Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review! Our Music Journey: Violin Trial @ Aureus Academy!

I am sharing our violin experience in this third post on our series of trials at Aureus Academy. Ironically, this post has been the hardest of the 3 to write so far. :p If you have been following my blog, you would have read that the kiddo and I recently decided to leave the music school that the kiddo has been with for the past 3 odd years. It was a big decision because it is always unnerving as we have to search for a new teacher all over again, and for her to build up the chemistry and relationship with the new teacher too.

:: Violin Trial

Dumpling has recently finished her ABRSM exam and as shared in my earlier post, I made the decision to leave because I wanted to work on musicality as well as to rework her foundation. Moving on midway is always a concern as there is the adaptation of a new teaching style. The kiddo and I also come with “baggage” since it is always easier to teach / start on a clean slate than to take over a student midway and having to correct posture, techniques, bowing, etc.

When Dumpling first started with the violin, it was in a group class setting. It was about a year ago then I decided to switch her over to an individual class as I felt that it was more suitable for her as she did not have to spend so much time “waiting” for her turn. At Aureus Academy, violin is taught on a 1:1 format, a philosophy that the founders at firmly believe in.

“Being a musician myself, I feel that the 1:1 approach is important as the teacher is able to work with the child slowly. The dedicated attention is also beneficial for the child,” commented Lawrence Sarabi, who was awarded two of the top prizes at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Concerto competition and hailed by Straits Times, as “awe inspiring”.

“However if the child is really young, we do have a music appreciation class that is specially designed and catered to children who are 3 – 5YO” added Lawrence.


:: The Lesson

Our Violin teacher was Shao Jie who hails from the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with over a decade of experience. The kiddo, though excited about the class, was also a bit apprehensive as she had been with the same teacher for the past 3 years. Teacher Shao Jie started the session by getting the kiddo to play a song for her, which allowed him to observe the kiddo and ascertain what her “level” is. Interestingly, he then picked up on the few areas which I had also wanted the kiddo to improve on – intonation & bowing technique.


He then got the kiddo to work on finger “exercises” with the focus on intonation. As Dumpling was really tired that afternoon, another session was arranged with Teacher SJ.

During the week leading up the next lesson, the kiddo worked on the finger exercises and I was pretty happy to note that there was a difference in her precision. Without looking so often at the “stickers” on her fingerboard, the kiddo started being more confident in playing the right notes and could detect by year when a note was a bit flat. J

When the day of the second session arrived, she was quite excited to learn from Teacher SJ again. After a round of warm up, he got her to sight read 2 pieces and then worked with her on them. What I was particularly pleased with is that midway; he stopped the kiddo and went through some basic musical knowledge – terms, key signature, ‘pulse’, etc. Personally, I feel that some of these tend to be overlooked and I believe that these basic things need to be run through as it adds clarity and depth to the child’s understanding and interpretation of his/her pieces. At the end of the lesson, Teacher SJ took the time to run through with me his observations and what he would be working on with Dumpling if she were to be under his tutelage. 


(Dumpling having a discussion with Teacher SJ on the pieces she was about to start on)



:: What we like about the lesson

Being a father to a young toddler, Teacher SJ was really patient and encouraging. The kiddo was a tad nervous and restarted some parts a few times on a new piece. His smile never faltered and he remained really calm. In instances where the kiddo was unsure, he “broke” the sections down into parts which made it easier for the kiddo to interpret and understand.   

(Teacher SJ demonstrating to Dumpling)

I also like that Teacher SJ was not in a rush and took the time to work through the necessary basics with the kiddo without assuming that she already knows it. Things such as bow management was demonstrated and explained to the kiddo while he also suggested for me to play the melody with her on the electric piano to improve her intonation. One of the things that Teacher SJ has shared a few times was that he did not like the stickers on the violin and that he would have them removed so that Dumpling does not depend on them – something which has also bothered me for a long time.

The kiddo also had chemistry with Teacher SJ and was really focused on her lesson. 



Teacher SJ was sharp and precise, yet there is an easy going demeanour about him which I think would make him a popular choice with young violinists. J


And a typical pose for all violinist I think! Lol

:: Teacher’s profile  

 

Quoted as the instrument that gave Albert Einstein the most joy, the violin is a beautiful and expressive instrument.

