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Music In The Key of C

Get to know Pianovers and Tunescratchers, the musicians who’ve been playing up a storm at TPC’s Urban Park this past month.

Music is more than just pleasant tunes and catchy beats. It’s also a way to foster a community of like-minded individuals.

Thanks to the twin pianos that Tanjong Pagar Centre has adopted in collaboration with Play It Forward, TPC’s Urban Park has been filled with laughter, friendship and song over the past month, with bands, piano collectives and passersby taking a break from their busy day to bond over music.

We sit down with Yong Meng - founder of Pianovers – and the members of Tune Scratchers - a multinational acoustic band - to learn how music has helped them to transcend boundaries and create new friendships.

Pianovers: Singapore’s Largest Community of Piano Lovers

With over 1,300 peformances played in public and over 6,500 members, it’s hard to believe that Pianovers was formed less than 2 years ago, in July 2016.

Founded by veteran piano teacher turned entrepreneur Sng Yong Meng, this piano collective aims to make the joy of piano playing accessible to all music lovers, regardless of background or expertise. We chat with Yong Meng about his vision, his love for music, and the passion that goes into creating a community of pianists from scratch.

What inspired you to start Pianovers?

As a fulltime piano teacher, I realized that students were being taught to play for a certificate, and not because of their love for music. [As a result] piano students drop off the instrument pretty fast.

You shouldn't focus on the exam, you should focus on the passion first. It's very different when you come together to play and share. That bond of community can help keep the fire going.

 

How has your teaching background helped you to organise Pianovers?

I would say that the experience I gain from a teaching career helps illuminate the direction I should focus on.

As a teacher you get to see different kinds of students, talk to different parents. You understand their needs and their problems, the pros and cons, what’s happening right now in the piano industry.

What’s a heartwarming story that resulted from this project?

After coming for our meetups, a member actually texted me to say she was very thankful, as she had given up playing before. Some people had said some very harsh things about her playing.

For us, we encourage everybody to come up and show what you're most passionate about playing. When they’ve performed, we applaud them and recognise who they are. I think that really encouraged her.

 

What do you love most about music?

Music gives us the chance to know people that we may have never known otherwise. It helps us to understand how another person thinks, because the way you understand that same piece of music might be different from another person.

Tune Scratchers: Music Across Nationalities

A multinational band with members hailing from India, Phillippines and Vietnam, Tune Scratchers was formed by four colleagues working in Guoco Tower, who bonded over their mutual love for music.

Get to Know the Tune Scratchers

 

Name: Tracy Cao
Nation of Origin: Vietnam
Instrument: Vocalist
Years of Musical Experience: 6 years
How she got into music: Inspired and encouraged by her father

 

Name: Zaltar John Velez
Nation of Origin: The Philippines
Instrument: Guitar
Years of Musical Experience: 18 years
How he got into music: Joined a choir to impress a girl

 

Name: Ryan Comia
Nation of Origin: The Philippines
Instrument: Cajon, Piano, Bass, Guitar
Years of Musical Experience: 22 years
How he got into music: Played in church as a child

 

Name: Nilesh Shinde
Nation of Origin: India
Instrument: Guitar
Years of Musical Experience: 8 years
How he got into music: Fell in love with vintage rock music

 

What’s the story behind the band name?

Tracy: We wanted to call our band After Six, because we tend to practice after work in our office meeting room, after 6pm. Unfortunately, that name was already taken, so we decided to call ourselves Tune Scratchers, because it sounds catchy and there’s an impromptu feel to it.

What’s the reaction of your colleagues been?

Tracy: They're very supportive! A few of our bosses came to watch our first performance. They even make plans to come watch us play.

What are your future plans for the band?

John: Right now, we're planning to do open mics in bars, learn more songs and keep our chemistry going.

What do you love most about music?

Ryan: What I love about music is that it brings people together, and it makes people happy. Tracy's from Vietnam, John and I are from The Philippines, Nilash is from India. But in the end, we’ve all come together to make music.

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