Jo Tee realized that running a piano studio entailed more than just teaching. She assumed a multifaceted role that encompassed elements of customer service, marketing, and IT management. This delicate balancing act might have seemed like juggling at times, but Jo Tee adeptly merged these responsibilities into a harmonious blend that kept the studio’s wheels turning smoothly.
Despite these initial hurdles, her dedication, innovative teaching approaches, and unwavering commitment to excellence led to triumph. Today, operating under the name JC Piano @ Orchard at their new location in Cairnhill Circle, Jo Tee proudly provides an enriched piano learning experience, a testament to their relentless pursuit of musical harmony.
Melodic Metamorphosis: From Music School to Home-Based Harmony
Ms. Jo Tee’s professional journey took her from owning a music school in The Centrepoint Orchard to establishing a private home-based piano studio in Cairnhill Circle. This transition was inspired by her fervent desire to create a more personalized and intimate learning atmosphere for her students.
Operating both the music school and the private piano studio simultaneously provided Ms. Jo Tee with valuable experience in two distinctive educational settings. The music school allowed her to take on the role of training and managing a team of teachers, fostering a sense of community and teamwork among both educators and students.
Upon the sale of the music school business, Ms. Jo Tee’s primary focus shifted to setting up JC Piano @ Orchard in the new location. This transition coincided with her receiving the prestigious title of The Steinway Teacher & Educational Partner (STEP), an honor that added credibility and prestige to the newly established piano studio.
The driving force behind this change was her strong desire to provide a more personalized and intimate learning environment for her students. The most fulfilling aspect of this transition has been her ability to establish deeper connections with her students and adapt her teaching to their specific needs and aspirations. This shift allowed her to witness her students’ growth and happiness through music, making it an incredibly rewarding experience. Additionally, the flexibility and independence of a home-based studio have enabled her to focus even more on individualized instruction.
Adapting JC Piano @ Orchard to the Pandemic
JC Piano @ Orchard, under the guidance of Ms. Jo Tee, displayed remarkable adaptability during the pandemic, addressing several hurdles brought about by the sudden shift to online learning.
At the onset of the pandemic, teachers worldwide grappled with the unanticipated shift to online lessons, contending with challenges like inadequate preparation, limited access to technology, and unstable internet connections. Ms. Jo Tee responded by creating concise digital materials to ensure clear instructions. However, teaching piano online posed unique challenges, especially in conveying nuances and expressiveness while receiving accurate representations of students’ playing and providing detailed feedback. To enhance distance learning, Ms. Jo Tee incorporated tech gadgets such as an overhead webcam for better piano key visibility, an external microphone for improved audio quality, and a combination of laptop and iPad for interactive teaching. While this setup encouraged engagement and student independence, it couldn’t fully replace in-person lessons.
Moreover, parental support played a pivotal role in children’s musical development during remote learning. The availability of sufficient devices in households influenced parents’ decisions regarding the continuation of lessons. Initially, around 35% of students suspended their lessons during the first pandemic lockdown in March 2020 due to parental skepticism about remote learning. However, as parents began to embrace this new mode of piano education, all students resumed their lessons during the subsequent lockdown in May/June 2021.
To keep students engaged, Ms. Jo Tee adopted innovative strategies, such as conducting Zoom music history group lessons outside of regular lesson times. These sessions incorporated an outsourced music program, video lessons, guided listening activities, and downloadable workbooks to help students connect historical musical styles with present-day interpretations. Despite the challenges, students actively participated in virtual piano competitions, maintaining their enthusiasm and motivation for learning. Additionally, the examination board introduced performance grade exams to accommodate travel restrictions, allowing students to pre-record their piano pieces for assessment by a UK-based examiner, ensuring uninterrupted progress.
Furthermore, Ms. Jo Tee’s role as a judge in Steinway’s youth piano competition showcased how the event successfully transitioned to an online format, inspiring young performers to showcase their exceptional talent and adaptability during these unprecedented times. The competition featured performers livestreaming their playing directly from their homes, demonstrating their resilience and passion for music despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
JC Piano @ Orchard’s Impactful Journey
JC Piano @ Orchard’s journey has been profoundly influenced by its work with special needs students and very young learners, shaping the studio in an inspiring and transformative way.
With 24 years of teaching experience, Ms. Jo Tee recalls a prominent memory from 2008 when she worked with a young boy who had mild autism but an unwavering passion for music. Despite the challenges he faced in learning and reading music due to his condition, Ms. Jo Tee provided him with unyielding patience and guidance. Together, they embarked on a remarkable journey that not only saw musical growth but also a significant boost in the boy’s self-confidence and self-expression. Beginning as a piano novice, he persevered through numerous challenges in his piano learning journey, ultimately achieving Grade 8. In a touching moment, he returned to collect his certificate and gifted Ms. Jo Tee a framed picture of them together.
This experience underscores JC Piano @ Orchard’s commitment to nurturing talent regardless of perceived disadvantages. It stands as a testament to the studio’s belief that dedication and passion can triumph over any obstacles, inspiring all students to excel in music performances and life, regardless of their circumstances.
The Creation of EasyScales Learning Tool
The inspiration behind the development of the EasyScales learning tool at JC Piano @ Orchard stemmed from Ms. Jo Tee’s dedication to optimizing lesson time and enhancing the scale-learning experience for her students.
One of the specific challenges it addresses is the difficulty many students face when learning to play major and minor scales with both hands, often resulting in muddled fingerings. Correct fingering patterns are crucial in piano playing, ensuring smoothness, accuracy, and clarity in performance. Ms. Jo Tee found that while students could navigate scales under her guidance during lessons, they encountered challenges when practicing at home, leading to unimpressive results in subsequent lessons and a cycle of reworking fingerings and scale patterns.