I am pleased to share Aureus Academy is offering a FREE PRIVATE VIOLIN TRIAL and for the first 5 who sign up for term classes, a beginner’s violin worth $180 will be included in the starter pack!

Trial is FOC and is for children from 5YO.  
Trials are also on a non-obligatory basis.

Keen on trying out the violin? Just leave your name and email address in the comment section below so that we can be in touch! :) Do share the post and love with your friends so that they can enjoy the offer too!

You can read about our experience at the Guitar Trial here and the Piano Trial here

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored series of conversations and music trials between Aureus Academy, Dumpling and I. All opinions expressed are entirely our own.

About Aureus Academy:
Aureus Academy is Singapore’s fastest growing music school with nearly 1,000 students enrolled amongst its 3 centres. Aureus Academy specializes in providing individually tailored piano, violin, guitar, and vocal lessons to students of all ages and abilities. It also believes that one-on-one is the best environment to learn a musical instrument. Recently awarded “Best in one-to-one Music Lessons” by Parent’s World Magazine, Aureus Academy offers free trial lessons so you can experience it yourself!

Aureus Academy is located at the campuses below:

:: Forum The Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road
#B1-18, Singapore 238884
Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

:: Rochester Mall
35 Rochester Drive
#03-08/15, Singapore 138639
Monday – Friday: 1:00pm – 8:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

:: 112 Katong
Newly Opened!
112 East Coast Road
#03-10
Singapore, 428802

You can also connect with Aureus Academy through its Facebook page

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Giveaway: Chew Time for Man's Best Friend!

We recently adopted a Singapore Special, Jaime. Having a puppy means chewed up walls, slippers and sofas. Well, at least that’s how it has been for me and the 4 dogs that I have had so far. Puppies chew a lot because they are bored and because they are teething.

The natural thing for us to do was to look for chews for her to chew on. And not just any chew, but healthy natural ones too. 

:: The Shopping Experience

A quick online search brought me to Chew Time and I was immediately drawn to their “Sale” page which featured bundle deals! :p 


What is especially useful for me is the description of the items in the individual bundle packs and chew box pages. Being a puppy, Jaime is a fairly aggressive chewer and description like the below helps me:


Additionally, the bundle packs are also bundled specially where they are cheaper than purchasing as individual items.

The checkout process was fast and easy. Smart Pac is offered free for orders above $50 and free courier is available for orders above $80. Mode of payment is also easily done via internet / bank transfer.

(Jaime sussing the items out)

A few days later, the SmartPac arrived in our letter box. And it couldn’t have arrived on a better day. It was a special day for us and for Jaime because that is the day when she was formally adopted by us. :)

:: The items

I had ordered the September Chew Box and added on some bully sticks. I was pleased to see that the items were not only vacuumed sealed but also labelled individually. 



 (Close-up of the items I ordered)


(Some of the pieces were really big!)

The VID (very important dog) was of course ecstatic! And what a better time for us to work with her on her “sit” and “stay” than this! 

(Human, may I be "released" now? This is animal cruelty!)

It was a great moment to teach her the "come" command too. :) 

video

The website made good its recommendations and our bully sticks lasted for a while (about 2 hours) which was quite good considering that she is an aggressive chewer!


Jaime has almost finished all the pieces in the box and so far, she has enjoyed all of them. From the Roo Tendon to the Lamb Shank, and from the Bully Sticks to the Roo Tail, they were definitely great treats and training rewards. :) 

Would you like to win 1 x October Chew Pack or 1 x October Chew box for your furkids? 

I am pleased to share that I have 1 of each worth a total of almost $80 to give away!



Take part in the rafflecopter below to enter for a chance of winning! 
(Please remember to leave a comment below on "Why you would like to win a Chew Box" as well as include your email address!)


:: Terms and Conditions:

1) The give away is only for people residing in Singapore.
2) No duplicate winners allowed.
3) Winners have to provide an email address and respond within 48 hours after receiving notification email. Otherwise, another winner will be chosen.

Can't wait for the giveaway to pamper your best friends? Fret not! Chew Time is running a Halloween Sale from 26 Oct to 1 Nov 2015 which offers additional savings! :)


Beanie N UsA Juggling Mom and Dinomama are pleased to bring to you a series of giveaways leading into December! Please remember to share and like our pages to keep abreast of our giveaway lineup!

