Sunday, February 22, 2009

Childhood Dream Comes True !!!


Braddell Heights Community Centre Ensemble, playing "Concourse"

Yours Truly with her young friends playing the 1st Violin

Talented Samuel Tan playing F. Seitz Violin Concert No. 2 (3rd movement)

Our violin teacher, the well-known Mr. Yan Ying Wing, listening and observing with rapt attention.

20th and 21st February 2009 - dates I will never forget! My teacher, My Yan has asked me to join his group of young musicians to play in an ensemble. Initially I was worried because I had started lessons about four months ago and I was not sure if I could catch up with the young ones who are already doing grades 3 to 7. Actually Mr. Yan had invited me in January but I was already committed to helping out as the Language Evaluator at the Marine Parade Toastmasters Club. Hence I told Mr. Yan, I would set aside every third Friday evening to play with his group
of students.

What a wonderful feeling to be playing in an ensemble. Luckily the piece was catchy and easy to follow and soon I was enjoying every moment of the evening. Later I went to observe the boy playing the drum and I realised that it was not difficult to follow the music as every note was written down. I hope Mr. Yan would also give me an opportunity to play the drum or cymbals with the ensemble in the near future.

Hence, it was with greater confidence when I played with the group at the Chamber Concert the following evening. I smiled when a parent asked me if my child was also playing in the concert! "No, I am the one learning and playing", I smiled.

I grew up in a family where I witnessed my older siblings playing in a group. Later when I improved in my piano playing, I accompanied my second sister when she played the violin at Radio Malaysia and on stage at a fund-raising concert. I had secretly yearned to play the violin, but being the obedient child, I did not want papa to have to spend more money on my music. I was already grateful to have the chance to learn the piano. Hence I told myself that when I started working, I would learn to play the violin. Alas! Time passed by. Procrastination and before I knew it, 43 years had passed!

After a meeting at the Braddell Heights Advanced Toastmasters' Club, I saw a banner featuring the Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra. Mm....the conductor, Mr. Yan Yin Wing, looks quite promising and my hunch told me that he would be a very good music teacher. Hence, I went into the office to enquire, and when I heard the Community Centre also conducts gu zheng classes I was very excited.

"So old already.....learn so many things for what?" asked Mdm. Lim

"It has always been my childhood dream to learn the violin and one Chinese instrument", I said, smiling.

I was right. Mr Yan Yin Wing is an excellent and patient teacher, and under his tutelage, my zest and diligence become even more enhanced. Playing with the cute, young musicians also enhances my joy and determination to improve as much as I can, albeit my short, little fingers and aging brain cells.

Initially, I felt like giving up, when my hands became numbed quite easily, but when I thought of Nick Vujicic and Lena Maria, who are born without limbs, and who could do everything that we could do, I pressed on with my determination.

Someone sent me an email and I learnt that if I were to make a concoction of black fungus, red dates and wolfberries it would help in blood circulation. I tried that and strangely, my numbness of hands is greatly reduced and I can practise for hours. Before every practice, I would play hymns to the Lord first, as an offering of thanks and gratitude to Him for He makes everything possible.

Music makes my world go round! Does music make your world go round too?

Gan Chau
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1 comment:

The Oriental Express said...

Hi Choo Choo, Many thanks for your sharing and I enjoy reading it. You are indeed make a lot of differences to your life and inspire us. I do forward your articles to my close friends and especially my family members. I will always drop your mails to KIV folder for later readings when I have time. Just like you when I was young, I dreamt about playing piano but I have no opportunity to pursue at all as my papa could not afford that. I used my pocket money which I saved to buy my first musical instrument, a harmonica and learn by myself through books. I later joined the school harmonica troupe. I was happy to meet one of the leading harmonica instructors in Singapore, Mr.Sun Ren Kwang, which I have opportunity to join then famous SAFRA Harmonica Troupe for 12 years. Now the troupe has dissolved due to change in the Management and musical culture direction. Coincidently, two weeks ago, my elder son who has never enjoyed and good at the music class just entered Anderson Junior College this year has chosen the Harmonica Class as the ECA. I have never played this instrument more than 20 years since SAFRA Harmonica Troupe dissolved in 1986. Surprisingly, he told me that the school instructor is the same instructor, Mr. Sun Ren Kwang in his 60s. What a coincident! With my son's new interest, I'm now practicing harmonica with him and I told him I would like to find opportunity to play harmonica duet with him at his school, the father and son team. I've great pleasure and enjoy reading your articles and listening to your language evaluation as I was so called the "Chinese Helicopter" (meaning Chinese Educated in my school time) weak in English in both speaking and writing. But I enjoy learning English Language whenever I come across new words and new usages. It took me quite a long while to step forward joining English Toastmasters Club as I always lack of confidence to communicate in English well. My next challenge is to write confidently and I'm spending much more time than others to learn how to write by going back to the basic of the English grammar and usage. I enjoyed many good things and I have multiple interests but I notice I need to focus few as I've crossed over 50. I love to draw and I have won a Champion trophy in the Poster Design at Geyland West CC open category in 1975. I appreciate arts more than music. So I will never be lonely when I retire and there are plenty of interests for me to pursue on. Especially networking with nice people like you will make my days lively and meaningful. Have a great day! Cheers!Frederick Kok