Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An article to read

When I was reading a post at Jason Heath's blog, I came across an article by Tom Strini titled Classical musical world being pushed to periphery.

Here's a short quote from the concluding passages of the article:
...Classical music must embrace its marginality and make a modest nest in a splintered marketplace.

Here's the target demo(graphic): Thoughtful people with long attention spans and a little bit of money. It's a small market, but surely sizable enough to keep the music playing in this country if the classical business is smart enough to draw them out and serve them well.

We'll have to be content to practice, extend and (I hope) write and read about this noble tradition within a modest sphere and leave celebrity and fortune to Janet Jackson and the rest. The music will have to be enough.

It is quite an insightful read. Check it out here:

Treats for the ears

Earlier today, I was treated to close to two hours of treat to two double bass recitals, live in Singapore!

Could I reach the standard of playing of the two players soon enough? Is music performance a path for me to take?

There's another that will be coming up, but it seems like I would have to miss it because of orchestra rehearsal. Anyway, details can be found here for those of my readers who happen to be interested:

Anyway, I am glad that I had taken time to go for the recitals. The second one was particularly good.

Old Adam Road Hawker Centre

Soon after Chun See's post on the first fast-food restaurant in Singapore, he came up with yet another post of an area that is fairly familiar to me.

The secondary school and the junior college that I had studied in happens to be located fairly nearby the Adam Road Hawker Centre, and so I felt there was something I could relate to when I read Chun See's post titled Old Adam Road Hawker Centre.

Actually, even though I have been spending at least six years of my life studying in schools located in that area, I have only eaten once at Adam Road Hawker Centre (the new one though). That was when I was in my junior college years, before the new Adam Road Hawker Centre underwent refurbishment.

My favourite hang-out places after school when I was in my junior college years was not anywhere near my college. It was all the way down along Stamford Road, Bras Basah Road, Victoria Street and Suntec City.

But nevertheless, I could feel a warm sense of nostalgia whenever I read about places located fairly near my secondary school and junior college. In fact, it seems like I have an affinity with the area. I have double bass lessons every Thursday in a music school that is located in the area.

If it brings you nice memories, come join me to read the post:

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My attempt to revise for music theory

I will be sitting for music theory exams (Grade 6 ABRSM) on 10 Mar 2007.

In my efforts to revise for the music theory, I have decided to write this post consisting of a glossary of the performance directions found in the 3rd movement of Sibelius' Symphony No. 2.

Perhaps someone could enlighten me on why many of the performance directions commonly found in Western music tends to be in Italian, Latin, French or German language. I think if I were to learn all four of these languages, I can score instinctively well for my understanding of foreign words used for performance directions!

For these few weeks, I shall attempt to write a series of posts on this topic of the definitions behind the various words used for music performance directions. To start the ball rolling, I have decided to work on a work that I will be performing in an upcoming concert. Details can be found right below:

If you were to come for the concert, try listening out for the following in the above-mentioned symphony:

Tying in with Sibelius' philosophy on the art of the symphony, the work grows almost organically out of a rising three-note motif heard at the opening of the work, which, after appearing in many guises throughout the entire symphony (and indeed forming the basis for most of the material) forms the dramatic theme of the finale.

(the only thing is that we won't be playing the first movement of the symphony!)

For more on Sibelius' Symphony No. 2, refer to:

Now for the glossary of performance directions from the 3rd movement of Sibelius' Symphony No. 2:

Vivacissimo: With vivacity, very lively

div.: (divisi) divided. To divide into two or more groups.

unis.: (unisono) in unison, with everyone performing the same notes. a direction to cancel divisi.

Lento e soave: slow and smooth

ten.: (tenuto) held (a slight degree of separation between notes so marked.)

poco accelerando: gradually getting slightly faster (?)

largamente: broadly

allargando: broading, i.e. getting a little slower and probably also a little louder.

atttacca: go straight on, indicating an immediate move to the next section of the music

Eric Taylor's The AB Guide to Music Theory.

Happy Birthday T

It is the birthday of one of my good friends, T. As best as I am aware, T would visit this blog from time to time. If T reads this post, here's wishing him a Happy Birthday.

T's Birthdate: February 27

You are a spiritual soul - a person who tries to find meaning in everything.
You spend a good amount of time meditating, trying to figure out life.
Helping others is also important to you. You enjoy social activities with that goal.
You are very generous and giving. Yet you expect very little in return.

Your strength: Getting along with anyone and everyone

Your weakness: Needing a good amount of downtime to recharge

Your power color: Cobalt blue

Your power symbol: Dove

Your power month: September

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Blogger Power: Safeguard the Web for Children

The Blogger Power Logo by Evie Milo

I learnt about the above-mentioned project through one of Eastcoastlife's posts. The initiators of the project are Jon Harmon, founder of Force for Good, and Mihaela Lica of Pamil Visions.

Here's the message:

A Request To All Webmasters Of Adult Sites:

Please require a password-protected login before allowing even free access to explicit adult content. We understand that selling porn is your business and we respect your right to make a legal living. But understand our legitimate concerns and work with us. You already have the “warning adult content” on your websites. Yet kids, who are not legal customers of your product, ignore the warning. So to prevent them from having direct access to explicit images, texts and sounds, the simplest way is to have a password-protected login. No more “free tours” before a visitor supplies basic information.