Disclaimer: The giveaway is kindly sponsored by Chew Time. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours.

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Adopt, Don't Shop. Our Fostering Journey :)

Being someone of faith, I believe that God has a hand in every aspect of my life and I understand that what I want many times, may not be what He thinks is best for me and my family. :) The family fostered a puppy 3 months ago, Singapore Special (street dog), from Save Our StreetDogs Singapore (SOSD) and this is our story. :)

I have always been an animal lover. I am blessed because even when I was young, my dad (who likes animals) too, would indulge me and get me bunnies, crabs, terrapins, etc. Our family dog, a fiesty Fox Terrier, was with us for a good 14 years before he passed on. After I got married and shifted out, the hubs and I had another 2 dogs. But truth be told, I forgot how hard it can be fostering a puppy. Jaime is from a litter of 10 puppies which SOSD rescued from Jurong Island. Being dog lovers, we wanted to get another dog after our Goldie, a buff colored cocker spaniel passed on last year but it took me a while to decide that I was ready as I was really attached to Goldie.

I have been following some Animal Welfare Groups on Facebook for some time and the family decided to visit an adoption drive in June at Bishan Park. My original choice was to foster a dog named Autumn and we visited the drive to have a chance to interact with her. Unfortunately, Autumn was not at the drive because of some ring worm issues. One of the volunteers there (I am still "blaming" you Val!), then passed us Jaime. For some strange reason, the hubs and the kiddo liked Jaime. We took some time to observe her as she interacted with other dogs as well as watch how she took to other "visitors". 


(Dumpling with Jaime who was a wee bit of a pup at 3 months old)

Though not really our original "choice", we then filled up a form to indicate our interest and waited (somewhat impatiently I would add) for the fostering team to call me. I am stifling a chuckle because I am sure that the rehoming team has never met any potential fosterer who is as “tiger” as me. I must over emailed the team 3 times in the week that followed after we met Jaime. :p


Jaime before her first bath after we brought her home in June. She was just a bit bigger than the bottle of shampoo then. :p

:: The fostering procedure
If you are considering being a fosterer or adopter, make no mistake that because these are volunteers, the process is casual. If anything, the process was really stringent. I had a phone call / interview followed by a home visit. The call was very thorough and the lady whom I spoke to was very frank with the work needed. During the home visit, the team spoke to us about what is expected from our end (train the puppy – e.g. toilet training, regular walks, bringing the puppy for vaccination and adoption drives, etc.) what to expect from a puppy as well as took a look around our apartment to ensure that the place is suitable. They also highlighted areas where we needed to puppy proof (e.g. placing mesh netting over our gate). Over the next few days, there were to and fro messages on whatsapp and there was also a concern if there was anyone at home to watch over the puppy. There was also paperwork to be done where fosterers needed to take note of some responsibilities listed in the Fostering Agreement. 

We then visited the shelter and one of the volunteers there brought J out, and that was the start of our fostering journey. 

:: The fostering journey  
In retrospect, I forgot how challenging it is to have a puppy. Puppies need so much work – besides needing to be fed 3 – 4 times a day, most tend to be very mouthy as they go into the teething period when they are about 4+ months old. With a puppy, you are starting on a clean slate so yes, the potential is there. BUT that also means that you and your family alone are responsible for teaching the pup some manners and BOUNDARIES.


Jaime "gated" because she was caught biting our slippers and sandals 

It is a daily tussle of reinforcing and nagging; not unlike having a second kid. (Haha!) Then there’s also the toilet training. I prefer my dogs to be able to “go” on both papers and grass and this, on hindsight, has come in handy for us especially with the recent haze reaching hazardous levels.

However, along the way of paper training her, she regressed. She started off good but as she grew older (about 5 months old), she started really pushing the boundaries. I think part of the reasons may be because she was much more comfortable with us so she feels “secure”. That started the chewing and… the severe separation anxiety.


I was woken up rudely one morning, around 3+am by J’s sharp barks. Because it was such awkward hours, I had no choice but to tend to her. J, at that point, sleeps in the kitchen area on her own. When she was 3-4 months old, she would whimper and bark a bit before she sleeps but it was often for a short period like 5 minutes. However, for some strange reason, things took a worse turn when she was 4+/5 months old. Over the next few nights, she would bark at 4+ / 5+am too. It was a bad period because I was worried about the disturbance to my neighbours. We tried many things – playing with her and taking her for longer walks so that she would tire out, gently easing her into bedtime but nothing worked.

