Nature Themed Music Class @ Trehaus

The moment we stepped into the holiday music class held at Trehaus, at Claymore Connect (just beside Orchard Hotel Singapore), Gar hid behind my back and refused to show his face. Trina, the music teacher, allowed me to stay with him until he was comfortable.

Oh no, was Gar acting up again and refusing to participate in lessons, just like his taekwondo class? After a few minutes, I managed to move him in front of me.

The lesson was about nature and percussion instruments. Trina introduced the various instruments to the children, and reinforced what they had learnt previously, which Gar had missed. To get Gar more comfortable with the class, she put the instruments such as wooden blocks and triangle right in front of him, and he took them and explored them.

She also read stories to the children, and used different instruments for various seasons. He enjoyed hitting the tambourine and was able to beat it in a rhythmic manner.

autumn fall

They were also taught the concept of forte and piano and also 3 beats. Apart from nursery rhymes, she also introduced Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, to increase their exposure to classical music.

playing the tambourine

To the tune of Mulberry bush, they sang and moved around by hopping, skipping, running and walking. Gar was slowly warming up, and he answered the teacher’s questions. He also started participating more actively.

playing the triangle

He needed to go to the loo, so I brought him out. When I asked him whether he was confident to go back in on his own, he said yes, but told me to stay outside and not go anywhere else. I assured him and he went in on his own. Yay!

rain drop music class

It was great to see Gar gain his confidence since Trina was quite patient and encouraging.

exploring the keyboard with the teacher

After the class, I asked whether Gar enjoyed the class, and he said yes as he relaxed on a bean bag.
gar bean bag

There are two more sessions in the June holidays! Check out the details at Trehaus website.

They will be playing the ukelele and xylophone in subsequent lessons.

Note: We were invited to the music class.

Getting A Piano Finally

We finally bought a piano! El had been practising on a keyboard for the longest time. The children like the keyboard because of the tunes and beats, and they can change the instruments too. However, we need to switch it on for them. It is also hard to gauge the amount of strength needed to play the notes on a piano.

I had been hesitating to get one because El kept complaining about how he disliked playing the piano. He still says that from time to time.

What sparked the change in mind was El’s mini piano concert held by his teacher. He practised hard and I played the accompaniment. We performed together to a group of other students’ parents over two nights.

playing piano

On the first night, El fumbled slightly. On the second night, he played very well with confidence! I was so proud of him.
el at the piano

He finally saw some reason for practising piano. I decided it was time to get a proper piano, instead of stealing practices at my mother’s place on an infrequent basis.

I also do not have to resort to the sticker book, which was quite useful in getting him to practise piano. I had given away many Dinosaur Train DVDs as he completed getting 50 stickers for each round. I had also finally caught up with the trips to Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the zoo that he requested as part of the reward for achieving 50 stickers.

Therefore, we decided on getting a brand new Yamaha piano. There were a few pianos, vastly different in prices. Our interior designer had promised that there would be sufficient space in the living room, but after measuring, we could only fit in a piano that was 152cm wide and not much more. We bought the cheaper version, made in Indonesia.

When the piano first arrived, I was very sad because the notes sounded off. After a week or two, the technician came and tuned the piano. The notes sounded better. It was not so bad after all.

I really hope El will continue to play the piano. As part of the Christmas package, we have $150 worth of vouchers. I wonder what to do with them.

“I want to learn the violin,” said El recently.

Eeks, would the piano be short-lived?

El Composes Gar Come To Play

El’s piano teacher wants him to play Gallop Pony for the annual concert. She had sent me a video of him playing that song before. We were at my parents’ place and I got him to practise the song. Since I could remember it from memory (almost), I played for him and he played too. He could remember it and played from memory, with a little hiccup.

I tried to teach him to link the notes and use his wrist movement to make the notes sound better and not staccato-like.

Then, because he wanted to play Pearl in the C, he became very agitated. I did not remember this song, so I could not play it for him. I got my husband, who was at home, to take a photo of the song and send it to me.
Pearl in the C

He did, and we played the song, which was just a series of C notes an octave apart.

gar el inspiration

Then, he swiped through the whatsapp photos, and noticed a picture of Gar. Immediately, he put the phone down, and started playing a few notes.

B C B C |A… | B C B C |D…|

I started singing to the tune, Gar(x) Gar(x) Come, Gar(x) Come and Play, using Gar’s full name. He was amused by it, and I suggested writing it down.

We went to my old room, where there was a grey office table I used to work at. I could not find any manuscript paper, so I took a piece of blank paper and drew the stave (or staff in American English for 5 music lines) using a plastic clipper for bags and a pencil. He climbed up a red stool and sat down. He wrote ‘Gar Come To Play’ at the top of the stave.

The notes are right between two clefs, so I wanted him to write them an octave higher. He went ahead to draw the beautiful middle C on top of the stave. I had to change the treble clef to bass clef.

“Hey, your tune starts with B, not C,” I reminded him.

He got down from the red stool, and ran out to play the notes again. He ran back and said that it was okay to start with C.

He was unhappy with how the B looked like, saying it was too flat. I erased it and he drew over it again. Eventually, he had written C B C B A C B C B D, all in minim beats.

Gar Come To Play

It was getting late, so we took the paper and left. I promised him I would buy manuscript paper for him. Music prodigy he is not, but at least he is showing more interest in piano now!

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