Learn more about the Blogger Power: Safeguard the Web for Children project here:

If you would like, please support the cause.

The cough strikes again

I don't like it
The cough strikes again
And it seems like a start
Of a prolonged ordeal of coughing

I don't like to be
Put on nasal spray again

Week Eight: double bass lesson

Continuing from my post Week Eight of 2007 on the double bass, I had practised slightly more than four days for week eight of 2007.

22 Feb 2007 was Thursday and I had double bass lesson with MJ. It started off with me having a blocked nose. To relieve the symptoms, I took at least two extra strong mint throughout the lesson.

I have finally registered for the DipABRSM exams earlier that afternoon. Please wish me good luck and excellent playing for my exams.

Back to the lesson. I started out with some warming-up exercises. That was followed up by me playing the entire Marcello's Sonata in G major. It was not my best rendition. I would like the third movement to be more fluid and sound darker in its tone. Quite a bit of time was spent on doing strings-crossing using wrist-action and minimising movement from other parts of the right arm. I spent the time thinking: figure "8".

After MJ was satisfied with Marcello's Sonata in G major, I played Keyper's Romance and Rondo until it was time for the next student to come in for his lesson. I figured that I have to practise Keyper's Romance and Rondo with a metronome as often as possible so as to keep time. Achieving a moderate tempo and keeping a regular pulse would be fairly important in playing works from the Classical period, I read.

I was also aiming to achieve a clean sound on the double bass so that Keyper's Romance and Rondo would sound just like it is a work from the Classical period. Well, achieving balance was the key, and I am still working on it.

There was no further practice for the rest of week eight. I needed an early rest on Saturday.

Emily's turning 21

Emily's turning 21-years-old, and a party was held two days ago at a chalet located in what I consider as a remote place in the Eastern part of Singapore. It was so remote that there was no public bus service nearby the place.

One of the ways to get there was to take a private shuttle bus service from Tanah Merah MRT station. I had actually missed the 6 p.m. shuttle bus service that would take me to the place even though I had arrived at least 5 minutes before the departure of the shuttle bus! Well, thanks to the fact that there was no clear signage.

Any host who invite me to a gathering that involves more than a few people would soon realise that I have the tendencies to travel out of the gathering on my own to seek space. Since the evening sun was still out to light the lands, I could not help but travel out of the chalet on my own to take photographs while there is still some sunlight.

I realised that the Changi Airport is just fairly close. About once every five to ten minutes, a plane would fly past the skies right above. When I took a closer look at the people who congregate at the nearby beachside, I realised that they could be there to watch the planes flying past. Well, provided that I that I only have to do so once in a blue moon, plane-watching can be a fairly interesting experience. I like having to see the silhouette of a plane against the darkening skies.

It seemed that the darkening skies and the occasional roaring of the passing-by planes had prompted me to take a series of photographs whose theme revolved around the idea of bleakness. Which might seem strange if they were taken in the context of a birthday party, but please be reminded that I was not in the party then.

When the skies turned too dark, I headed back to the chalet. By then, there was quite a fair bit of guests. Not keen on mahjong (someone has taught me but I did not bother to remember the rules) nor watching what's shown on the television, I opted to test the food. Hey, the salad, the curry chicken and many of the other food items tasted very good. I later learnt that many of these were prepared by Emily's ah-ma (grandmother). She must have accumulated years of culinary experience to come up with such delicious food.

Here's to thank Emily and her family members for making the party possible. Thanking Emily's ah-ma for the good food.

And of course, one of the highlights of the party was the singing of the birthday song, with a birthday cake waiting to be cut. And the star of the party must of course be present.

There was a phototaking session after the candles on the cake were blown. I realised that there was quite a number of double bass players at the party!

When the night got darker, QH kindly gave me a lift on the car. That got me back to civilisation much earlier than expected. Thanks QH.

Emily's actual birthday is just a few days away, here's wishing her a Happy Birthday!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Needing space
Retreating to my own
Sensing too much noises
Shutting sounds out

To a world
Of my own
Where the void brings
And peace

Lend me some space
Allow me to walk
At my pace
Not the world's

Happy Birthday Mistipurple!

If I did not make any mistake about the date, it is Mistipurple's birthday today.

Please join me to wish her a Happy Birthday.

Birthdate: February 24

You understand people well and are a natural born therapist.
A peacemaker, people always seem to get along when you are around.
You tend to be a father or mother figure to friends, even to those older than you.
You enjoy your role, and you find that you are close to many people.

Your strength: Your devotion

Your weakness: Reliance on others for happiness

Your power color: Lilac

Your power symbol: Heart

Your power month: June

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Health, please be with me

Blocked nose

Breathing gets harder
Head spins
Body's weak
Needing rest

Health, please be with me
What do I need to do,
To have you by my side?

Week Eight of 2007 on the double bass

18 Feb 2007, Sun: After an evening of visitation at my maternal grandmother's place. I spent at least 40 minutes on the double bass.

The main thing that I worked on for the day was Pachelbel's Canon in D major, scored for a double bass quartet, arranged by David Heyes. Pachelbel's Canon in D major sound cool on the double bass and I could feel a strong motivation to play this work with a few other fellow double bassists soon, once I become more proficient in playing the parts.