Instinctively I know that she could feel my anxiety when she barks late at night. So, I spoke to my immediate neighbours and explained the situation to them. I asked them if they could hear the barks ("yes, but it is quite soft") and that I want to try ignoring her barks and will need a week to work on it. Thereafter, that very night, I closed all the windows but turned on the fan for J. I then stuffed our ears with ear plugs and for once in a long while, I had a good uninterrupted rest. She did bark for small stretches of time and waited for us to attend to her. After some time, she realised that it did not yield the attention she needed and she promptly stopped.  


(Another evidence of one of Jaime's misbehavior, she chewed a hole in our wall!) 

There were also other challenges which we worked hard (and some still working hard) to change. One of which is jumping onto our bed. Because J has somewhat stopped chewing our things (so far we have lost about 6 pairs of slippers / sandals) she now can enter into our room though we hawk over her and we are still insistent on the "no jumping on bed" rule.

The journey has not been without hiccups but while fostering her, we fell in love with her a bit more each day. Being a puppy, we recognise that she has loads of beans so we were prepared for that. It is also fortunate in a way that Hubs and I both have experience with dogs and we have also gone for obedience training previously so we both know how to work with her on basic obedience. 

For all the naughty things that she has done, she is also very affectionate... 


(Relishing in puppy kisses!)

(Kissing the kiddo goodbye before she leaves for school)

And very bright!

(For those who think street dogs are untrainable, you will be surprised at how bright J is. So bright that she knows how to 'bend the rules'. She knows that the bed is off limits - she can't jump onto the bed unless she's invited. So well, here she is, technically not entirely "on the bed".)

She has brought a lot of joy to our family and my kiddo also loves her to bits. :) Our family decided to make her a permanent member and Jaime was formally adopted on 7th October, under Project ADORE.

:: Tips
Chews and Kong
Puppies chew. Period. So it is always good to provide alternatives. We bought SmartBones (recommendations from the rehoming team), ribs, lambs ears, etc. One of my favorites is air-dried deer sinew (below) as there's little smell and it is quite lasting (though still gone in one day). We get this from places like Sun Petgamart (Seletar) and Polypet (Clementi). I also order bundled items from Chew Time which delivers to me using a SmartPac by Singpost. 

One of the other reasons why her chewing is minimised is that we were really consistent in correcting her behaviour. When it starts to get quiet, we would immediately check on her. We also bought a Kong where we would stuff treats in it really tight. She then had to work really hard to take them out and this was a nightly ritual which tired her out and helped settle her for bedtime too.

 
(Offering her alternatives such as lambs ears to chew) 

Lavender Essential Oil
What also worked for us was me rubbing Lavender essential oils on walls and corners that J likes to gnaw on. Lavender, though sweet smelling, is totally vile when it comes to taste. We use Young Living Lavender Essential Oils as they are of therapeutic grade. (I also dab a bit of Lavender / Peace and Calming on her before bedtime as I feel that it helps her settle to sleep better.)

Bringing her out + basic obedience training
Before the haze got really bad, I used to bring her out with me on Saturdays and Sunday mornings when I sent the kiddo for various lessons. Besides burning some “beans” I also had the time to work with her on heeling and sitting work. 


(Waiting with me for the kiddo to finish her classes where I also had the time to work with her on walking with leash, heeling and stopping work)

This aspect is important as it teaches dogs how to stop when you do, something that will certainly come in handy when waiting at the traffic lights or at the side of the roads at the zebra crossing. Because we have Dumpling (who's only 7) at home, one of the things that I am working on is to teach her not to jump and we started with asking her to "sit" and "wait" for her meals. 


Acceptance and Consistency
When adopting / fostering puppies, always recognise that like children, they are learning too. And more than that, they are learning OUR rules which may not be natural for them. Patience is the key and if you can accept that they are learning and will take time, you will have a more balanced BP. :p 

I cannot emphasise on how important consistency is. There are days when she jumps the gate / onto the bed when I had a really tiring day at work and all I want to do is just lay there. But I recognise that puppies need consistency and boundaries, if we do not teach them rules now, they will grow up being really difficult to handle and at times, it can even be dangerous for themselves and the handlers. (Imagine running / chasing after cars or jumping over gates and out of the house.)

