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
Singapore, 428802

You can also connect with Aureus Academy through its Facebook page


  1. Shradieck Exercise on the A -String. heheh. Been part of warmup for JR for quite a long while!

    1. Yes yes! We are going back to the basics! 😁

    2. It's not exactly enjoyable though! :P

    3. That's what the kiddo tells me. LOL

  2. Hi! May here. Contactable via


  3. I'm keen!
    Phyllis Tan

  4. I'm keen


  5. Betty kang

  6. Still have slots? I'm keen to send my boY!

    1. Hi Karen,

      No problem, will send you an email later during lunch. :)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.


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