How to Choose a Piano Teacher: Essential Tips for Finding the Right Match

Selecting the right piano teacher plays a significant role in shaping your skills, techniques, and overall appreciation for the instrument. When searching for a piano teacher, you should consider their qualifications and experience, which ensure that they can provide both technical instruction and musical mentorship.

Your personal goals and preferences are paramount when choosing an instructor. Whether you’re aiming for classical training, looking to explore jazz improvisation, or simply want to play for enjoyment, it’s important to find a teacher whose expertise and teaching style align with your objectives. A teacher’s capability to adapt to your learning style and the rapport you establish with them will greatly influence your progress and the enjoyment you derive from your lessons.

Understanding Your Goals

When choosing a piano teacher, it’s essential to clarify what you wish to achieve, as this will steer your decision-making process.

Identifying Your Musical Aspirations

You need to determine what kind of pianist you want to become. Whether it’s mastering classical pieces, playing by ear in a contemporary style, or simply gaining a new skill for personal enjoyment, your musical aspirations will influence your choice of teacher.

  • Classical Training: Look for teachers with a strong background in theory and classical repertoire.
  • Contemporary Styles: Seek a teacher who specialises in jazz, pop, or other modern genres if that’s where your interest lies.
  • Hobbyist: If you’re learning for fun, find someone who makes lessons engaging and flexible.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Your progress on the piano will depend on your commitment and the quality of instruction you receive. Setting realistic goals and timelines is crucial.

  • Beginner: Understand that fundamentals take time. Look for a teacher who is patient and encouraging.
  • Intermediate: Focus on developing technique and musicality. Aim for a teacher who can challenge you appropriately.
  • Advanced: Choose a mentor who can refine your skills and potentially offer performance opportunities.

By aligning your goals with the expertise of a piano teacher, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed choice that suits your musical journey.

Evaluating Teacher Credentials

Once you understand what you’re looking to achieve with piano lessons, it’s time to make a list of prospective piano teachers and evaluate them. For Singapore the easiest way is to check the list of piano teachers and schools on SGLessons where you can see teacher profiles, compare prices and reviews, and contact teachers directly.

Assessing piano teachers’ qualifications is as crucial as gauging their teaching style. Ensure the credentials align with your learning objectives and the teacher’s ability to cater to your educational needs.

Assessing Educational Background

Your piano teacher’s educational background provides insight into their formal training and musical knowledge. Look for qualifications such as a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Music, with a specialisation in piano or music education. Advanced diplomas or degrees from recognised institutions indicate a solid foundation in both theory and practice.

Checking Professional Experience

Experience is equally telling of a teacher’s capacity to impart skills effectively. Determine how long the teacher has been instructing and what levels they cater to, from beginners to advanced students. A history of nurturing students to complete examinations or performances can reflect their competence in teaching.

Recognising Accreditation and Affiliations

Accreditation and professional affiliations, such as membership in a music teachers’ association, signal a commitment to industry standards and continuous development. Confirm the teacher’s Grade 6 Practical and Grade 5 Theory credentials from recognised music examination boards like the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) or Trinity College London.

Considering Teaching Style

The teaching style of your prospective piano teacher significantly affects how you will learn and progress. It’s essential to find one that complements your learning preferences and goals.

Matching Teaching Philosophies

Your musical aspirations should align with your teacher’s philosophical approach to instruction. A teacher who views music education as a strict discipline may suit you if you’re aiming for professional performance levels. Conversely, if you seek to enjoy and explore music in a relaxed setting, seek out a teacher with a more flexible and supportive philosophy.

Assessment of Communication Skills

Evaluate how effectively a teacher communicates. You’ll benefit most from a teacher who articulates concepts clearly and listens to your questions and concerns. During an initial discussion or trial lesson, pay attention to:

  • Clarity: Are the teacher’s explanations comprehensible and precise?
  • Patience: Does the teacher allow you time to process new information?
  • Feedback: Is the critique provided constructively and in a manner that you find motivating?

Exploring Teaching Methodologies

A variety of teaching methodologies can influence your learning progress and enjoyment. Here are a few you may encounter:

  • Traditional: Emphasises reading music and technique.
  • Suzuki: Focuses on learning by ear and mimicking before reading music.
  • Alexander Technique: Aims to reduce physical stress and improve ease of playing.

Consider which method resonates with your learning style and will help you achieve your musical objectives.

Practical Considerations

Take into account logistical aspects that will affect your learning experience. These include where the lessons will take place, when they are scheduled, and the financial commitment involved.

Location and Accessibility

Consider the location of your piano lessons. You want a site that is easy for you to reach, whether it’s the teacher’s home, a music school, or your own house if the teacher offers home visits. Accessibility is crucial to maintain regular attendance and reduce travel-related stress.

