking up private students currently.
I hold four music certificates from The Associated Board of The Royal School of Music – Advanced Certificate Piano, Grade 8 in Piano, Grade 8 in Music Theory, Grade 5 in Jazz Piano.
Outside of teaching, I also perform regularly at various events. Some of the places I have performed includes Le Meridien Hotel, Hilton Hotel, Goodwood Park Hotel, Fullerton Hotel, Raffles Hotel and more.
I also serve in a local church as a choir pianist. I am currently in a wedding event based band – Clubmedia.biz
2. How did you get started learning the piano?
My mum and dad brought me to Yamaha group lessons. As far as I could remember, I did not know if I liked it or not. After which, my close relative referred my first classical piano teacher to me, Lee Magdalena Theresa, I address her as Mrs Yeo.
I am thankful for her patience with me. As you know a boy growing up can be mischievous and lazy, not forgetting to add the tons of school homework and tuition assessment books.
I guess it is always nice to have a teacher who understands your needs.
It is good to have a teacher follow you thru till Grade 8 at least and I was one of the fortunate ones.
3. What motivates you to teach piano?
The salutations and smiles from each student, each week I see them for piano lesson.
4. We realise you teach Jazz Piano too! How did you get started with Jazz Piano?
I realised that ABRSM had this Jazz Piano Syllabus; I went to CP Music School to learn pop and jazz piano from Victor Pillay and also took my ABRSM Grade 4 & 5 Jazz Piano then.
I also continued to learn from other well known piano players in Singapore – Mei Sheum, Jeremy Monterio, Wilfred Bay & Chris Isaac Robinson.
5. You have performed solo piano in different events, like weddings, corporate events, and many more. How do you prepare yourself for each performance?
Practice Practice Practice; . Nothing beats practicing!
6. You have taught piano for more than 10 years. Keen to share what are some of the interesting teaching insights you have learned over the years?
Students basically learn piano either by the play by ear method or read notation – the classical method.
Every student is different, their needs differ too. When students learn a song, I noticed that they will write the alphabet names below or above the notation.
I found some similarities when I was self learning a song by myself. I will also customise my students’ lessons, first by finding out what they desire to learn.
Then ask them what have they learnt before, listen to their piano playing and gauge from there what is amiss and I would fill in the gaps, whether it be theory knowledge or finger technique (etc) which requires correction and adjustment.
7. We also know that you focus on teaching the ANZCA Modern Pianoforte Syllabus, compared to the traditional ABRSM exams. Can you share with us a little more about the ANZCA syllabus?
Growing up with ABRSM examinations was a good classical foundation for me even though it was dreadful.
I believe many students will be nodding away.
What appeals to me about ANZCA is the Modern Pianoforte syllabus.
Here’s what’s different about ANZCA syllabus.
1) Students get to play popular songs for their exams
2) Students learn modern scales such as the blues and the modes
3) Students must improvise their examination pieces which is a key component
I know about the syllabus when I was still teaching in Cristofori. A lady from Malaysia Talent Makers, Ms Lai Mei Kuen introduced the syllabus. Students and parents are open to options whereby students interest is sustainable.
I believe this syllabus is one option available and I have been sending students for the past couple of years.
I believe the other examination boards can look into this area as well to cater to a new generation of piano players.
8. Lastly, share with us 3 important tips for students who want to play the piano well (like you)!
We would like to thank Teacher Joshua for his generous sharing about his music journey and experience.
Joshua does graded and leisure piano lessons at student’s places in the East Area- Tampines, Pasir Ris, Bedok. If you’re keen to find out more about his lessons, just drop a message in the form below.
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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