(Finally understanding some ground rules where the bedroom was not to be entered unless we said OK. This was when she was younger. Now that we have observed she does not bite our clothes, etc., she is able to enter but she does not get to go onto the bed)

Despite the fact that we know that we were going to adopt her, we did not let her into the bedroom to sleep on the floor till we signed the papers. As a fosterer, my concern is that if I do not set the boundaries, then chances of her being adopted will be much lower and she may “fail” her home stay. On hindsight, I think that this has worked really well in our favour because she no longer barks and yelp nonstop when I reach home or when I place her into the kitchen area if I need to be out for a short time (we are still not leaving her at home unsupervised).

If you are considering adoption and do not have someone at home most of the time, you may like to consider an adult dog instead of a puppy. Yes, puppies are cute and all but they are MUCH HARDER work. There were many times I feel like strangling Jaime especially with the lack of sleep (I am a FTWM) and it took true tenacity (and loads of prayers!) not to do so. Puppies are cuddly, cute and all but the cuteness will not last forever and once that goes off, the "naughty" things that they do may not seem so tolerable. 


(Jaime who has come a long way and learning about our rules. Here is her growth in a span of 3 months where she outgrew her "cuteness")

The SOSD team has been great because as soon as we brought J home, there was a group chat that was started where I could update the team (special thanks going out to Jaslyn and Lai Nah!) on Jaime's progress. But during these past months, there were many instances where I was really stretched and was at my wit's end with all the barking and the chewing. 

The team was very encouraging, cheering me on with the little successes, sympathetic when I had a rough night (having survived on a few days of less than 5 hours of sleep) and giving suggestions and advice when I was having behavioral issues with J. And all these, they did it out of genuine desire to help these street dogs and out of love. 

My personal opinion is that if you are considering having a dog, do look into adoption instead of buying. Give these dogs a chance. In doing so, you are also giving yourself and your family a different chance at happiness too. :) Perhaps, just like my family, you will have a new "bundle" of joy, endless puppy kisses and a lifetime companion. 

My 7YO daughter who is in charge of showering Jaime lately said, "You know Mama, when we adopt, we do not save just 1 life. We save 2 - Jaime's as well as another street dog which now has a space at the shelter." I cannot be a prouder mum - to both the kiddo and the furkid, who have both come a long way. :)

(Our fostering journey has impacted all of us in different ways, including the kiddo. She decided to do an "outreach" in her own way - she wanted to talk about street dogs, adoption and SOSD for her "Show and Tell" in school.)


(Jaime having a ball of a time with my BFF at Botanic Gardens)


PS: We visited SOSD's Shelter a few months back and you can read about it here

Disclaimer: This is neither a sponsored post nor were we compensated for it. All opinions expressed are entirely ours though the dogs that you see on their website and at the adoption drives can be yours. :) You can visit the adoption page hereThe family and I are not responsible for any puppy kisses, love at first sight experiences and the Oxytocin surge when you visit the adoption drives. :) To keep abreast of some of these Adoption Drives, you can follow SOSD on their Facebook page. If you are adopting / have adopted a Singapore Special, you may also like to join Singapore Specials Club Facebook page where there's plenty of tips, sharing and doggie photos to smile and coo over. ) 

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both to the kiddo and my furkid, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review! Our Music Journey: Guitar Trial @ Aureus Academy!

In this second post on our series of trials at Aureus Academy the kiddo and I headed to one of its newest centres at Forum Shopping Mall. Forum Shopping Mall is definitely a familiar ground for many parents who schedule weekend classes for their children. This outlet is Aureus Academy’s second centre at Forum, opened 23 months after its first centre.

:: Facilities
This new outlet functions like an extended “wing” from its other outlet a few doors down and boasts of 10 studios and a half glass panelled (which can be covered up) concert hall that can seat up to 70 people. This allows shoppers / visitors to look in while it encourages students to be used to playing / performing in front of parents, something which I think is important for showmanship.