  • Home Lessons: Convenience; potential higher cost
  • Teacher’s Studio: Specialised environment; commute required
  • Music School: Access to more resources; might be further away
  • Online Lessons: Cheap, convenient; limited feedback from a teacher

Lesson Scheduling and Flexibility

Your schedule and the teacher’s availability must align. You need a teacher who can offer lessons at times that suit you.

  • Fixed Schedule: Consistent; less flexible
  • Flexible Scheduling: Can adapt to changes; could be less structured

Cost of Lessons and Payment Terms

Be clear about the cost for your piano lessons and how it aligns with your budget. Teachers might charge per lesson, per term, or have different rates for varying lesson lengths. Also, understand the payment terms—whether it’s in advance, per session, or on a monthly basis.

  • Cost Per Lesson: S$40 – 100 (30-60 minutes)
  • Bulk Payment: Discounts for term payments
  • Cancellation Policy: Understand penalties or notice periods

Remember to discuss these aspects in detail with any potential teacher to ensure their suitability and to avoid any hidden surprises.

Trial Lessons and Interviews

Trial lessons and interviews are pivotal in this quest as they provide a platform for mutual assessment between you and potential piano teachers.

Arranging a Meeting

To set up a trial lesson, reach out to prospective teachers with your availability, expressing your desire for an introductory session. Ensure this meeting occurs in the teaching environment, whether it’s their studio or a music school, to give you a sense of the learning atmosphere.

  • Contact Method: Preferably via email or telephone, providing a personal touch.
  • Scheduling: Propose several dates and times to increase the likelihood of finding a suitable slot.

Preparing Interview Questions

Prepare a list of specific questions to ask during your trial lesson or interview to understand the teacher’s approach and see if it aligns with your goals. Your questions might include inquiries about their:

  1. Qualifications: Ask about their educational background and teaching certifications.
  2. Experience: Explore their experience with students at your level of proficiency.
  3. Teaching Style: Get insight into their method of instruction and whether it complements your learning style.
  4. Expectations: Clarify what they expect from their students in terms of practice and progress.

By methodically approaching trial lessons and interviews, you forge a path to a rewarding educational relationship with the right piano teacher for you.



How to Build Your Travel Fund


As this year’s Deepavali falls on November 12 (Sunday), the following Monday (November 13) will be observed as a public holiday. With the upcoming long weekend, what plans do you have in mind?

So, ever since we tied the knot, I’ve been convincing my husband about jetting off to Hong Kong. We’ve just returned from a fun trip to Taiwan and are gearing up for our November adventure to celebrate our wedding anniversary in Hong Kong. To add to the excitement, Hong Kong Disneyland is unveiling a Frozen-themed wonderland. I’m practically bubbling over with enthusiasm, but my wallet? Not so much. My travel fund isn’t quite there yet, but fear not, I’ve hatched a plan.

Here are 5 nifty ways to boost your travel fund:


Ever wondered why every financial guide emphasizes setting a goal? Well, it’s not just a cliché. Establishing a realistic goal tailored to your financial situation is key. It not only enables you to monitor your progress but also guides your actions to achieve it. Plus, when you finally hit that target, it’s a reason to celebrate!

To start, estimate how much you plan to spend on your travels, considering factors like accommodation, transportation, food, entertainment, clothing, SIM card/Wi-Fi, shopping/souvenirs, and exchange rates. Your previous travel expenses can be a good reference point. Setting a goal helped me to redirect my earnings to the target ahead.


Once your travel savings goal is in place, create a separate savings account exclusively for travel. Why? This specialized account prevents confusion with your regular savings, deterring impulsive spending. It also simplifies budgeting during your trip, letting you easily track your balance and expenses.

If you’re a fan of the old-school method, consider using envelopes to keep your funds organized, just like I do.


I’ve been asked countless times about saving for travel, and my advice? Treat it like a monthly insurance premium deducted from your paycheck. Choose a percentage and stick to it. Numerous budgeting methods like the 20-30-50 rule or the 10-20-20-50 rule are available online.

Tailor your approach based on your goals and lifestyle. Living within your means is crucial. Personally, I set aside money not only for everyday expenses but also for special treats like luxury items during my trip. I have a fund called “shopping in Hong Kong” apart from my regular “pocket money in Hong Kong.”


In a world of fast-paced inflation, hustling sometimes doesn’t seem enough. That’s when side hustle comes in handy. Turn your hobbies or passions into cash. Sell items you no longer need. Every extra dollar contributes significantly to your travel fund.


Financial situations change—it’s a part of life. When that happens, be flexible and adapt. If things aren’t going as planned, don’t hesitate to make changes. Identify areas where you can cut back on expenses. For me, it meant curbing my desire for new clothing and focusing on my travel goal.