I spent about 10 minutes working on just a short passage from the 4th movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 6. Beethoven's music is interesting to play,.

19 Feb 2007, Mon: I can't remember how long I have practised for the day, but it should be at least half-an-hour.

The practice for the day began with Marcello's Sonata in G major. I started practising from the third movement, then the fourth. Eventually, without knowing, I had played all movements of the sonata.

Subsequently, I played Keyper's Romance and Rondo. I am growing to like the humourous yet dance-like Rondo movement with its interesting harmonics passages.

20 Feb 2007, Tue: At least 30 minutes on the double bass. As there would be orchestra rehearsal the following day, I worked on selected passages from the 4th and 5th movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 6. In addition, I took time to practise a short passage from Pachelbel's Canon in D major, scored for a double bass quartet, arranged by David Heyes.

21 Feb 2007, Wed: I love double bass sectional. I had one solid hour of double bass sectional for the day.

There is a lot to learn from the tutor, GM. I was observing his method of training us to play as an ensemble.

Being the section's principal, I had the pleasure to suggest what we would like to do for the sectional today. I chose to start with the 4th and 5th movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 6. The 4th movement has some very difficult parts for the double bass.

I have realised that GM is very good at training us to play in tune. He would do so by playing on the piano so that we can hear the pitch that the notes should sound. And his ears are so sharp, he is able to tell if we were to play out of tune!

In addition, he is very skilled at training us to play as an ensemble. He broke down one big section of the 4th movement of Beethoven and instructed us to play just a small part of the beginning of that section first. Then when we were able to play that small part as an ensemble, he would ask that we start from the beginning of that section again, but we would add four more notes. This procedure would continue until we play the entire section.

Aside from the above, he has always been very mindful to make sure that we observe the performing directions and the dynamics.

I love watching him demonstrating how we could play the various parts. His playing is so inspiring! I can't help but to have my eyes wide open to see and listen to him play.

After the sectional, orchestra rehearsal continued. We rehearsed the 4th and 5th movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 and Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Festival Overture.

And without realising, I have already achieved my target (i.e. to practise at least 4 days per week, at least 15 minutes on each of the days) by the middle of the week!

Cheers! I hope the rest of the week would continue to be a productive one.

To be kind to myself, this Friday shall be a day free from double bass practising. I will be attending dear Emily's 21st birthday party that evening.

An exhibition that you may have missed

Absolut Vodka's bottle.

This is an overdued post, and the exhibition that I am going to write about is now over.

While it is a fairly humble-scale exhibition, I think I have learnt quite a bit from it. So here is a post on the exhibition Improving Life - The Design of Swedish Innovations right here: The exhibition: Improving life

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Momentary sadness

A sudden sadness
It came
And it went away
Yet a tinge of it lingered

What should I make sense of it?
Could it just be
A sense of melancholy
Happiness is from within
But sadness comes too
Because one is not numb to feelings

Emily Koh's Official Website

Photo credit: Taken from Emily's website.

If you have watched the video recording of Emily's Suicidal Tendencies (2005), and you like the composition, then do check out Emily Koh's Official Website.

According to the website, there will be a performance of one of Emily Koh's works, Qnic Fantasy on 12 March 2007; 12.15pm, at the YST Conservatory Concert Hall, Singapore.

Cheers Emily.

A place to while time away

While I was at Beer Brat's blog, I chanced upon the Blu Jaz Cafe's blog.

I like the write-up Arabian Nights by Expat Magazine, Feb 2006, that was put up on the blog. The article points one to some good eating places and cafes that are worth checking out when one is at Kampong Glam.

I am not a regular of Kampong Glam as yet, but my last few visits to Kampong Glam has got me attracted to the exotic ambience and idyllic way of life of the area.

Do check out the article.

Also read:
An idyllic evening out
The Kampong Glam Walk

What To Do When Bored

Admittedly, I am getting a little bored, and for that reason, I picked up Simple American's What to do bored tag.

Usually, I would ask to have more time, because there is so many things I would like to do that would need me to invest time in. It is quite hard to be bored when there are so many things I would want to do. I suppose the only time when you can see me feeling bored is as follow:

1) I am feeling ill and I don't feel like going out of my home.
2) For some reasons, most likely because the weather is not good or I am feeling unwell, I am stuck at home.
3) It is late at night, but I don't feel like sleeping.
4) I am out of home, waiting for someone or an event, and need to while time away. (though I qualify that I usually don't feel bored when I am out of home)

Otherwise, I suppose it is unlikely to find me feeling bored.

But my friends, I am feeling bored right now.

Here are some of the things that I would do when I feel bored:

1) Read
2) Practise on the double bass
3) If I am at home or have access to internet facilities, Blog!
4) Read blogs and keep checking my favourite blogs more than five times per day. Surf the internet too.
5) Study music theory, or do some music theory related assignments.
6) Go into a pensive mode, and start thinking about anything that comes to my mind.
7) Sketch (but I realised I haven't been doing so of late.)
8) Log on to MSN, and see if I can find anyone to chat with.
9) Listen to music that I like.
10) Take a nap, and take steps to make sure that I don't get an overdose of sleep. Setting the alarm clock can be helpful. If I don't like to use the alarm clock, I shall make sure I don't draw the curtains when I take a nap. Then light can shine in and wake me up some hours later.
11) Watch TV, and that would be the rare occasion when I actually sit down to watch TV.
12) Start humming, any tune that comes to my mind.

