Friday, October 10, 2008

Realising My Childhood Dream


A mini concert with Yuen Lee at the piano and Ean Ean at the violin

For some reason papa had let my elder sister Ean Ean to learn the violin, while I learn the piano. However, I have always been attracted to the violin. A piece well played on the violin can bring tears to my eyes. Not one to argue or demand, I always tried to make papa happy and did not like to ask for more than papa could give us. He had already sacrificed so much for the family.

Papa was always happy when I accompanied Sister Ean Ean on the piano during Charity concerts organised by papa and his musical group, The Nightingale Melodians in Penang. Once, we also played on air. I could remember papa grinning from ear to ear the whole day long.!

However, I told myself that I would take serious lessons on the violin one day and play until I could cry. Time passed so quickly and before I realise it, 40 years have gone by when I finally decided to approach the lady at the Braddell Heights Community Centre to enquire about violin lessons that are being taught by an impressive looking teacher, Mr. Yan Yin Wing. Mr. Yan also conducts the Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra. I also asked about Gu Zheng classes.

"You so old already, want to learn so many things?" asked Madam Lim, with a smile.

"Huo dao lao, hsueh dao lao! Learn till we go six feet under!" I replied.

"By the way, I just joined the toastmasters' club 2 years ago, and I had already completed 78 projects and have won quite a number of prizes," I said. As toastmasters, we have always been taught to be persuasive, convincing and inspiring!

I also told Madam Lim that I was touched by Mr. Phoon Yew Tien's unexpected gift of a violin to me. I had bought a cheap violin and when Mr. Phoon learnt of my interest to play the violin, he spontaneously decided to give me one of his collection. I understand that Mr. Phoon's hobby is to buy up old violins and improve them. Wow! My violin has the Master's touch! Mr. Phoon will sell these violins at very reasonable prices.

Madam Lim should know, because Braddell Heights Advanced Toastmasters' Club is one of the best in Singapore. To convince her further, I shared with her about papa's passion for music. Papa was a self taught musician who could play many musical instruments, and he could also rearrange music, compose and conduct.

When Sister Ean Ean wanted to visit me, I suggested that we meet at my ex-piano teacher's apartment and we could all play the violin and piano together. "What? You can play the violin?" my sister was surprised.

"Yes, Ean, I have taken 2 months of violin lessons from Mr. Yan, and I can also play many pieces by ear now....Pop songs and hymns."

We had a great time together as you can see from the photo above. I had learnt to record the music via digital camera and maybe in my next article, will post on u-tube, the piece played by my sister, accompanied by Yuen Lee. I am sure my local readers will know this popular tune by the late Theresa Teng , "Yeh liang tai piao wo terh xin." - the Moon represents my heart."

This is my brother-in-law, Keat Seng's favourite piece. I learnt from my client, Edward, who is with Mindef that it was also the favourite tune of our late President, Ong Teng Cheong and his lovely wife. Our romantic president and his wife would often sing the song together.

Like papa, sister Ean Ean is also very musical. She taught herself to play the piano and she can also sing very well, play the drum, guitar, accordian and ukelele.

I hope to improve in my violin playing, and despite my short fingers, small hands and short neck, I am determined to master the instrument! If I were still breathing, I hope I could join Mr. Yan's Orchestra in four to five years' time.

Gan Chau
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JerL said...

Unbelievable but we do share the same interest for music. Besides playing the piano since young, I've also learnt violin for a year when I was in Sec 1. However, I haven't played the violin since then and had sold away my violin as I can't play well. Have also attempted to learn dulcimer, chinese flute and drums. A jack of all trades but master of none.

I have interest but no talent. Struggled very hard in my learning journey. Am very impressed you can play by ear just by learning for 2 months! You're indeed talented! Just like your daddy and sister! It runs in the family!

The Oriental Express said...

I guess we have inherited some of papa's musical genes. Perhaps you may want to pick up the violin again with Mr. Yan.? The fees are ok. $85 per month fo a half hour weekly lesson.

I just love the violin.....can practise and practise for hours.