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1. When was Play by Ear Music School first founded?
PBE was founded in 2003 (our truly humble beginnings) and we are now among the fastest growing contemporary music schools in Singapore. Today, we have expanded our school network to countries such as Canada, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan. We have also begun to introduce lessons for other instruments such as guitar and vocals.
2. What are your teachers' qualifications?
Although PBE instructors have various music qualifications (ABRSM Grade 8, Diploma or Degree in Music, etc.), it is well-known that certificates, unfortunately, do not necessarily equate to a higher level of playing or teaching ability. We consider it more important that our instructors are or were previously working musicians in the local or overseas music industry for years. In addition, each of them is required to complete the P.B.E.S™ staff training modules before starting to teach. PBE instructors bring a wider variety of experience and a passion for music into the classroom, and are able to inspire their students through example.
3. What are your school’s operating hours?
We are open 7 days a week except on public holidays. The operating hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. on weekdays, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. We are closed on public holidays. Students are welcome to practice in the practice room or waiting area during our operating hours. Our music instrument showroom at Bugis is also open during these operating hours.
4. Where is your school located?
Play By Ear Music School’s main branch has always been conveniently located in the Bugis Village vicinity, along Victoria Street - 5 minutes’ away from Bugis MRT, and several meters away from the Bugis Village bus stop. PBE Jurong is located at 134 Jurong Gateway road, near to J Cube shopping centre and a short distance away from Jurong East MRT.
5. Where is PBE Bugis located? Where do I park my car?
We are next to Burger King, facing Victoria Street, right at the main traffic light where many people are constantly crossing the road. You may park your car at Fu Lu Shou complex, Bugis Junction, Bugis+ or Raffles Hospital (recommended for the lower parking rates and available parking space). There are also open air public car parks nearby, next to Bugis MRT.
6. Where is PBE Jurong located? Where do I park? Which MRT do I stop?
PBE Jurong is located opposite J Cube shopping mall. It is housed on the 4th level of Block 134, which is a HDB commercial unit, where many educational centres are located. You may park at J Cube or at the multi-storey HDB carpark next to block 134. PBE Jurong is also just a 5 minutes’ walk from Jurong East MRT.
7. Why should I choose Play By Ear Music School?
Play By Ear Music School is a music school for adults who wish to learn piano improvisation for leisure or for serious educational training. Our proprietary syllabus, P.B.E.S™, is an internationally recognized syllabus developed since 2003, with the goal of teaching the rules and method of piano playing and improvising music. The school now has authorized franchised centres worldwide, in countries such as Malaysia, Canada, Japan and Taiwan. Our instructors will teach you at a pace you are comfortable with, to build up your musical and technical abilities progressively. We provide a conducive environment suitable for adult learners. PBE students have the exclusive privilege of using the 7 available digital pianos located in our waiting area and practice room, for free, at any time during our operating hours. All student learning materials are also provided at no additional cost during the course.
8. Do you have other branches besides Bugis?
Yes. Our flagship school and main branch with the instrument showroom is situated at 245B Victoria Street in Bugis Village, while our second branch is located in Jurong, at 134 Jurong Gateway road, #04-309P. Please note that there is no instrument showroom at the Jurong branch. In addition, we have a number of overseas franchises
9. Is PBE Jurong inside J Cube or Jem shopping mall?
No. We are not located in a shopping mall. PBE Jurong is located in a HDB commercial block, opposite J Cube shopping mall.
10. I have a problem climbing up the stairs in Bugis. Is there a solution for me?
Please inform us and we can assist you in one of two ways. If you take lessons at PBE Bugis, we can arrange for your lessons to be conducted on the 2nd floor, meaning that there will be fewer steps to climb. Alternatively, you may take your lessons at PBE Jurong, where there are lifts. We apologize that our branch at Bugis Village is a pre-war shop-house that the Singapore government wants to perverse, making the building of a lift quite impossible.
11. Is there a piano showroom at the Jurong branch?
The Jurong branch currently does not house a showroom and only has teaching studios.
12. Are we allowed to bring food or drinks within the school premises?
Unfortunately, no. All food and drinks must be consumed and disposed of outside the school premises.
13. Do you accept credit cards as a payment method?
No, we only accept cash, NETS, bank transfer or payment by cheque.
14. Is PBE an institution that is exam-oriented?
Generally, PBE is not exam-oriented as many of our students sign up to learn for leisure; however, we still provide internal examinations for those who wish to obtain a certificate.
15. Do you get a certificate from PBE after completing the course?
Yes, you will be mailed a certificate of completion upon successfully completing each level.
16. Can I change the day of my lesson once the schedule with my instructor is fixed?
Yes, you may do this, but only if your instructor is available on the day you request. Otherwise, you may need to take lessons under another available instructor.
17. Are you open on PH (public holidays)?
No, we are closed on PH (public holidays).
18. Do you teach in other languages?
We usually teach in English. But there are some instructors who can fluently speak other languages (.e.g. Mandarin Chinese etc) . You may check with our administrators.
19. What are PBE educational talks?
PBE educational talks are free public awareness talks that we conduct for the general public, particularly in MOE-registered and private secondary schools and polytechnics. The talks are about understanding the importance of music improvisation, and include a demonstration on the piano showing how improvisation can easily be done. Schools that are interested to arrange for this talk may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
20. Can you teach me how to play in a band?
Yes. Our instructors can assist students in this area upon request.
21. Do you organize any yearly concert?
Yes. PBE will organize a year-end concert or informal jam session every year to showcase each student's progress.
22. What kind of pianos do you use in your studios?
We use Yamaha digital pianos, known as Yamaha Clavinovas. Clavinovas are the top range of digital pianos currently available on the market, with keys that are heavily weighted and similar to those of a grand piano. We use digital pianos because at times, we need certain functions from the digital piano during the pop or jazz piano lessons, such as the transpose function (to change the key of the song), recording function, or different instrument sounds such as EP (electric piano), organ or strings, etc.
23. Where is your Malaysian branch?
We have 2 branches in Malaysia, one in Damansara Utama 47400, Selangor, and another one at Pubika shopping mall, about 15 minutes’ drive from the twin towers in Kuala Lumpur.