What would you do if you feel bored?

Monday, February 19, 2007


I search
For hope
The hope that
Drives one to live

Not just merely being alive
But with a drive and zest
For what I call

I search
For wisdom
To lend me insights
To my many questions

The questions that can't
Be answered within the mortal's capacity
But wisdom could guide one
To walk ahead with stride

I search
For luck
When I've given my all
Luck tips the balance to my favour

Simply be
The right place
The right time
And one is with the flow

I search
For strength
That gives the power
To withstand life's ups and downs

And when I search
Would I be surprised
To find
All these within myself?

Time to rest

Feeling ill
Taking a break
Let the body and mind

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My Katong/ Joo Chiat walk

For my readers who are too bored this Chinese New Year season, please join me onboard a virtual tour of a walk about the Katong/ Joo Chiat area.

I took a walk about the Katong/ Joo Chiat area on 3 Feb 2007 after a nice breakfast/ brunch with two of my good friends. My conclusion is that the Katong/ Joo Chiat area is an interesting place with colourful and rich architecture for the eyes and good food for the taste buds. I also enjoy the idyllic pace of life that the area seems to offer.

As dear Eastcoastlife has been so thoughtful and kind to get me a copy of the Uniquely Singapore: Katong/ Joo Chiat Walking Guide, I shall dedicate the following two posts related to my Katong/ Joo Chiat walk to her. Enjoy the walk.

The Katong/ Joo Chiat Walk
The Katong/ Joo Chiat Walk, Part 2

Chun See's Chinese New Year decades ago

On, read about the five things that Chun See does not miss about Chinese New Year, and gain insights to how this festival was being celebrated decades ago.

Here's the link to the post: 5 Things I Do Not Miss About Chinese New Year. Happy Chinese New Year meantime.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Week Seven of 2007 on the double bass

11 Feb 2007, Sun: I spent at least 30 minutes on the double bass playing non other than Marcello's Sonata in G major. I only had time to work on the first movement (with a metronome), the second and the fourth. The more I play on my instrument, the more I love the sound of my double bass (affectionately known as my husband. So much so, I seemed to be having this blissful sense of euphoria in the early part of the evening after my practice sessions. Is this normal?

Even though I was in a mood to play for a much longer time on the double bass, I decided to stop and join my mother and brother to visit my maternal grandfather who is in hospital. That could possibly be the least I could do as his granddaughter.

12 Feb 2007, Mon: I love it when I spend time with my husband, the double bass, and when he. After a long draining day, when all I had intended was to practise about 20 minutes on the double bass, the fun and joy of playing on it kept me going to spend one hour practising on the double bass.

The works that I worked on for the day were: First movement, and selected passages from the second movement and fourth movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major, half of the first page of Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro and much of Faure's Sicilienne. It has been a good workout to practise on the double bass.

14 Feb 2007: I had intended to go for orchestra rehearsal and spend Valentine's Day with my boyfriend, the double bass (click link for the details), but due to poor health, I did not go for rehearsal. I was also feeling too ill to practise. As such, no practice at all on Valentine's Day.

15 Feb 2007: It was double bass lesson day. My tutor, MJ, got me to work on Marcello's Sonata in G major. That day, I transported my own double bass, my husband, for the lesson. It felt good to be able to play on the double bass. MJ also used sandpaper (which Eastcoastlife has kindly given me) to sand off a little bit of my double bass' neck and fingerboard so as to make my fingers move up and down the neck and the fingerboard with greater ease.

Well, I don't know what special occasion it was, but I had difficulties calling for a taxi that day. I never have had this problem before. In the end, I ended up walking to a bus-stop, and you can probably guess that I took a 35-minutes bus journey home with my dear double bass with me on the bus. It is not a impossible thing to do, just that I have to learn to balance my instrument (and myself) well enough on the bus, while protecting my instrument at all costs. Inevitably, my instrument had attracted the eyes of many of the people on the bus.

17 Feb 2007: Since I was rather ill to go for my walks today, I stayed at home to practise on the double bass. My stomach is giving me the runs at times, so I did not practise continuously throughout the day.

Anyway, in the morning, I spent close to an hour doing a sight-reading of all the four movements of Marcello's Sonata in e minor. I find it so much easier to sight-read a work from the Baroque period to a work from the contemporary period. Marcello's Sonata in e minor felt much easier to play than Marcello's Sonata in G major, but I think Sonata in G major sounds more interesting.

In the afternoon, I practised Keyper's Romance and Rondo. It was quite satisfying to play the harmonics and some of the scales-passages from Romance and Rondo.

Also in the afternoon, I practised some of the passages from Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. I still feel I needed to work a lot more on this piece because of its irregular rhythms and its use of many accidentals. On the other hand, I could now have a better feel of the music compared to when I had first started working on this piece.

In the night, it was quite a stimulating and satisfying experience to practise Marcello's Sonata in G major. I can't wait to practise it with a piano accompaniment. But I wonder when that would be.

