The keys to happiness

A giggle escaped from LB senior Anne Koh Swee Yen, 66, as she nimbly played “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano.

Her hard work paid off; after practising for about a week, she managed to master yet another short song taught in her piano lessons at LB AAC @ Ang Mo Kio 318.

“This is something that I have been wanting to do since childhood. Those days, it was seen as too frivolous and a waste of time by those around me, so I buried my desire accepting the reality of life,” said Anne.

Anne instead grew up compensating the void by listening to music instead, and even used to sing along to the songs.

“I love to listen to classical music and songs, especially when I’m alone. I know I sing horribly but it made me so happy, it didn’t bother me,” laughed Anne.

Her wait was not futile…

The longing to learn playing the piano never outgrew her.

“The moment I heard my eldest talking about her classmate taking up piano lessons, I immediately enrolled all my girls in one too. What I couldn’t have in my childhood, I made sure that my children had the opportunity learn anything that they’re interested in,” said Anne adding that even all her grandchildren were also enrolled in piano lessons since young.

Anne is among the eight seniors who enrolled themselves in the piano lessons organised by the centre, adding lilting notes to their daily life.

“It was such a coincidence that we got to know via the centre’s WhatsApp group that there’d be piano lessons and I grabbed the opportunity immediately!” quipped Anne, adding that the one-to-one lessons were more effective compared to a classroom setting.

There is no age limit for learning…

She was quite nervous about her first lesson, hoping for the teacher to be kind and patient, while excited for the whole new experience!

The teacher, a senior herself Catherine Hwang Tcheau, 88, has been teaching at music schools and private lessons since she was in her 20s! Apart from the students at the centre, she has three more students who she teaches privately at home.

“It was just like starting school! I was worried that the teacher would be impatient to teach us seniors who want to take up this skill at this age. I was also wondering if my fingers would comply to my teacher’s guide and words. I had to stop myself from getting overwhelmed!” said Anne relieved that none of her fears materialised, enjoying her lessons from day one.

After her first lesson, Anne, who only touched the piano to clean, finally touched its keys to practise and play for herself, while wiping away her tears of joy…

LB senior Anne Koh Swee Yen, 66, enjoying her lessons and aspiring to learn more songs to play!

Another aspiring pianist, senior Chow Choon Leng, 75, is musically inclined, used to sing for a choir, and played the ukulele.

“I love watching live music, the way musicians handle their instruments so passionately and skilfully. I have always been an inquisitive person, managed to try learning and was enjoying my life with these passions of mine,” said Choon Leng.

Things took a turn for her when she had to stop going for her activities as she had to care for her grandchildren few years ago.

“I love my grandchildren and of course want to play an active part in their lives. That’s why I didn’t feel too bad when I had to miss out my activities,” she added.

No good deed is ever wasted, they say. She couldn’t believe her luck when one of the available piano lesson slots was during her one free afternoon of the week!

“I know I’ve been busy with my grandchildren all the while, but I am up to date with the activities at the AAC via our WhatsApp group. That announcement made me giddy with excitement and I immediately signed up for it!” she exclaimed.

LB senior Chow Choon Leng (right in black top), 75, enjoys the lessons with her teacher Catherine.

Prioritize your needs too…

Choon Leng emphasised that many seniors, whilst embroiled in tending to the needs of their family, should not forego their own wants and needs; thus, encouraging seniors to find activities that they are passionate about.

“Now that my grandchildren are growing up, they would have to go for their extra-curricular activities after school and my free time would be more, and I am looking forward to join more activities at the centre,” said Choon Leng.

She further added the piano teacher, Catherine, is making the lessons a treat for herself each week, immersing into learning and music, one note at a time…

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