This centre also includes a retail space selling 2nd hand pianos (price includes free delivery, free adjustable bench, 1 x free tuning, a set of 4 caster cups and a 1 year all part and labour warranty with enrolled students enjoying a further $199 OFF lessons if they were to purchase a piano at Aureus Academy) and other instruments such as violins and guitars. From my chat with Julius Sarabi, Managing Director of Aureus Academy, the centre offers an instalment free payment option too, via UOB credit cards. 




:: Guitar Trial
The kiddo had her first ever piano trial with Aureus Academy the week before this post, with her Aural teacher, Ms Yunshi. For the second trial, Lawrence suggested the guitar. When I first heard about the guitar suggestion, I was surprised. It is an instrument that I would not have considered for the kiddo. I am not sure if it is a Singaporean / Asian preference but most of my friends have kids who are learning the piano, violin and cello. :p

However, upon chatting with Lawrence Sarabi (co-founder of Aureus Academy), I got to learn that the guitar is gaining popularity and there are now 4 full time guitar teachers at Aureus! A good age to start guitar, I was told, is 6 where the child’s motor skills are developed and is now able to follow instructions.

Progression wise, students can opt to take ABRSM exams for the guitar too. 

:: Our Lesson 
Our Guitar Teacher was Nikhil who has a Degree in Music Therapy from the prestigious Berklee College of Music and has 10 years of teaching experience. Nikhil was full of energy and started the session by asking if the kiddo and I know Taylor Swift. Unfortunately, I am not a big fan and the kiddo prefers listening to audio CDs than pop songs (which happens to be something I wish to rectify :p) 

Unfazed, Teacher Nikhil introduced Dumpling to Taylor Swift!



He then linked the song to the 3 chords she will learn that afternoon – A minor, C and G minor.


Teacher Nikhil then proceeded to introduce the kiddo to the various parts of the guitar and taught her to strum. Considering that it was near to the kiddo’s nap time, she was still able to catch on and was actually quite attentive.


 :: What we like about the lesson
The kiddo had her lesson at the recital hall and there were curious passer-by looking on. She remained unfazed with the attention and was totally un-bothered as she sat on, getting acquainted with the new instrument. For “shy” performers, I think that the exposure in “performing” in such a room can only gradually aid and increase their confidence.

I like the energy that Teacher Nikhil exudes and that he tried to bring the lesson to a level where children can relate to, with the introduction of Taylor Swift. With the introduction of the 3 chords, the kiddo can basically do the accompaniment for “Shake it Off”. It was also a good choice of song as the song was upbeat and catchy. :) 

Though we had only gone for one lesson, by the end of the lesson, the kiddo managed to remember the placements for the 3 chords. I would think that she probably will be able to master these 3 chords by lesson 2 or 3 and play/sing alongside to the video.

video

The guitar is an accompaniment instrument and I like that with it being so portable, it is easy for anyone to pick it up, learn it on a song-by-song basis and can immediately strum / sing to it in 1 – 2 months time.

Nikhil was also very encouraging throughout the lesson and though she was a bit tired that afternoon, she was mighty pleased with herself for mastering the 3 chords! After we got home and when she has woken up from her nap, in her words, she said “Mama, actually the guitar session was quite fun!” and proceeded to ask me for Taylor Swift YouTube clips. LOL


And a high-5 to end off for a job well done!

:: Teacher’s profile 


Aureus Academy is now offering a FREE 1:1 GUITAR TRIAL! But that's not all! A beginner's guitar worth $100 will be given to the first 5 students who sign up for term classes! 



Trial is FOC and is for children from 6years old. 
Trials are also on a non-obligatory basis.

Keen on trying out the guitar? Just leave your name and email address in the comment section below so that we can be in touch! :)

You can read about our experience at the Violin Trial here and the Piano Trial here

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored series of conversations and music experiences between Aureus Academy, Dumpling and I. All opinions expressed are entirely our own.

About Aureus Academy:
Aureus Academy is Singapore’s fastest growing music school with nearly 1,000 students enrolled amongst its 3 centres. Aureus Academy specializes in providing individually tailored piano, violin, guitar, and vocal lessons to students of all ages and abilities. It also believes that one-on-one is the best environment to learn a musical instrument. Recently awarded “Best in one-to-one Music Lessons” by Parent’s World Magazine, Aureus Academy offers free trial lessons so you can experience it yourself!