To conclude the day of practice on the double bass, I played the first half of Faure's Sicilienne. More work on this would be needed.

Well, to conclude this week, I have once again managed to reach my target! (to practise at least four days a week, at least 15 minutes on each of the four days) Cheers.

Meantime, I ask for good health so that I would feel strong enough to practise.

Free Admission to Mystery Men exhibition on 19 Feb 2007

Good news for the folks who like indulging in enriching lifestyles: The Asian Civilisation Museum extends its opening hours for Chinese New Year (View Source)!

Right now, at the Asian Civilisation Museum, you can be among the privileged ones to view and get close up to the mysterious finds excavated from the most important archaeological find in 20th century China. These artefacts are being exhibited for the first time here in the Southeast Asia region at the Mystery Men: Finds from China's Lost Age exhibition.

There are a lot to learn at the exhibition. If you would like snippets of my earlier visit to this exhibition, please click on this link to my post titled: At the Asian Civilisation Museum: Mystery Men.

The better news is that on 19 Feb 2007, admission to the Asian Civilisation Museum will be free. That would include free admission to the Mystery Men exhibition.

What is more, the Singapore River HongBao 2007 will be held fairly nearby, at the Esplanade Park from 16 Feb to 4 Mar 2007. As such, for the energetic folks, they could check out these two places on the same day without much extra travelling hassle.

For more information on the Mystery Men exhibition, please visit the following URLs:
At the Asian Civilisation Museum: Mystery Men

Friday, February 16, 2007

It has found a new home!

Some of my readers who have been reading my blog for quite a while may remember the above sculpture by Ju Ming. I took the above photo of the sculpture on 10 Feb 2007, just outside the Singapore Arts Museum. At its new home, the figurines of the sculpture look dignified, calm and cool.

I am awfully biased once again. I still love the sculpture at its previous location, Riverside Point, in the Clarke Quay area, near the museum previously known as the Singapore History museum. The sculpture just seemed more cheerful and playful against the bright colours of the buildings in the Clarke Quay area, didn't it?

Photo taken one year ago.

And in case some may not realise, prior to being placed at the Riverside Point, this sculpture used to stand close to what we now know as the National Museum of Singapore. Please check this link out for the photo.

National Museum of Singapore.

I wonder what image the sculpture would portray if it were to be moved back to its former home, the grounds of the National Museum of Singapore? Actually, I think it would bring me a nice, warm sense of nostalgia.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Come hear us: Sturm und Drum

The NUS Symphony Orchestra performing in Aberdeen, for the Aberdeen International Youth Festival's Opening Concert 2005. This photo was taken by an anonymous photographer.

On 16 March 2007, be treated to not just one, but two Singapore premieres of showpieces performed by the viola soloist, Anatoly Zelinsky. Violin and even cello solos are quite commonly heard in Singapore, but it is a fairly rare treat to be able to listen to a viola solo performed in public, right in Singapore.

I am biased. If I were to choose between the sound of a viola and the violin, I would definitely prefer the sound of the viola because it is closer to the range of human voice. (Of course, I am even more biased because I love the sound of the double bass!)

I like the synopsis of the concert found on Sistic's website, and I hope to see how such a synopsis could draw more audience for our orchestra to share our music and the joy of music-making with.

To be straight to the point, I shall offer the details of the concert right here:

Sturm und Drum
Date: 16 Mar 2007 (Fri)
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Venue: University Cultural Centre Hall, NUS
Ticket Price: $11 each (including $1 Sistic Booking Fee)

· Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Festival Overture
· Hindemith: "Trauermusik" for Viola and Orchestra (Singapore premiere)
· Paganini: Grand Sonata for Viola & Orchestra (Singapore premiere)
· Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op 68, 'Pastoral Symphony' Movements 4 & 5
· Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op 43, Movements 3 & 4

Listening to a classical music concert can actually be quite affordable. I happen to have discounted tickets which are priced at $9 each only (including the $1 Sistic Booking fee). If you would like to get some help with the purchase of the discounted tickets, please send me an email. My email address can be found under my Blogger's profile. Alternatively, you may purchase the regular-priced tickets through Sistic.

Yours truly will be playing in this concert. If you would like to see yours truly in action, on the double bass, this is one chance that you will have. I hope I could have the pleasure to play for you on the stage for this coming concert.

Meantime, I was told by our dear orchestra's President, that in order just to break even, we would need to sell at least 80% of the tickets. A week ago, our dear Secretary told me that the orchestra is looking for sponsors to support us for the concert (e.g. to place advertisement on the concert's programme booklets).

Well, while I hope to play to a hall that is at least 80% full in capacity, I have learnt that the orchestra could not be dependent on Sistic's efforts in publicising and marketing for the concert. I have my reasons for that.

Many questions continue to lurk in my mind:
  • In today's world, how could classical music continue to remain relevant and be an inspiring force for people?
  • How to make listening to classical music appealing?
  • How can orchestras that perform classical music attract new pool of audience and still retain their existing pool of audience?
  • What are the factors that motivate a person to attend a classical music concert?

