Music Department

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Teaching Experience

Miss Francesca Yau is a music teacher with a difference.  Her experience and dedication to teaching music is hard to find in Hong Kong.  She has spent many years studying and perfecting her teaching skills and she has now been teaching music for over 14 years.  She holds a Piano Concerto Certificate from ABRSM, has played piano for ballet companies, and has given numerous performances throughout her career.  Over the last 14 years, she has helped many piano students achieve their grade 8 certificates, some of which are now piano teachers themselves.  Currently, to further broaden her music knowledge, Miss Yau is studying music conducting, flute and violin. 

If you are dedicated to learning music, are thinking of becoming a professional musician or teacher, or just want to study from a real professional who really cares about teaching, Miss Yau is a great choice.  Her knowledge of classical music is unusual amongst music teachers in Hong Kong and her piano skill and teaching wisdom are even harder to find in a music teacher here.



Some Notes on Choosing a Music Teacher:

It is sad, but true that in Hong Kong, the quality of music teachers is not as high as it is in many other countries.  This is not to say that there aren't great teachers here because there are, but to admit that many teachers are not very professional and lack experience.  It is amazing to see how many Hong Kong teachers cannot even name 10 classical music composers, such as Debussy, Bartok, Ravel, or Vivaldi.  This is really sad because most great music comes from these composers.  If  students mostly play pop music they will never be able to achieve their grade 8, and likely, not even their grade 7 certificate.  

In Hong Kong, serious students need to choose their music teacher carefully, some music companies are dishonest about their teachers' qualifications and may force their teachers to teach theory when the teacher has no training or experience in teaching it.  Teaching piano professionally requires a lot of skills and practice.  Just because a teacher has a Grade 8 Certificate does not mean that he/she is ready to teach.  Teaching requires further training and a lot of practice. 

One final note to help you choose your teacher, usually but not always, teachers in large music centres are not as skilled and experienced as private teachers.  Most teachers start out teaching in music centres and only leave when they are good enough to keep their students and get further referrals from their current students to keep their schedule busy.  The fact is that teachers in teaching centres are generally there for only one of four reasons, they are new, they can't keep students, they are not sure if they can keep their students and find new ones, or they own the company.  

It is very important to think about these facts when choosing a music teacher because a poor teacher will prevent you from reaching your goals no matter how dedicated and talented you may be. 



Some Notes from Miss Yau:

I have been teaching piano since 1993 and I do enjoy teaching music very much since I quit performing on stage for some art performances like the ballet and singing performances. I worked hard to get my piano concerto certificate and I think it's more important to understand the best way of teaching music for a music teacher so I always like to improve my teaching skills.  I like to search around to find the best ways to teach different kinds of students. In order to teach better, I appreciate watching other professor's performances or sharing my teaching experiences. I usually like to use my own way to teach students rather than just use the traditional teaching style, because learning music should be more fun and students need to learn to express the composers' songs well. I like my students to appreciate different kinds of music and I train them to be able to know more about classical music. This is something to consider when you start to learn any musical instrument.


A. What age to start?

The most suitable age for a child to learn piano is about 6-11 years old, young children from 3-5 will benefit from a combination of singing, playing and writing activities. This will help training their ears and develop a sense of pitch. After the basic musical training, they usually will find that playing any keyboard instrument seems quite easy.  For adult learners, actually any age is ok as long as they always practice their finger exercises.  A few years ago I had a student who was 68 years old and she was still able to learn to play the piano, but at the beginning she needed to spend more time on finger techniques to develop good basic fingering.  Sometimes people mistake that only young people can learn piano when actually, adult students are also suitable to start learning music if they take the time to practice.  The most important thing is PRACTICE TIME.  Adult students even learn better than most young children because they can better understand basic music theory.

B. Choosing the right instrument

Choosing the right instrument to learn is very important to a music learner.  You should always choose an instrument that you like to learn most, if you have no idea which one to learn first, I suggest that you start with a piano.  Keyboard instruments are always easy for beginners because they are good for developing the basic music theory such as simple beats and note reading.  A pianist needs to read both Treble Clef & Bass Clef at the same time and so it is of benefit to bring this skill to another stage of learning a new instrument such as Brass, Woodwind, or Strings.

I really appreciate teaching students who put real effort in trying to do their best to learn music because it is a basic step to success in learning music.

Miss Francesca Yau


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