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Midorie Tjiawi

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

- Victor Hugo, the famous French author who wrote  Les MisérablesMidorie, how did you become a professional piano teacher and performance artist?

I was born and raised in Medan, Indonesia, and started learning to play the piano when I was three and a half years old at a Yamaha music school.

I developed a strong passion for piano and kept on learning as I was growing up. Playing the piano allows me to fully express myself with great joy and passion.

When I was 18, I came to Singapore to pursue a degree in Music at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA).

Ms Lim Tsui Fang, a renowned piano pedagogist, was one of my teachers there, and I’m blessed to have learnt so much about being a good pianist from her. I was also awarded the ASEAN Grant Scholarship for excellence in my academic studies.

What inspired you to set up your own music studio?

After graduation, I taught in music school for a year and later decided to venture out on my own. This was good as it gave me greater control over the planning and structure of my piano lessons.

My personal belief is that students should be able to enjoy music, and through playing the piano, express themselves freely, develop their musical abilities and increase their self-confidence.

What is it like having your own music studio?

pianist-04I initially started my piano classes with six students, and my youngest student is four years old. I really enjoy teaching young children and always strive to make my music lessons fun and exciting so that they look forward to playing the piano.

To ensure that my students get the best teaching possible, I have in place a thorough and proper structure for my piano lessons which cover–

1. Piano Technique – Playing scales, and finger exercises for proper finger shape and strong fingers.

2. Piano Repertoire – Playing different genre of music to sharpen musicality and express one’s own style.

3. Music Theory – Basic knowledge in music.

4. Aural and Musicianship – Pitch recognition, singing solfeges (a kind of musical exercise), and recognizing rhythm patterns.

Furthermore, as every student is different in their abilities, I tailor the lessons to suit them so that they can learn and practice piano at a comfortable pace. Sometimes, parents put a lot of pressure on their children to take a music grading exam every year, but I often tell them that they should encourage their children to appreciate music and cultivate the love for playing first, as music is really about enjoying and celebrating the Arts.

Who are some of your favourite composers?

Some of my favourite composers who inspire me are Mozart, Handel, Chopin and Debussy.

Do you think that someone must be born with talent to play the piano well?

I believe that having a passion and practicing is more important than simply being born with talent. If someone is willing to work hard, they can still be able to play the piano well. Also, age is not a barrier for someone who wants to learn to play as long as they have the love for music.

What are some highlights from your career so far?

I would say it’s winning first prize in the 2008 Trinity Guildhall competition, open category for piano. Being a solo pianist, it’s also been great to perform with many professional musician groups at places in Singapore such as Alliance Francaise, the Esplanade, The Art House, Nanyang Technological University, Young Musician’s Society, etc.What are your dreams for the future?

I aspire to keep learning and improving my piano skills, to perform with more musicians and of course, to share my knowledge and passion for the piano with my students..

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