In the hope to find the answers to a few of the above questions, I found myself reading some of Cooler Insights' posts related to marketing. I am struggling a bit, but I suppose it is normal for a novice to marketing? I hope to make some discoveries.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My visit to the Bishan Depot

Earlier on Sunday, I visited the SMRT Bishan Depot. Time flies, and SMRT is now celebrating its 20th anniversary. In my post: SMRT Bishan Depot, you will get to learn about the running of the SMRT train system behind-the-scenes.

Check out my post here.

My date. It's gone!

No thanks to poor health. If my readers remember that in one of my posts some days ago, I was happily writing about how I looked forward to my Valentine's date with my boyfriend, I am sorry to say my date has been cancelled for the day. I am feeling unwell to go for the orchestra rehearsal today.

The doctor gave me a day of outpatient medical leave and urged me to rest. Symptoms include: headaches, fever, diarrhoea, blocked nose that came from time to time. Feeling weak, but I didn't want to go back to my bed and end up having an overdose of sleep. I guess I shall just rest by doing light activities.

I decided I shall be obedient to the doctor's advice, for once, and shall stay at home to rest. My state of health has been declining lately that I reckon if I would like more years to spend with the double bass, I should learn to take moments of rest where necessary.

The consoling thing may be that as I type and write about my disappointments of a cancelled Valentine's date, I still have my dear double bass, my husband standing tall and upright fairly nearby me.

Nevertheless, thank goodness that I am still able to wish all a Happy Valentine's Day.


Koussevitzky, Concerto for doublebass and orchestra, 1st movement
Performed by François Péloquin, Ensemble Sinfonia

I am loving this concerto.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Great Wall

Great Wall - Juyong Guan. Photo taken by Rambling Librarian.

Rambling Librarian has posted some very insightful posts with nice photos of the Great Wall of China.

These are the posts that yours truly just can't help reading. To join me in this interesting read, please click on: and

Week Six of 2007 on the doublebass

I've managed to reach my target, but I hope I could have time to practise more frequently.

4 Feb 2007, Sun: Practised Marcello's Sonata in G major and first half of Faure's Sicilienne. I still need more work on Faure's Sicilienne. 40 minutes of practice on the double bass.

6 Feb 2007, Tue: After a long day at work, I have managed to find 30 minutes to practise on the double bass. It was fun playing the Rondo movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo.

7 Feb 2007, Wed:There was double bass sectional that day and it felt nice that we spent time working on Hindemith's Trauermusik for Viola and Orchestra. I like the dark colours of the music, and by the way, I delight to share that we will be playing the Singapore Premiere of Hindemith's Trauermusik in our orchestra's upcoming concert, Sturm und Drum.

Our dear double bass tutor, GM, got us to play passages from Sibelius' Symphony No. 2. Initiailly, I had thought it would be an easy affair, but I realised GM has great insights. Those passages are actually more challenging than they seem. Soon, before I realised, double bass sectional that was one-hour in duration was over.

For orchestra tutti rehearsal that evening felt a little empty. For some reasons, there was no cellist showing up for rehearsal until the later half of the rehearsal. It felt weird to a double bass player that there is no cello to serve as a bridge between the higher strings and the double basses.

Anyway, we rehearsed Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Festival Overture, and I was trying hard to count correctly while trying to manage a slight headache. It was satisfying to hear how the overture is taking shape, and sounding better with each rehearsal.

We worked on the third and fourth movement of Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 that evening too. In hope to play a few of the most difficult sections better, I went up to the conductor after the rehearsal to consult him. He shared some insights on how to play that syncopated section that bridges the third movement and the the fourth movement. For what I gather, it seem that the whole idea is not to push. Accuracy in counting does not necessary work in such sections. The better way is to listen to the main melody, and come in approximately between the pulses of the melody. The advice does make sense, the challenge would be that of putting it into practice.

8 Feb 2007, Thu: Double bass lesson for the day proved to be a recharging one. I am glad that I have managed to play the entire Marcello's Sonata in G major in one single seating.

I am feeling that I have been short of time to do the things I wish to. I realised that I need a little more rest of late so as to nurse my state of health. Maybe working on keeping my body in a good state of health would make my practices on the double bass more effective and efficient?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Not in the festive mood

A New Bloom, A New Beginning by Eric Chan. On display at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Singapore.

Chinese New Year is round the corner. To be exact, the first day of Chinese New Year starts on 18 Feb for this year. The Chinese New Year (also referred as Chun Jie, which literally means Spring Festival) is traditionally celebrated over a period of 15 days. It is common for many to prepare for the Chinese New Year as early as one month before the festival. Preparations would commonly include: cleaning of one's home, putting up auspicious couplets on one's door and in the home, preparing food items, and buying new clothes.

Well then, I am certainly not in the festive mood. Several of my clients were asking me if I would be taking leave during the Chinese New Year period to prepare for the festival, and I would reply a definite "no". I could see no reason why I should be preparing for the festival.

My room may not be the cleanest room in the world, but it is certainly not messy. I don't see any reason to do any cleaning of my room just for the Chinese New Year.

Some weeks ago, my father asked me if I could help decorate the home. Forgive me Dad, my only possible reply to your question is "No", "But if you wish to decorate, you may do so on your own", with an implied "just please don't get me to do it". I simply want to live in a simple home. I have no wish to spend time and money on anything fanciful just for the Chinese New Year.