Aureus Academy is located at the campuses below:

:: Forum The Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road
#B1-18, Singapore 238884
Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

:: Rochester Mall
35 Rochester Drive
#03-08/15, Singapore 138639
Monday – Friday: 1:00pm – 8:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

:: 112 Katong
Now Opened!
112 East Coast Road
#03-10
Singapore, 428802

Phone: +65 6235 6488
Email: contact@aureusacademy.com
You can also connect with Aureus Academy through its Facebook page!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Giveaway: An Enormous Turnip by I Theatre

A traditional story from Russia that illustrates what can be achieved with team work, the Enormous Turnip was a production that the kiddo and I enjoyed from 3 years back! I recall fondly how excited she was and how she decided she wanted to go in a "princessy" outfit. The play was also very engaging and interactive; Dumpling was singing and “heaving, yanking and pulling” along with the actors.  


Comes this November, The Enormous Turnip will return as an improved and reinvented version of the sold-out production in 2013. With new songs, a different cast and with different theatre styles coupled with I Theatre’s signature masks, puppetry and theatre magic, the updated production promises a whole new experience.  



An excerpt from I Theatre’s website:

A tiny mouse – and an enormous turnip.
Little Eek the Mouse’s dream is to be noticed. But Eek is SO small.

Diggory the Gardener’s dream is to win a prize – any prize for his vegetables.
And then – in his garden, a turnip grows – and grows – and grows!


Where does it come from?
And who is strong enough to pull this Enormous Turnip out of the ground?


A fast paced, colourful, interactive play, carefully designed for the younger audience, with cute characters, fun and memorable songs, and a clear moral message for everyone.

I am pleased to share that I have a family package of 4 tickets worth more than $120 to give away!


Duration: 55 minutes plus meet and greet.
Most suitable for: Anyone from 3 to 103 years old!
Written and Directed by Brian Seward,
Music composed and arranged by Julian Wong

:: Terms and Conditions
These tickets will be to the 2:30pm show on Saturday 21 November. 

Winner is to collect the tickets directly from I Theatre office @ 27 Kerbau Road.
Tickets are not exchangeable for cash or for other dates.
As the play takes place in Singapore, this giveaway is opened only to Singapore Residents. 
GOOD LUCK! 

Beanie N UsA Juggling Mom and Dinomama are pleased to bring to you a series of giveaways leading into December! Please remember to share and like our pages to keep abreast of our giveaway lineup!

Disclaimer: The giveaway is kindly sponsored by I Theatre. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours.

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review! Our Music Journey: Piano Trial @ Aureus Academy!

Aureus Academy at Rochester Mall is the organisation’s third centre in 18 months. Conveniently located just outside the lift lobby on level 3, the Rochester centre houses 8 studios and a recital hall, that can sit up to 40 people.

Aureus Academy employs 30 full-time music teachers between its 3 centres: Forum Shopping Centre, 112 Katong (Opening in October) and Rochester Mall. Recognising convenience as an important consideration for parents, all centres are either located near bus stops or within walking distance to the MRT stations. 

The 3 Aureus Academy centres now boast of more than 1000 students, an impressive feat since the Academy started only 2 years ago. Dumpling was invited for a series of private 1:1 trials, a teaching philosophy which Aureus is known for having won the “Best Enrichment and Learning School” for 2014/2015 award by Parents World. 

:: Piano Trial
Besides the Spring Camp which she attended earlier in the year, Dumpling has no prior experience in piano as she has zoomed in, from a rather young age, to the violin. I do think fundamentally, that keyboard experience is important for intonation so I was actually looking forward to the kiddo attending this trial.

:: Lesson time

The lesson was done in Rochester Mall where the private trial is a 30-minute lesson and was with her Aural teacher, Ms Yun Shi who has a Masters in Music Education (read more about Yun Shi below). It is evident that Ms Yun Shi is familiar and at home with teaching young children. From the few months that Dumpling has been attending Aural with her, I have observed that her students are mainly young children. 

Upon entering into the studio, Ms Yun Shi immediately sprung into action and started got the kid to do a bit of warm-up and started singing and clapping together with her. From someone who works in the Early Childhood Education industry, I like that approach as I can almost “see” most children being able to identify with the melody and would likely join in the singing and settle down immediately.

Thereafter, Ms Yun Shi took out a music book filled with colourful illustrations. She proceeded to introduce Dumpling to the various characters in the course book which appear in the book to elaborate on various techniques and activities.

