2018 has been wild! A year full of contradictions, but perhaps life is full of that anyway... Time zoomed past, but looking back the year seemed extremely long! So much has happened.
2018 is the year I adapt back to Singapore, the city I grew up in. So much has changed, so much has remained. Reconnecting with many friends, colleagues, family and extended family has been a significant part of the year. And since I'm physically back in this country, it's also the year I make choices of how, who, and what to spend my time on. Successful new routines were cultivated, routines were broken, struggles to get back into similar or newly formulated routines, and.... repeat. Routines that revolved around sleep, exercise, food, teaching, music and concerts, work, family and friends etc. Balance and routines has been something I'm grappling with, sometimes with huge success and other times, meh.... Routine is just something my ADHD mind desperately needs to reduce anxiety and for efficiency and productivity, and perhaps it will be a lifelong pursuit.
One of the biggest reasons I moved back to Singapore was to do something I love aka teach music on the island I'm familiar with and grew up in. Looking at how much Singapore has grown in the past 10 years, there's so much familiarity, but yet it seems everything has changed too. Just looking at the education system - the school and tuition scene I've heard of for a while but never experienced has hit me hard. Hearing all about it from my students and their families as well as my friends who have kids of school-going age (ALREADY!) gives me the chills! I remember school was not a breeze when I was younger, but going to tuition for every subject from primary school age, seems like it has become a necessity, or not?!? Well, lucky for me I won't have to face it. Also, it's another good reason to give when others ask if I want kids! =)
2018 is the year I re-started my teaching studio in Singapore after being away for 7.5 years. Didn't know what to expect. Didn't know how much parents and families have changed from before. Apprehensive. Excited. Scared. But ready for the challenge.
Week 1 of 2018, TMC started out with one Violin Academy student. Fast forward to end of 2018, about nearly half of my students (both Violin Academy and private) performed at Spotlight. So much support came from colleagues, fellow music educators, students and their families, spreading the word and believing in the studio. There's nothing like the strength in a community. #proudteacher
It's also been a year of building new relationships with students and their families in Singapore, after leaving my studio in the US. The start of introducing new musical experiences to my students and their families, in the hope to inspire them to embark on a lifelong arts journey.
Some precious moments of attending concerts with the young ones in 2018! <3
Each of them have an individual relationship with music and as a teacher I'm purely guiding them where music brings them. This doesn't mean I don't have high expectations of my students, or that since they don't take exams they can just play like crap, or that if they aren't readying themselves to be musicians in future they can just goof off and not practice. They may not be perfect, but each one makes progress at their own pace. We celebrate progress made, especially at events such as Spotlight, and then move on to conquer their next milestone together.
Violin kids post-Spotlight 2018!
Well well, enough about 2018. There's so much that is impossible to be penned anyway.
Ending off the year with a time warp to one of the best childhood times - SYO days! Playing under Mr Lim Yau, who literally watched all of us grow up (or old!) and to complete the picture, desk-partners with Edward, a dear colleague who plays beautifully and whom I grew up with since SYO days as well as Juan who is conducting the rest of the program brilliantly! TPO's New Year's Eve Concert - ringing in 2019 with some Firebird and other classical music party music, what with Pomp and Circumstance and some Lehar Waltzes.
Same same, but different.
SYO days... where we won't dare breathe a word during rehearsals, or so much as show up unprepared or play a wrong note, not bring a pencil or step into rehearsals a minute late. The anxiety of having your name called during rehearsals, it's NEVER a good sign let's just say that. The "best" outcome to your name being called would be to play a passage ALONE in front of the whole orchestra, and it's not even just "one of those days" that it will happen. It happens... often enough! Often enough for us to practice all passages properly before rehearsals, because the minute you slip up on a passage, well well... Over the years I've heard Mr Lim became much more chill too, but childhood memories and fears will always be there, hahs! Fast forward to 2018, pre-first rehearsal freak out is real!! But perhaps life has changed all of us, in a good way?!..... It's been a great time during rehearsals and I'm still learning and experiencing a lot each rehearsal from both conductors. The fear and chills still run down my spine, but dissipates eventually, quicker each time! =) I'm sure concert will be a blast too, although let's be real, concert past my bed-time.... perhaps a higher risk of botching up more notes! =)
More in 2019!