Image Credits:

Remember, with determination and a bit of financial finesse, your dream trip is within reach. Happy travels!

Sources: 1 & 2


Take Your Family to the Best Public Pools in Singapore

In Singapore, it is summer all year round! There is always a reason to visit a swimming pool for to stay cool. Public pools are available to almost every neighbourhood. Apart from its family-friendly facilities, most of these pools boast its affordable entry rates that cost less than a hawker meal.

Who says you can only stay at a five-star hotel to splash your way to a better day? Cool off in style with these public pools!


The Jurong East Swimming Complex* is the largest in the country. With three towering and intertwining spiral water slides, it does not disappoint. Its huge wave pool even has sprays of water coming out of its rock caverns. It also comes with a bubble jet station and a lazy river**. Individual rates range from $0.50- $2.60. A friendly reminder: bring your sunscreen as there is not much shade there.

Location: 21 Jurong East Street 31, Singapore 609517


Surrounded by lush greenery and furnished with umbrellas and chairs, the Swimming Pool at SAFRA Yishun exudes an enticing vacation. Have a great time at the massive rock structure by the rock-climbing wall, which features built-in slides and a waterfall in the middle. Your beloved ones can make a splash at the pirate-themed area with a treasure chest and a ship!

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SAFRA Members can access these amenities and more. The venue is currently operating at a limited capacity with safety measures. Please check if non-members are permitted to enter.

Location: SAFRA Yishun, 60 Yishun Avenue 4, Singapore 769027


Take your active littles ones to a memorable sliding experience at Sengkang Swimming Complex*. The most attracting feature in this complex is the eight vibrant, big slides. These slides are both open-top and tube slides, which sends you straight into the pool. There is also a relaxing jacuzzi and a kid-friendly pool. For older kids, you can check out their group swimming lessons.

Location: Sengkang Swimming Complex, 57 Anchorvale Road, Singapore 544964


In 2016, Singapore’s first indoor water playground opened its doors at SAFRA Punggol. Splash @ Kidz Amaze is at the pricier end of the public pools market and rates vary depending if you are a member or not. Because it is indoor, you can play for hours despite the weather outside!

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Water enthusiasts will enjoy their time here with its themed splash pad, multiple play decks, and five water slides. Children’s parties are welcome to be hosted here too. This place is currently operating at a limited capacity with safety measures. Booking is required via phone. Call 6585 8710. Prices start at $8.

Location: Splash @ Kidz Amaze, SAFRA Punggol, 9 Sentul Crescent Level 3, Singapore 828654

Sources: 1 & 2

Notes: *These venues are currently operating at a limited capacity with safety measures. Booking is required via or the ActiveSG app.
**The lazy river, water slides, and wave pool are currently closed until further notice.


Top Tips When Buying Your First Guitar

Playing guitar is one of the most fulfilling hobbies. For children, it is reported to improve fine motor skills and develop focus and concentration. Of course, it’s a great idea for adults too, as it can keep your creativity sharp and give you something worthwhile to do. If it’s your first time buying your own guitar, know that it’s not always cheap.

For those who want to commit to learning this instrument, it’s important to do your research and find the model that fits your preference and budget. You can get an entry-level acoustic guitar for under $100 or even lower if you’re okay with buying secondhand. However, the more elaborate ones can go for thousands of dollars. Don’t feel overwhelmed with all the options and features you have at your fingertips. Below, we enumerate some tips to help you buy your first guitar.

Decide Between Acoustic or Electric

There are two main types of guitars: acoustic or electric. As a beginner, you’re going to want to invest your money in something that you can use in the long run. Be sure to think about the style of music you want to play and perform before choosing between acoustic and electric guitars.

If you want to have a good foundation for guitar, an acoustic guitar would suit you best. For one, you can play it anywhere without plugging it in. However, acoustic guitars tend to be harder to play as most come with steel strings — but this will strengthen your hands and fingers quickly. Plus, they’re convenient to practice with since its neck is thinner and the strings don’t have a lot of tension. On the other hand, electric guitars tend to be on the more expensive side since it needs additional equipment like amplifiers.

But as we’ve mentioned, the type of guitar that you’re going to need largely depends on the style of music that you want to play. When in doubt, be sure to ask musicians or guitar instructors, so they can help you figure out the guitar that’s ideal for you.

Consider Your Budget

Once you’ve figured out what type of guitar you’ll need, you have to consider how much you’re willing to spend. When it comes to guitars, the price is often indicative of their quality. This means that buying cheap will likely get you a guitar with a lousy build and bad sound quality. For this reason, it’s important to look for a model that fits your budget the best without compromising quality. Besides reading reviews on the internet, it’s also a good idea to interact with and ask experienced guitar players for recommendations. For starters, you can peruse online guitar forums and discussion groups and reach out to people there.