In the half an hour we were there, I felt that Ms Yun Shi managed to cover a fair bit of things. She started off by introducing Dumpling to the various terms / parts of the piano and to observe the right distance.


She then moved on to teaching her on maintaining the right posture and


To also  understanding how sounds are produced from the keys by inviting Dumpling to peek into the piano.


It was a really detailed and meaningful lesson.

Towards the end of that lesson segment, Ms Yun Shi also introduced the correct wrist movements to playing and these were done through some activities from the coursebook. The kiddo was told to picture herself picking up pebbles and rolling it in her palm to obtain the “right” wrist movements. Dumpling was quite tickled with this as she was giggling throughout while “picking” up her purple and red pebbles. :p The lesson ended with the kiddo learning  to play a melody (read below) :)


:: What we like about the lesson
At Rochester Mall, each studio was fitted with large glass panels for natural light to filter in. That gave the studios a bright and airy feeling which I feel sets the mood for the lessons too. What I also like was that Aureus Academy encourages parents to sit in to observe and take notes as the academy believes strongly in parent-school collaboration.

I was also impressed that the academy and teachers do try and set the children up for “success” through positive reinforcements. For e.g. through a simple color coding method, the kiddo managed to ‘play’ “Twinkle twinkle little star”on her own and was mighty pleased with herself as this was her first lesson. I felt that this would have surely served as a great motivation for most children; that they are able to produce a melody from the first lesson. (See clip below)

From a lesson objective basis, the melody enabled the kiddo to practise what she just learnt: posture, distance and wrist movement. Importantly, it also cemented the understanding that the higher the keys go, the higher the pitch and vice versa.



I thought that the lesson flew by really quickly! I am actually pretty amazed that the teacher was able to introduce the basics to the Dumpling and still had time for the kiddo to experiment on the keyboard and finish off with the playing of a song! It was also interesting to note that during the whole lesson, there was no note / sight reading and this was because the trial was for children who are 6 and below. For parents who wish to introduce your children from a young age to music, this approach will build up the children’s confidence slowly and will definitely work well with these younger children; before sight reading is introduced later.



:: Teacher’s profile 
From my chats with the founders of Aureus Academy, I understood that the academy is known for employing and working with highly qualified teachers and importantly, teachers who are patient and are passionate on sharing that musical knowledge and experience with children.

For the convenience of its clients, most teachers at Aureus Academy travel between the various centres to conduct lessons. Ms Yun Shi teaches both the flute and the piano. 


Keen to experience Aureus Academy's pedagogy and approach? 


Aureus Academy is offering:
a FREE 1:1 TRIAL +
$75 gift card*! 

Terms and Conditions:
- Only valid for new students
- Must be redeemed by 31 Oct 2015
- Can only be used towards music lessons (not for products, etc.)
- Cannot be converted to cash value
* Offer ends 9 October 2015

HOW TO QUALIFY? 4 simple steps!
- Leave a comment on this post on why you wish for your child to learn the piano! (PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS!)
- "Like" the post on my FB page here
- "Like" Aureus Academy's FB page here
- Tag 3 friends on the post to share the love and offer!

You can read about our experience at the Violin Trial here and our experience at the Guitar Trial here

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored series of conversations and music trials between Aureus Academy, Dumpling and I so that we can share our experience and opinions from the sessions. All opinions expressed are entirely our own. 

About Aureus Academy:
Aureus Academy is Singapore’s fastest growing music school with nearly 1,000 students enrolled amongst its 3 centres. Aureus Academy specializes in providing individually tailored piano, violin, guitar, and vocal lessons to students of all ages and abilities. It also believes that one-on-one is the best environment to learn a musical instrument. Recently awarded “Best in one-to-one Music Lessons” by Parent’s World Magazine, Aureus Academy offers free trial lessons so you can experience it yourself!

Aureus Academy is located at the campuses below:
:: Forum The Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road
#B1-18, Singapore 238884
Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

:: Rochester Mall
35 Rochester Drive
#03-08/15, Singapore 138639
Monday – Friday: 1:00pm – 8:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

:: 112 Katong
Opening in October!
112 East Coast Road
#03-10
Singapore, 428802

You can also connect with Aureus Academy through its Facebook page!
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