In September, a total of eight students from Yippy Tune Music School brought back 13 medals from the KK Music festival, a regional competition that involved some 995 participants from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
What does the accolade mean to the students, the family and the school? Even though the feelings of pride and glory were sweet and well deserved, “these were temporary victories compared to the lasting and positive impact that the entire experience provided for the kids.”
This competition gave the young students an opportunity to showcase their talents to strangers in a foreign land. They gave their all and were able to share a part of themselves through the universal language of music which transcends culture, language or religion. This triumphant moment created a special memory that they could draw on in the future if they were ever faced with difficulties, self-doubt or fear. This was the sentiment summed up by Deon Ong, the Principal of Yippy Tune Music School.
We spoke to Deon to further understand the importance of music to a child’s development.
What are some of the practical benefits of learning music?
Music education encourages greater discipline and superior academic performance in children. There have been numerous studies that point to a strong correlation between learning music and better memory and improvement in general intelligence skills such as literary, verbal memory, visiopatial processing, mathematics and IQ.
Not only that, you are also developing your child’s character by subtly training their concentration, discipline and determination when they are having fun learning music.
When should my child start to learn music?
I think it can never be too early to start learning music. What most of us do not realise is that babies begin to detect beats from as young as five months old. Our school commences music appreciation, body and movement lessons for toddlers from as young as six months which involves parental participation. The reason is quite simple, we believe that such activities promote a closer bond between the parent and the child. More importantly, it is a really fun way of exposing kids to the various components of music. Research has shown that children exposed to music have calmer temperaments so why wait if you can enjoy these benefits from a young age?
When it comes to learning musical instruments, the right age to begin would be around four years old. At that age children should have a better sense of their surroundings and should be more independent, so that they are able to be left alone with teachers.
How do I decide what kind of instrument is suitable for my child?
The right instrument is often the instrument that your child shows the most interest in and enjoys playing with. Music is about feelings – mastering an instrument requires technical proficiency, and to really excel, the musician must be able to connect with and understand a musical piece at an emotional level. Imagine if your child does not have an interest in the instrument that you have chosen for him or her. It would be a very difficult task to keep up with. Our school goes through an induction process where we expose kids to various instruments and through our professional assessment and observation by experienced teacher, we make recommendations on their music direction.
Is it advisable for my child to learn more than one instrument?
There is no limit to the number of instruments a child can learn, depending on his or her ability. If you came from a home that speaks three languages and multiple dialects, chances are, you will pick up those languages rather effortlessly. That said, learning any musical instrument can be a demanding task that involves time and effort from the parents at home. On top of being careful not to overwhelm your child with too many instruments, the real question is whether or not you have the time and motivation to provide the required commitment to practicing with the child at home.
How do I develop my child’s musical interest?
We believe that it is all about the parents. Active parental interest is a key factor in encouraging a child to thrive in their music education. Another factor is exposure – expose your child to many musical genres from classical to jazz. Bring them to concerts and music recitals and encourage them to participate in music related activities and to perform on stage! As your child’s most important audience, you can also build their confidence and help them excel by listening to them play. Lastly, incorporate music in your family activities. This could be as simple as playing music at home, singing and dancing with your child and having lots of fun doing these activities as a family!
What makes Yippy Tune Music School different?
The students in Brunei are blessed with a number of very good music schools across the country. Each of the schools offer different backgrounds and unique experiences. We have a total of seven very qualified and experienced teachers that teach a variety of instruments including: piano, guitar, violin, drum and vocal classes for both young and old. We are also a partnering provider of music lessons to institutions such as St Andrews School and Seri Serjana Mulia School. By having all the teachers handpicked by myself, I ensure that the quality of our teachers and the style of teaching are consistent with our unique philosophy and method. At Yippy Tune, we emphasise on developing happy musicians and we foster a great sense of family environment in the way we care about the children.
From the colour selection of the walls to the way we behave, we always ask ourselves these important questions with everything we do -: How do we conduct ourselves with integrity? How do we make this experience fun and make it memorable – not just for the present, but a memory for the future that would shape the kids’ character, one that the kids can take away and be proud of when they grow up.
Deep down inside, we believe that music is not just about winning competitions, it is about sharing and making the environment a better, more enjoyable place to live in, and above all, it is a beautiful gift from God. And we take the stewardship of passing down the gift to the next generation with great care and reverence.
Deon Ong was awarded the most outstanding Teacher Award from the University of Southern Queensland. She is a licensed Kindermusik and Simply Music instructor. Deon was also previously a piano teacher in Yamaha Singapore and was a sought after instructor in Australia. Deon has performed in various high profile music events including MTV Asia Award. She now heads Yippy Tune Music School in Gadong Central with the mission of “Developing Happy Musicians”. Yippy Tune provides collaborative music group classes with international schools and private schools in Brunei.
For more information visit http://www.yippytune.com