My mother could have understood me well, she has been smart enough not to ask me to help her buy any food for the Chinese New Year. Three cheers to Mom. If I do offer to do so, she would probably take it as an extra bonus.

It is just a week to Chinese New Year and I have not actually brought any new set of clothing or pair of shoes for the Chinese New Year. My motivations to get closer to getting my dream $42000 double bass must have been so strong that unless there is a need to buy new clothes or new pair of shoes, I won't buy any.

Furthermore, I cringe at the idea of going out to buy clothes. Apparently, many people are out buying new clothes for the Chinese New Year and the streets have been awfully crowded and noisy! I would rather give myself some breather, and get away from the crowd and the noise. In addition, most shopping malls are playing Chinese New Year songs at very loud volume. My ears are biased and only like certain Chinese New Year music. I don't like Chinese New Year songs.

All I need for Chinese New Year is some peace and quiet, and some time to catch up on practising and reading. I can't see what is so particularly joyous or festive about Chinese New Year except that Chinese New Year is itself a social construct, with some useful functions.

Perhaps the closest that I can get to enjoy some brief moments of the festive mood is when I visit the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. Eric Chan's A New Bloom, A New Beginning is now on display there. Here are some snapshots of his works for your pleasant viewing. Do check it out at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay if you find yourself liking it.

If you are in the mood to celebrate Chinese New Year, I shall wish you a Happy Chinese New Year.

Total Defence Day on 15 February

Acroamatic shares about events and activities coming up this weekend and next week to commemorate the day that Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1945. I believe that there are a lot of invaluable lessons we can draw from the past.

Check out his posts: Commemorating, Remembering and Reflecting

Friday, February 09, 2007

Breakfast with friends

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I make a point to take breakfast everyday not matter how simple it may be.

To celebrate the birthdays of two of my good friends, J and T, I had proposed that the three of us meet for breakfast at the Hong Kong Tea House. The place came to my mind when J was asking for suggestions for a place for breakfast. Thanks to the recommendations of Eastcoastlife, Hong Kong Tea House came to my mind. Furthermore, I figured that J may like dim-sum for breakfast. T may like the novelty of having breakfast in the East part of Singapore. So it was set that we would have breakfast last Saturday at Hong Kong Tea House.

Come to think of it, having breakfast at Hong Kong Tea House was a refreshing break away from the usual eating places that J, T and myself would dine at when we meet. Most of the time, we would meet in the central town area of Singapore. I suppose it has to do with the fact that the three of us generally hang out in the Northern and Central parts of Singapore most of the time.

Prior to our breakfast meet-up, it took me a while to figure out how to get to the Hong Kong Tea House. T was nice to give me a lift there on the car. Thank goodness that the three of us managed to get there in time. I heard that J's father drove her there. I must say that her father is one of the most wonderful dads around.

When I stepped in the Hong Kong Tea House, I have a feeling that I would enjoy my breakfast there. I have a liking for places with high ceilings, and the ceilings of the Hong Kong Tea House happen to be high, creating a sense of spaciousness. The Hong Kong Tea House is located in a building that used to be the former Joo Chiat Police Station (now Katong Village). According to the Uniquely Signapore Katong/ Joo Chiat Walking Guide, the architecture of the former Joo Chiat Police Station is similar to many government buildings built in that time.

The next thing we could do after entering the Tea House was to find a seat, look at the menu, and order our breakfast.

Eastcoastlife came by to meet me for a brief moment that morning to kindly pass me pieces of sandpaper. If you wonder why on earth I would need sandpaper, you could read my post dated 28 Jan 2007. The more thoughtful thing that Eastcoastlife did was that she gave me a copy of the Uniquely Signapore Katong/ Joo Chiat Walking Guide so that I could have a walking guide to guide me in my walk around the Katong area after I was done with breakfast. Thanks a lot Eastcoastlife.

So what did J, T and myself order?

Just look below, and if the name of an order isn't mentioned as the caption, it is most likely that I had not remember its name.

Dan Dan Mian. J said it was different from the same dish available from Crystal Jade in that it has minced meat.

T said the Bread with peanut butter tasted nice, so I tried it. It had a nice, unique taste indeed.

I can't remember the name of this dish except that I know it has to do with beef brisket. I like its unique taste.

I think these were called lotus root patties This is a nice dish.

T said from this angle, the food would resemble a face with large eyes and moustache. J however said that when rotated 180 degrees, the food would resemble a butterfly . What do you think?

Whatever it is, I enjoyed my breakfast at Hong Kong Tea House. J and T are good friends and company. We got to know each other as we were from the same Junior College's (JC) orientation group. They were there to give moral support or simply their quiet company during a few of the darker moments of my life.

The fact that we went through the entire routine of the JC orientation together also means that we have shared memories to reminiscence about. I actually did not like the games and activities that I have been made to play during my JC orientation. Whatever it is, those moments are still flash in my mind from time to time. Before I know it, a decade (slightly more than that though) has passed, just like that. Cheers to a decade of friendship with J and T. They are the kind of friends who make life more bearable and interesting.

With a mood for nostalgia, it seemed most apt to have our breakfast gathering at Hong Kong Tea House. Its architecture just gave me a fairly nostalgic feel.

