Musical instrument - what's the future?

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Musical instrument - what's the future?

Postby georgewong22 » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:40 pm

Hi, my 7 year old son is undecided on what musical instrument to take up. He loves music. He has tried the guitar and keyboard. He's considering the drums too.

I encourage him to try to see what he likes and experiment with different instruments.

However thinking about it ... I wonder what the future holds ... what musical skill would be well valued? Many years ago, it used to be the organ and piano. Now the violin.

What do you think?

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Postby fristrom » Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:23 pm

Interesting question: never thought musical skill would be well valued. How about something like this:

Young children, big talent

One is a 13-year-old touted as Singapore's Miley Cyrus. Another, at four years old, has already acted in a TV series in India. Then there is the Latin ballroom dancer and Las Vegas beauty queen, who is all of nine.

Give a big round of applause to Singapore's band of budding performers of stage and screen, who are showing that young talent is getting younger than ever before.

Increasing numbers of children are taking lessons in singing, dancing, speech and drama, and some are even strutting their stuff overseas in competitions.

In dance, they are leaping beyond traditional ballet to do jazz, tap and hip-hop. Some, inspired by TV programmes such as So You Think You Can Dance featuring adult celebrities, are doing Latin and ballroom dancing.

An indication that more kids are getting into the performing groove is the number of children joining dance and singing classes organised by the People's Association which has risen by 60 per cent between 2003 and last year. About 40,000 children enrolled in such classes last year and they were all under the age of 12.

Private performance arts schools are also seeing an increase in numbers. Kids Performing has seen enrolment grow from eight students in 2004 to 300 students today, aged three to 16. Love Kids Speech and Drama in Serangoon Gardens started in 2004 with two classes and runs 17 classes today.

And stars of the future are emerging from these classes.

They include four-year-old Kritika Suresh, who has acted in an India TV series shown on StarHub channel AsiaNet, and nine-year-old Sherlayne Loo, one half of Latin dance duo Chilli Padi which came in third in TV talent quest One Minute Of Fame in 2007 (see other stories).

There is also 13-year-old Aisyah Salim, who is touted as Singapore's Miley Cyrus - the singer/actress star of Disney show Hannah Montana - by her talent agency Precious Entertainment.

Yes, the Geylang Methodist Secondary School student, who has three older brothers, already has her own agent. Singapore-based Precious Entertainment also represents nine other child solo performers aged from 11 to 14, plus performing groups.

Two years ago, Aisyah became the winner of One Minute Of Fame and her prize included a year-long scholarship at Kids Performing, an arts school at Robertson Walk. Today, she attends three lessons a week including classes in jazz performance and musical theatre. She performs at shopping centre roadshows and corporate events. Her father is a technical supervisor.

At 13, Aisyah was too young to sign her contract with Precious Entertainment so her mother, Madam Rose Fadilah Ismail, 45, a clerical officer, signed it on her behalf.

Madam Rose says: 'The agency and I would like her to perform professionally. I want her to be the next Singapore Idol.'

Other children are jumping at the chance to perform overseas in competitions. Private performing arts school Wanna Dance Studio at Katong Plaza subsidises trips overseas for competitions and usually pays half of the total travel cost for its students, with at least 20 children travelling at a time.

Studio principal Eileen Hoe, 48, says the school sends children overseas so that they can gain exposure to international competition environments.

At another private dance school, Dance Dynamix, one in 20 children also competes overseas.

One Wanna Dance pupil, Shane Goh, 10, has already taken part in Latin Ballroom dance competitions in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.

At the President Cup and 24th Creation Cup Asian-Pacific Dancesport Championships in Hong Kong in June this year, she clinched second prize for her Latin dance partnership with another Wanna Dance Studio student, nine-year-old Jasmin Howarth.

Shane, a pupil at CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity, says: 'I like performing overseas because I get to meet competitors from different countries and do Singapore proud.'

Of course, not all kids want to wow the crowd. Most parents sign their children up for performing arts classes for reasons ranging from their little tykes wanting a challenge to seeing it as a chance for them to gain confidence and social skills.

Ms Lanurse Chen, 29, a psychologist who works with children on developmental issues, notes: 'TV programmes are becoming a big part of their daily lives.'

Indeed, Ms Michelle Lim, 29, director of Dance Dynamix, cites the American reality TV series So You Think You Can Dance and the film, Take The Lead, as those that influence her students.

She notes: 'Parents now say that their children find ballet too boring.'

Secretary Serene Tan, 38, says she switched her seven-year-old daughter, Shannen, from ballet to Latin dance at age four because the little girl was bored. Shannen is now a student at Wanna Dance Studio. She studies at CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity. She has an older brother and her father is a manufacturing production supervisor.

Parents fork out anything from $10 to $100 per class for private and community performing arts courses.

But cost is no deterrent for determined parents, going by the strong demand for such courses.

Wanna Dance Studio, which has Latin, ballroom, social and line dance classes for children aged six to 17, started with under 20 students in 2004 but now has more than 500.

Children are giving ballroom dancing a whirl, along with Latin dance classes, at Dance Dynamix in Dunearn Road. Enrolment has been growing at a rate of 30 per cent per year since the school opened in 2003. Specific figures are not available.

They are even shimmying to jitterbugging, which is a form of swing dance, at Jitterbugs Swingapore, a dance school which started children's classes in 2001 with about 10 students. Today, the school has more than 150, aged from two to 12.

It even has waiting lists for four or five classes, including a Dance Babes class for children aged only two or three. There are about 30 children on the waiting lists.

The number of dance and singing classes offered by the People's Association has increased roughly two-fold between 2003 and last year.

More than 120 courses were available last year, including non-traditional dance classes such as Latin, hip-hop, jazz, line and tap dance.

When Madam Felicia Tan, 43, a ballroom, Latin, social and line dance trainer at Jurong Spring and Serangoon community centres, started teaching children in 2005, she had only 15 students. Today, she has 60.

Zhang Jia Rong, a nine-year-old Latin dance student at Dance Zone, a private school in Bukit Merah, sums up the current interest best: 'I always feel nervous when I start performing but the audience's clapping helps me get over the fear.'

The only child is a pupil at Clementi Primary and her mother is an executive secretary.

Referring to the circular skirts that she wears for her lessons, she says: 'I really look forward to my dance classes on Saturdays, it is when I get to wear 'flying' skirts.'

This article was first published in The Straits Times.


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Postby sleepy » Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:14 pm

Would be interesting if there's a follow on article on what's the future of these star kids 10 or 20 years down the road 8)

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