Don’t Forget the Accessories

Certain guitar accessories can impact how a beginner guitar player develops their skills. As such, be sure to create a checklist of various guitar accessories that you need alongside your guitar. One example is a guitar tuner, which allows beginners to make accurate adjustments for intonation. Besides that, guitar tuners can also help beginners train their ears. For acoustic guitars, a clip-on tuner will do. For those using electric guitars, it is recommended that they get a tuner pedal. These accessories are an invaluable tool for electric guitar players, as they allow you to tune up without any distractions or ambient noise. It can also be integrated into your pedal chain for easy adjustments, so it’s worth learning how to use them even when you’re just starting out.

Other accessories that beginner guitar players need is a pick, a guitar maintenance toolkit, a capo, and a metronome. By having these accessories, you cover all your bases and can have a smoother journey to becoming a master player.

Buy In-Store

Lastly, it may be best to buy your first guitar in-store instead of ordering online. Even if you’ve done your research, visiting a store allows you to actually try out your instrument. After all, the best way to know if a guitar is a good match for you is by taking it on a test drive. Moreover, you may find it very helpful to talk to someone at the store who can answer any questions you have about the guitar.

Your first guitar can dictate how enjoyable and fulfilling the rest of your guitar-learning journey is ⁠— whether you choose to learn from video tutorials on Youtube or a guitar teacher. So, be sure to follow the tips we’ve listed above if you want your first guitar to be well worth your time and money.


3 Places Where You Can Learn Pottery In Singapore

Pottery is one of the oldest and most widespread forms of decorative arts. Despite the technological advances, the existence of pottery is far from over.

Experience the beauty of pottery as you attend one of the classes below. These classes will help you create your own plates, bowls, mugs, and more. Handmade crafts are more personalized and meaningful than store-bought products.

What are you waiting for? Make pottery your new hobby this 2021!


What better way to experience pottery than by going back to its roots? While most pottery studios in the country operate on electric kilns, the Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle does not. Witness the magic of the dragon kiln as you attend one of its workshops.

Built in 1940s, the Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle’s dragon kiln is one of the last two dragon kilns in Singapore. Its uniqueness does not stop there! You see, it is the only dragon kiln that is fired up multiple times per year. It is made from bricks and uses a wood-firing technique to engulf the pieces in fire. This way, the ashes react with the pottery glaze to create dynamic textures and colors.

Visit this place to enjoy their tours, workshops, and retail items. One of its interesting workshops is the Paw-Stamping Workshop. This workshop allows you to personalize your pet’s bowl with its paw (costs about S$65). Workshop prices start from S$28/pax.

Address: 85 Lorong Tawas, S (639823)


ARUDIO’s story dates way back in 2014 with its founder – Poh Sin Yong. Poh Sin Yong aims to support the local art scene through providing arts to the public and job opportunities to the local artists. Nestled in Woodlands, you will find various workshops such as painting, printmaking, and pottery.

ARUDIO provides art classes to all levels and rental spaces for artists. In its core, it believes that everyone is bestowed with the gift of creativity.

Well, here is one for the books – a pottery class for couples or friends! If you are looking for an activity to experience quality time with your partner, you may book for the Ceramic Hand Building Class (about S$130/2 pax). It is a 3-hour class for people who are eager to learn about the different tools and techniques used in pottery. Nonetheless, their trial classes start at S$70/pax.

Address: 11 Woodlands Close, #09-30, S (737853)

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The Potters’ Guilt offers more than its eye-catching name! According to its website, it got its name by playing with the terms “guild and guilt”. For them, the word “guild refers to the respect accorded to the integrity of craft” and the word “guilt refers to the pursuit of our own idiosyncratic imperfections”. This studio consists of practicing artists, who are dedicated to work in the realm of three-dimensional art. They share their passions through their products and workshops.

Sign up for The Potters’ Guilt Pottery On Wheels Experience (about S$55/pax) to know more about the technique of wheel-thrown pottery. This is the same tool used in the unforgettable scene in the film “Ghost”. Classes are kept small to ensure everyone safety.

Best of all? Their workshops are not only for adults. Your beloved children can experience the therapeutic effect of pottery by signing up for the Children’s Workshop (about S$60/pax). Let your children create monster mugs while having fun!

Address: 195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace, #01-03, S (168976)

The abovementioned art and pottery studios are just some of the options you may consider when starting out your creative hobby. If you are not yet ready to take a class, learning at home is a budget-friendly alternative. Start by gathering air-dry clay, paint, and acrylic gloss. There are countless tutorials available on YouTube. See for yourself!

Sources: 1 & 2