For those who would like to check out the Hong Kong Tea House, please read below for the address:

Hong Kong Tea House
86 East Coast Road Block A
Katong Village (formerly the site of the Joo Chiat Police Station)
Singapore 428788
Tel: 6345 1932
Opens 24 hours

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Music exams

Practical Exams
My music practical exams (Grade 6 ABRSM) will be on 10 Mar 2007. It is now only a month away, and I wish I could have the time to revise music theory. Yet, work responsibilities, practising schedules, orchestra rehearsals, time for walking about all seem to compete for my time.

The good thing is that I don't get this panic feeling that I would be failing my music theory exams. I am thankful that for the past one year and two months, my music theory tutor has been helping me build a fairly good foundation in harmony. That gave me good preparation for the exams. Wish me luck, and please wish that time would be on my side.

Registration for ABRSM Practical Exams
On the side note, I would need to register to sit for ABRSM Diploma practical examinations soon. If I would like to sit for the exams anytime from July to September 2007, the registration dates would be from 12 February to 2 March 2007.

At the rate that I am going for my practices on the double bass, I think I may be ready to sit for practical exams this year, would I?

If I do, I must work on sight-reading. I failed today when I was sight-reading in tenor clef during my double bass lesson.

My recharging double bass lesson

It has been a fairly tiring week. I could only be thankful that I have worked so many extra hours at work seeing clients that I could claim time-off-in-lieu to leave the office slightly early this afternoon.

Double bass lesson today was scheduled at 6.15 p.m. On my way to my double bass class, I felt so tired that I dozed off on the bus. Thank goodness that I was able to wake up in time to alight at the appropriate bus-stops.

I had dinner at an eatery at Coronation Plaza. Coronation Plaza holds a special place in my memory. I didn't like the place very very much as compared to the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay and the many museums. However, this place brings nice memory of my good old secondary school days because it is located very near the previous school building of my secondary school. I simply had to walk past Coronation Plaza in order to cross the nearby overhead bridge to get to the bus-stop on the other side of the road, before getting a bus home.

Enough about reminiscing. I was in such a rush for time today that I had to inform the one of the personnel at the eatery that I only have less than 20 minutes to wait for my food and to finish my dinner. He was kind enough to help ensure that my dinner was cooked and served as soon as possible. While I was gobbling down my dinner, I wondered if I could ever survive my double bass lesson being so awfully tired and drained from the day. I think it would be a shame to waste my lesson away playing senselessly, all because I was tired.

Well, it proved that my worries were unfounded. Double bass lesson proved with my tutor, MJ, proved to be a recharging one. I get to learn how to play my selected pieces musically, and not just play the notes! I am loving the endeavour of playing a piece as musically as possible so as to communicate effectively to my imagined audience.

In addition, the vibrations and the sounds from the double bass feel so healing to me, I simply love to have more and more of it. I think I have biased ears. My ears cringe at hearing sounds from loud-volume television sets, but they love the sounds of a double bass played musically. My ears would then send me messages that makes me feel as if I am living in heaven. How blissful. I am enjoying my marital relationship with the double bass.

For today lesson, my tutor did a reading of Lennox Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro (for double bass and piano) with me. I requested to work on this first as I needed to have a clearer understanding how I could practise this piece on my own. Actually, while Introduction and Allegro seemed weird and difficult to digest when I read the scores, it actually sounds very interesting.

I could have chosen a work from either the Classical or Romantic period and then I would be spared from reading those not so conventional rhythms and harmonies, but I shall listen to Emily's advice and perform a work from the contemporary period. Hopefully it would impressed upon the examiner that I am a versatile performer of music from the various periods.

The remaining half of my lesson was spent playing all the four movements of the Marcello's Sonata in G major for my tutor. There were some glitches. Yet there were some moments when I felt a sense of achievement: I could play some of the fairly difficult passages which I was struggling with a few weeks ago. Yes, I can totally agree with the maxim: Practice makes perfect.

For today's lesson, my tutor shared with me that for one of the passages where I have to do strings-crossing from the first (G) string to the second (D) string, my hand and arm movement would be as if I was drawing a figure "8" with my hand (and bow in the hand). I like this analogy, it works.

My rendition of the second and fourth movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major is taking shape. My task for the weeks to come would be to practise the first movement diligently with the help of a metronome. In addition, I would need more work on the third movement. It is a seemingly easy piece, with easy notes and fairly slow tempo. However, I think it is the most difficult movement of the sonata to play. It is easy to play the notes, but it is just very challenging and demanding to play the music when it comes to play this very third movement. I shall remember the golden rule: Practice, practice and more good practice.

I hope that one day when I do perform a solo on the double bass, my audience could understand what I am playing, and I can deliver the music effectively.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about my recharging double bass lesson, so I cannot help but emphasise that I felt so recharged after the lesson that for a moment, I did not feel any tinge of tiredness. But the toils of the day eventually set in some hours later, and I could only be honest that I am actually feeling physically drained while composing this post. Nevertheless, I found my mind getting excited as I share about my double bass lesson with my readers.

Double bass lesson is fun!

With my boyfriend, the double bass. Isn't he tall, dark and handsome?