Diploma in Piano Performance

Testimonial of Ms. Lim Ci Hui, ATCL

Ms Dorothy Chia has been my piano teacher for 5 years, and I have certainly benefited tremendously from her guidance. She is an inspiring teacher who motivated me to work and practice harder, to constantly strive to improve my playing, to demand higher standards of myself. She has broadened by range of technical abilities, allowing me to incorporate more sonorities and colours into my piano playing, and helping me to get rid of my bad habits, such as tensing my arms and shoulders while playing.
Ms Chia believes in actively understanding and engaging in the music one is playing. Under her teaching, I learnt how an analysis of the structure of a piece can be translated into performance by creating different moods for different sections through the use of pedaling, finger and arm movements and other different piano techniques. At the diploma level, her focus is often on how to turn an ordinary play-through of a piece into a performance, and how to bring out one’s own interpretation and personal voice through one’s playing. Under her guidance, I have transformed into a more confident and effective performer. 
I also attended Ms Chia’s piano pedagogy classes, and they opened my mind to the different facets of piano teaching. As I am planning on becoming a music educator in the future, I found the sessions on child psychology and on the different strategies to impart musical concepts particularly useful. The classes were conducted in an engaging way, and the small group setting was effective for demonstrations and discussions. I will definitely recommend the classes to anyone who wants an introduction to piano and music teaching.
Finally, I want to thank Ms Chia for being an approachable and caring teacher. She is always open to having friendly discussions or giving advice – she shared some of her university and life experiences with me when I was undecided about whether to pursue music in university, for instance. She is also very receptive to feedback, and is committed to providing the best learning experience for her students, often tailoring her mode of delivery and teaching to better suit the different personalities and learning methods of her students. I have really grown tremendously under her guidance.

Diploma in Piano Teaching

Testimonial of Ms. Kwek Shee Cher, MOE school music teacher 

"I have personally benefitted from the sessions with Ms. Dorothy Chia using the Piano Pedagogy books that she wrote to guide students who are preparing for their piano teaching diplomas.
Having grade 8 qualifications in piano and theory does not naturally make one a competent piano teacher. Piano Pedagogy is a course that potential or existing piano teachers who have not undergone such a course should seriously consider taking it.
Piano Pedagogy broadens my knowledge of musical genres, music theory and piano repertoires. Its sharpens my understnading on the different teaching approaches and strategies that I can use to engage pupils and enhance their learning, as pupils have different learning styles and personalities.
The time spent with Ms. Dorothy Chia has been enriching, and it inspires as well as challenges me to become a more effective teacher."

Testimonial of Ms. Grace Soon

It has been a wonderful experience learning under Ms Dorothy Chia. My teaching knowledge was broadened under her tutelage. Her piano pedagogy books used during the lessons were very helpful and I have benefitted much from the lessons with Ms Chia. Thank you for helping me and giving me constructive advices throughout my preparation for the DipABRSM teaching.

Graded Piano Lessons

Testimonial from Justin Wong, grade 8

I am very grateful for the many teachings, knowledge and skills that you have imparted to me. You helped me to develop a great passion and interest in music. Without you, I would not have attained distinction for my Grade 8 piano exam, and I would not be the musician I am now.

Justin Wong

Testimonial of Popply Julpongsathorn, grade 8

Dorothy Chia is a fantastic piano teacher who is extremely dedicated to her work and her teaching.  She challenges me to try different pieces that increase my ability as I discover that I am capable of more than I initially realized. She is also extremely focused on developing technical skills and making sure that her students are polished.  Encouraging, committed and serious, she teaches piano with energy and enthusiasm that cannot be found anywhere else and I would definitely recommend her to anyone who wants to be professionally trained.  

Testimonial from Gwyneth, grade 8

Ms. Chia is a teacher who will expose you to a wide range of repertoire by teaching you 2-3 new pieces every week. This also helps to improve my sight reading skills as we are made to sight read a piece hands together after hearing Ms. Chia play the piece once. She does not really put her focus on the notes itself as we are expected to be able to play and read the notes, hence her focus is on how we play a piece and how we are able to tell a story or express the mood of the piece to the audience. Technique such as lifting, using your whole arm whole playing big chords and dropping your fingers onto the keys are just a few of the techniques that I have learnt. Scales are done once every 2 weeks to ensure that we are able to play the running notes evenly and smoothly in our pieces and I had learnt the importance of practising my scales as without practising them, my brains are not there, causing many other problems afterwards.
Ms. Chia had also helped me in preparation for the MEP exam, giving me advise and tips and drilling me until I could play my pieces well. She also frequently tells us how we should strive a balance over our lives and teaches us other valuable lessons.
All in all, I would like to thank Ms. Chia for her few year of guidance.

Music Theory grades 6-8 

Testimonial by Ms. Yeong Kim Ling

I just want to tell you how much I appreciate the theory lessons I had with you. You have taught with such enthusiasm and passion without reservations to another music teacher like me that enables me to teach theory grades 6-8 with confidence knowing what I'm talking about. Your explanations are very clear and the concepts are presented orderly so I received with gratitude! I'm learning lesson management by observing the way you do lessons. The lessons have always been fun and enriching and thank you for sharing your wisdom on every topic.

Testimonial by Bryan Chong, grade 6 Music Theory

"I am taking Music Theory under Ms. Dorothy Chia. Her explanation is very clear and she is very patient with me."

Testimonial by Joelle Hsu, grade 8 Music Theory

"The theory lessons helped me to improve and helped me complete grade 6 theory within a short period of time."

Piano Pedagogy Courses

Testimonial by Ms. Lin Shumei, Principal of Flute and Music Academy

Thought I will discuss about Piano Pedagogy today.

Myth 1:
How many times have one heard of this :"I want to learn up till grade 8 then can teach (piano) at home to earn money."
Fact 1:
Passing grade 8 is like passing O levels. Are you keen for an O level Graduate to teach you? The answer is similar.

Myth 2:
I passed my Diploma in Performing; I am able to teach.
Fact 2:
Passing Diploma in Performing only certifies one can play a certain repertoire at a performing level and display some understanding of piano literature. However, it does not certify any teaching skills. If one uses the above logic, then all degree holders are supposedly able to teach. But that is not happening. Why? Because subject mastery and pedagogy are two completely different set of skills. In Ministry of Education, all teachers need to go through teachers' training before one can teach. And that is only the beginning. Learning to transfer skills is only one aspect of it. The teacher must stimulate, counsel, lead, cajole, persuade and still keep oneself updated. That is why MOE spend so much yearly to upgrade their teachers continuously. It does take a lot of skills (not merely subject mastery) and aptitude to teach.

Are you still keen to teach piano after reading this? Hope you get your mindset about teaching right and equip yourself accordingly. I am glad Dorothy Chia is establishing more structured events for piano pedagogy for aspiring piano teachers. Do have a look if you are interested.

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