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Who are 'the hands'?

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Chia Sin Teck

Chia Sin Teck, Singapore’s notable music entrepreneur and master string luthier, started the music business in 1984, earning the reputation of the largest sheet music retailer in Singapore, providing and serving generations of musicians with a huge range of good editions of music scores that is comparable to any internationally reputable music retailers. Today, Music Essentials’ primary focus is the regional distributor for Eastman Musical Instruments, headquartered in the USA.


Sin Teck has had the privilege of being trained by Mark Moreland, head luthier of Eastman Strings (USA). As with all master craftsmen who never cease to hone their skills, experiment and explore untrodden or elusive possibilities, Sin Teck----armed with his earlier training as a piano technician in Hamamatsu (Japan), coupled with his keen ear for sound and his meticulous attitude for accuracy and perfection (this can be traced back to the days of his disciplined and focused training as Singapore’s national archer)----has successfully conquered and surpassed realms that few have accomplished.


His mastery includes the knowledge and capability to setup the instrument for open strings and for every note to have the same intensity and volume. This means that when bowing one open string to a fingered note, the sound quality is not lopsided but even. Another example is his knowledge and capability to increase the volume and intensity of the 2nd and 3rd strings of the instrument to match the 1st and 4th strings if the sound is not balanced. He does not resort to moving the sound post to compromise the sound.


Indeed, Sin Teck’s craftwork is best attested and understood from the clients themselves----musicians who have encountered first-hand his work on their invaluable instruments.



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Julie Tan

MMus (Academic Excellence), Griffith University

ARCM LRAM LGSM LTCL (Piano), LGSM (Elec. Organ)


Pianist, Music Educator, Author, Researcher

Lecturer, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (NUS)

National Arts Council Performing Arts External Assessor

Notable Singaporean piano pedagogue and music educator, Julie Tan, enjoys a multi-faceted music ‘passion-cum-profession’ spanning over three decades. Besides nurturing a select pool of private students who gives her constant inspiration to innovate teaching ideas, Julie has had the unique opportunity of lecturing in all three of the Republic’s higher tertiary music institutions---Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore (current lecturer of piano pedagogy; past lecturer of Keyboard Studies, Keyboard Skills (piano majors), Introduction to Pedagogy, and Communicating About Music Research Skills), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (lectured and devised the initial piano pedagogy course syllabi for diploma and degree programmes) and LASALLE College of the Arts (external examiner and research supervisor for Bachelor program).


As one of Singapore’s leading piano pedagogues, Julie is widely consulted for her considerable knowledge of piano pedagogy techniques while her ongoing mentoring of fellow teachers keeps her at the forefront of music education in Singapore. Her piano teaching Licentiates were awarded by the Royal College of Music (RCM), Royal Academy of Music (RAM), Guildhall School of Music & Drama (GSM) and Trinity College of Music (TCM). She was also the first Singaporean to attain the first-ever Guildhall Licentiate Teaching Diploma for electronic organ.


Julie was awarded the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence in her Master of Music

Studies at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. She subsequently received the post-graduate paper prize at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education (ANZARME).


Her symposium paper on her doctoral research titled, “Piano Graded Examinations: Friend or Foe? An Investigation of their Relevance to Piano Teachers in 21st Century Singapore” was later selected for publication in the proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education (ISAME): The Culture of Shared Practice: Music Assessment Across Cultures and Continents (GIA Publications, USA, 2013). Most recently, she was invited to contribute a chapter titled, “Policy and Practice of Assessment in Music Education: Case of Singapore” in the landmark Oxford Handbook of Assessment Policy and Practice in Music Education (2019). A first-such compilation in the history of the music profession, this two-volume resource handbook is a collection of seventy-five chapters written by scholars and experts from every continent representing the top minds in the world on assessment in music education.  


Julie’s national contribution to the music fraternity includes the sole authorship of the Singapore primary school classroom music textbooks, “Tune In” (9 reprints) and “My Music Companion”. Published by Pearson Education, these were the only textbooks that were approved by Singapore’s Ministry of Education for use in all primary schools in 2001-2007. She also penned the series, “Let Me Tell You about My Piano Class” (published by Times Media) and several other piano-related materials.


Julie’s consultation work with teachers encompasses masterclasses, workshops and adjudication. She has presented at international conferences in the research and pedagogy worlds. They include the International Society of Music Educators World Conferences (ISME), Singapore International Piano Pedagogy Symposiums, Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference, and Western Australia Piano Pedagogy Conference. Her two-day solo Singapore workshop on “Effective Teaching Skills for Successful Piano Teaching” attracted more than fifty local and regional teachers. She was invited to be on the international review panel of the 4th International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education 2013, Taiwan.


Under her leadership as President of The Singapore Music Teachers’ Association (2000--2016, 2019-- ), a pro-bono position which she has been re-elected to consecutively, the association has experienced phenomenal growth. It has helped raise the standards of teaching and learning in Singapore and the region through successful initiatives such as the Singapore Performers’ Festival & Chamber Music Competition, Le Petit Performers’ Fest, Singapore International Piano Pedagogy Symposium, frequent Music Platforms, Teaching Matters pedagogy workshops and collaborations with other leading organisations such as the Orchestra of the Music Makers, Singapore Symphonia Company and MediaCorp Radio.


Also currently serving as National Arts Council Performing Arts external assessor, Julie’s past advisory roles included advisory member of the National Piano & Violin Competition (organised by the National Arts Council), the UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research Education, the People's Association Talent Advisory Panel (Music) as well as Vice-President of the Chopin Society, Singapore. In recognition for her efforts and the introduction and promotion of Dalcroze Eurhythmics in Singapore from 2001, Julie was appointed Singapore Dalcroze Correspondent for Federation International of Eurhythmics Teachers (FIER). She was also conferred Life Member by Dalcroze Australia for her work and key involvement in overseeing the inception of Dalcroze Eurhythmics examinations in Singapore.


A highly-motivated and passionate musician-educator, Julie's wealth of pedagogical experience, coupled with her entrepreneurship skills in managing Music Essentials (Singapore's largest sheet music retailer) together with her husband, Chia Sin Teck, has earned her well-deserved national reputation as one of Singapore’s national music treasures.

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