Archives for posts with tag: piano

Ah Lo is taking lessons from his brother lately. Apparently the last few years, Ah Lo’s teacher didn’t touch any of the musicianship skills. Therefore, on Monday nights, Ah Lo would have a lesson with Dai Bee, training the ears, learning “notation” and tonal skills sight reading and how to execute the song. There are much to learn and at times, Dai Bee can be pretty tough on his brother. He will constantly test Ah Lo to see if he really understand what was taught. I enjoyed sitting in their lessons, might even learn a thing or two myself.


One of the two days Dai Bee and his friends performing at one of the two senior homes. img_5253

Dai Bee is taking on a new role starting this month! He’s a piano teacher now, teaching at beginning level and charging minimum wage. His first two students are his cousins who come weekly. While teaching, he’s also learning at the same time. We’ll see how far this goes.


Boys will be playing for the seniors this Christmas. They have been diligently practicing Carol of the Bells. What’s interesting is to see how Dai Bee teaches Ah Lo on sight seeing, rhythmical structure and the musicality (which is the most difficult). I pretend to be reading a book or looking at my phone, when I’m sole purpose is to act as a moderator. Or to ease the tension between the two. Both are learning and teaching at the same time. Dai Bee is teaching Ah Lo, while learning how to be a teacher. Ah Lo is learning his piece from his brother, while teaching his brother how to be patient. Good teamwork!


A Friday ritual.

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember – {this moment}


A Friday ritual.

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember – {this moment}


Not my kind of Sunday waking up at 7:30am, but again, this is what moms do for her kids.

Dai Bee expressed interest in learning to tune pianos. I started to research to see if there are any lessons he can take. There are some fee based online courses available, but not much options out there. We checked with his music theory teacher for recommendations. He gave us a name, who happens to work in the Conservatory of Music. Unfortunately, this piano tuner is on his way out, but was happy to show Dai Bee a thing or two (as a favor to Dai Bee’s Music Theory teacher).

That’s why we are here, at 8 am Sunday morning, because that’s the only time the piano tuner is available. He kept mentioning 5 minutes was all he got and that’s all we’ll get. But he went on and on, telling Dai Bee about the background and some history of the business. To consider oneself a pro, one must tune at least 600 pianos. It’s the type of business that you have to be all in or nothing. He gave Dai Bee some magazines and some materials he once used to teach to bring home. At the end, he was nice enough to bring us to the concert hall at the Conservatory. Dai Bee had a chance to play on the piano at the concert hall and enjoyed it tremendously.

After all the information presented to Dai Bee, I asked him if he’s still interested to learn to tune pianos. Yes, he is. We’ll see where we go from here.


Many parents often ask me what level Dai Bee is playing (piano). I never knew what to tell them. Apparently students take music examinations to determine the level they are playing.  These exams are supposedly great as a measure of the student’s progress. More entrenched in Asia and other parts of the world, these music exams are not as popular here. Last week I finally got a chance to ask Dai Bee’s piano teacher about his current level. At first the teacher was worried I might ask her to prepare Dai Bee for this exam. She was relieved when I told her that wasn’t the reason why I asked. She also gave me her reservations of preparing her students for these music exams. Studying for these exams is rigorous. Different levels require different set of skills. Besides taking sight-reading and aural tests, he also has to pass the some sort of theory exam. It is under tremendous pressure for the kid to pass because it takes months and months of practice. Knowing Dai Bee, he wouldn’t thrive in that kind of condition.

If she must answer me, he’s now playing a piece at the 8th or 9th level. That’s already good enough for me.

Today is one of those hectic days again. First off it’s Dai Bee’s big testing day. We dropped him off at the testing center (SI) at 7:45am in one of the more chilly mornings.


The three of us drove around to grab breakfast. We almost never go out for breakfast. I was surprised to find many places are still closed, except this dingy looking dim-sum to go place. We sat down and filled our tummies with hot watery porridge and some dim sum. Afterwards, I went for grocery shopping to get the items we need for the week.

The second or third stop we made was driving Ah Lo for his first basketball game. The team lost, but it was always fun to watch the little ones play. After his game, we rushed back to pick up Dai Bee. He was waiting for us by the time we got there. He didn’t complain much about taking the test, nor did he mention if it was too hard/easy for him. He finished the English portion, but didn’t have enough time for the Math part. The test included the essay part – “Originality is over rated.” He did the best he could, but wished for more time. That was the feedback I got.

We had lunch before we went shopping for the boys. Dai Bee has a piano recital next weekend and was asked to dress up in “nice clothes”. All they have are sweat pants and casual clothes. Glad that was taken care of today. His piano recital will be held in a piano gallery. Since he has a Yamaha at home, and he will be playing a Steinway during recital. His teacher suggested for him to try playing on the Steinway piano since the pianos have a different feel to it. We spent a good hour there, waiting for him to practice.


Great thing that Mr. Piggy found a prime spot near the piano gallery and we ended up having dinner in that area (which we almost never venture out to). This is one of those weird days where we ate out for the entire day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.


This was Dai Bee’s 2nd piano recital. His piano teacher organized a recital for all her students (with a fee of course) every year at a church. Families and friends were welcomed to attend. It wasn’t anything big, just maybe 20 students (in one session) and lasted for 30-40 minutes. Faces of proud parents held tight with their video cameras (no cameras during performance) to record that special moment when their child played. I, was no exception. I was almost in tears listening to Dai Bee played his piece. He came a long way and improved so much from practicing day or night. His passion for music helped him gained so much confidence in the last year or so, as evident when he plays. I wasn’t sure if he made any mistakes during his recital, but it sounded so beautiful, to me, it was perfect!

Today I am thankful for the beautiful weather…”