Driven by a deep desire to address this practical problem, Ms. Jo Tee developed EasyScales visual guides, a labor of love that aimed to reduce cognitive load, capture attention, and boost motivation. The tool simplifies the complexity of learning scales, making it straightforward and engaging, ultimately empowering her students to master this essential aspect of piano playing more effectively.
The positive reception of EasyScales within the music education community has been a source of gratitude for Ms. Jo Tee. Educators and students from around the world, including overseas examiners, have embraced this teaching tool. It has garnered recognition for its effectiveness in simplifying scale learning, resonating with music educators globally, and finding purpose within the broader music education community.
Balancing Passion and Commitments: The Harmonious Journey of Ms. Jo Tee
Juggling the responsibilities of managing a piano studio, pursuing a master’s degree, and creating a teaching tool is no small feat, but for Ms. Jo Tee, it’s a testament to the power of passion and perseverance.
These commitments have certainly posed a unique balancing act, one that has honed her skills in time management, efficiency, and adaptability. Yet, for Ms. Jo Tee, it goes beyond mere time management. It’s about finding inspiration and renewed energy in each role, creating a symbiotic relationship where each commitment feeds into the other. Ultimately, this balance enriches her journey as an educator and entrepreneur, driving her to continually strive for excellence.
Ms. Jo Tee’s Musical Aspirations in Education
Ms. Jo Tee’s vision for the future of music education revolves around unlocking the untapped potential of her students and creating an environment where their musical talents can flourish. Her forthcoming goals are intrinsically linked to offering unique opportunities for her students to grow and thrive.
Through JC Piano @ Orchard, students have already had the privilege of performing in diverse venues, from renowned auditoriums to intimate settings. These experiences are integral notes in the symphony of their growth, and Ms. Jo Tee takes immense pride in being a part of their journey.
One recent innovation in their journey was an afternoon tea piano recital hosted at the elegant Sheraton Towers Singapore. This event aimed to redefine how students experience music, blending live piano performance with the social delight of a tea-time gathering. What set this recital apart was its ability to bring students closer to their audience, connecting not only with loved ones but also with a broader audience, including hotel guests and business visitors.
These experiences have added depth to their musical journey and align with the National Arts Council of Singapore’s 2023 Our SG Arts Plan, fostering collaboration between the arts and adjacent industries to create a vibrant tapestry of creativity.
Looking forward, JC Piano @ Orchard is exploring collaborations with venues that offer distinctive features, expanding students’ horizons and providing diverse and enriching performance opportunities. This future holds exciting possibilities for spreading the love of music in innovative and meaningful ways, marking the next chapter in this musical adventure.
Harmonizing Tradition and Innovation: JC Piano @ Orchard’s Unique Edge
JC Piano @ Orchard stands out in the music education industry for its distinctive commitment to blending traditional musical instruments with cutting-edge technology. At the heart of this commitment lies the studio’s prized possession: a pristine, brand-new Steinway Spirio grand piano, a high-resolution player piano that symbolizes the studio’s dedication to excellence.
The inclusion of the Spirio in the studio not only reflects Ms. Jo Tee’s trust in her students’ ability to handle such a valuable instrument with care and respect but also underscores her unwavering devotion to enhancing their learning experience.
The fusion of music and technology within JC Piano @ Orchard opens up boundless opportunities for students to engage with music in innovative and inspiring ways. The Spirio, with its state-of-the-art technology, has the remarkable ability to reproduce the performances of world-renowned pianists, granting students the chance to immerse themselves in the artistry of these esteemed musicians right within the studio’s confines. This serves as a powerful source of motivation, inspiring students to aspire to excellence in their own performances.
Key Factors Behind JC Piano @ Orchard’s Growth
JC Piano @ Orchard’s remarkable growth and success in the music education industry can be attributed to several key factors that have contributed to its unique and nurturing environment.
Central to the studio’s success is the cultivation of a supportive and encouraging learning environment. Here, students not only thrive but also find unwavering support to excel. Challenges are viewed as opportunities for growth, exemplified by stories of determination, such as a 9-year-old gymnast attending piano lessons despite sustaining an injury, a 13-year-old
resilient student achieving success at 3rd place despite mobility challenges, and a dedicated 75-year-old overcoming arthritis through persistent practice. Moreover, parents taking piano lessons alongside their children foster a sense of shared accomplishment.
JC Piano @ Orchard’s personalized approach is another critical factor. The studio’s ability to discern individual strengths and weaknesses allows for tailor-made lessons that address specific challenges in each student’s musical journey, whether related to technique, note-reading, memory, or injury.
The studio’s atmosphere is one of unwavering support and encouragement, where intrinsic motivation is ignited, and students are inspired to pursue their musical dreams, regardless of their age or challenges. This commitment has earned JC Piano @ Orchard a reputation for being a supportive and effective learning center, attracting students seeking personalized and results-driven music education.
Lastly, Ms. Jo Tee acknowledges the trust parents have placed in her to guide students from their early beginnings through advanced levels. This privilege is a testament to the studio’s dedication and commitment to nurturing musical talent.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
For those aspiring entrepreneurs, Ms. Jo Tee offers these wise words:
One piece of advice I would like to share is the importance of perseverance and continuous learning. In my own journey, I am so grateful to have had great teachers who not only guided me and molded me into a better student, but into a better person as a whole. I cherish the wisdom of one particular teacher who shared these words with me: “If you want something, you make it happen.”