Frequently Asked Questions

Administrative Matters

1. What are your course fees? What should I do to commence or enroll in a course?

Click here ► for courses fees To enrol in any of our courses, you may either register in person at the PBE branch of your choice or do so on-line. Click here ► to register on-line


Securing a time slot for your preferred course is only possible after you have completed the registration process. Meanwhile, we will be happy to respond to any course-related enquiries via email or phone call.




2. May I postpone my lesson if I can’t turn up?

For one-on-one courses, you may postpone your regular lesson (up to a maximum of one lesson per month), provided you notify the school 3 days in advance, via any of the following methods:

1) Inform our administrator in person at the counter

2) DIY by accessing with your login ID

3) Email us at


If the above condition is fulfilled, a make-up lesson will be credited to you. It is of utmost importance to note that you should NEVER postpone your regular lessons (or book any makeup lessons) through your instructor. Reason being, your instructor has no access to our main booking system and the master schedule, which everyone in PBE relies on for our official schedules. PLEASE always go through the official channels stated above, when you need any help with administrative matters.


3. How can I check the slot availability for the courses?

Please email us at or call us at 63387939 (Bugis Branch) for the latest available slots as these are subject to frequent, daily changes. Even better, you may let us know your preferred day and time of the week (for example, weekday nights, on weekends or during any afternoons) and we shall try our best to find you a suitable slot.




4. How may I book my recuperation/make-up lessons?

You can book a make-up lesson one week in advance of the desired date, via any of the following methods:

1) Inform our administrator in person at the counter

2) DIY by accessing with your login ID

3) Email us at

Please note that the student booking scheduler is available and updated on a weekly basis.




5. I am not sure which level I should sign-up for. Will the school assess my abilities before I begin my lessons?

Click here ► for self assessment to determine your current level


All new students enrolled in PBE start at either Level 1 or Level 2. (Students enrolling in jazz courses should have at least ABRSM Grade 8 or equivalent). In general, students with absolutely NO musical background, who are unfamiliar with musical notes/alphabets or unable to play a simple tune with both hands, should start at Level 1. Students with some music experience, such as classical training, or self-taught musicians who are able to play simple songs with 2 hands, may enrol in Level 2. Many students of varying musical backgrounds do enrol at level 2 straightaway. If you start at Level 2 and realize that you missed out certain topics from level 1, it is ok, as your PBE instructor is well able to bring you up to speed on any subject matter covered at Level 1, if necessary. If, in the event you feel that you are enrolled in the wrong level, you will always have the option of switching level within the first lesson. If you are really unsure, you may opt to take a paid trial lesson first, before signing up for regular lessons.




6. I need to terminate my lessons, how may I do so?

You need to give 4 weeks’ advanced written notice to the school. To do so, please email us at and we will process your request.




7. If my instructor is absent, do I need to pay for that lesson?

Yes. When your instructor is absent due to medical or other official leave, a relief instructor is assigned to cover lessons on his or her behalf, in order that your lessons may continue without disruption.




8. Can I attend lessons on a fortnightly (every 2 weeks) basis instead of once a week?

Unfortunately, our human resource system is unable to accommodate such an arrangement. However, if you have a friend that wishes to learn, and both of you are able to co-ordinate or rotate among yourselves to attend lessons every alternate week (at the same timeslot), we would gladly allow it. In this case, both you and your friend will share one account (under one name) and will be treated as ‘one student’ to avoid any administrative confusion.




9. What are the school’s peak and off peak hours?

The school’s peak hours are from 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on weekdays, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. The off-peak hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays only.




10. Do you have any practice rooms? Do I need to pay for usage, and do I need to make any advance bookings?

The students’ practice room is located at Room 5 on the 3rd floor of our Bugis branch. Practise rooms are also available at our Jurong Branch. There is also a waiting area on the 2nd floor with additional pianos for student’s use. All current PBE students are entitled to use the facilities on a first-come-first-serve basis without any booking. You will need to bring your own set of headphones or earphones while practicing with our digital pianos.




11. Does the school rent out rooms or teaching studios to the public?

No, we do not. All facilities within our school premises are exclusively for PBE-registered students only.




12. Do I have to purchase any learning materials?

All newly-registered PBE students will receive a complementary P.B.E.S™ student edition textbook relevant to their current level. As you progress to higher levels, the corresponding P.B.E.S™ student edition textbook for that level will be provided as well. Hence, no purchase is necessary.




13. What If I lose the P.B.E.S™ student edition textbook? Can I get a replacement?

Yes, you can. Each replacement copy is priced at $15. We encourage students to take good care of their textbooks.




14. Am I able to choose my own instructor?

You certainly may request to learn under a particular instructor, as we understand that many students recommend our school and their instructor to friends. However, please understand that this will depend on the instructor's availability. It would be more prudent to choose a time slot that suits you best and that you can commit to. This results in a more consistent learning program.




15. If I don’t like the current instructor, may I switch to another instructor half-way through the course?

Yes, most certainly. Although all of our instructors have gone through quality checks and are qualified PBES instructors, we understand that human interactions and social chemistry may naturally differ. Teaching styles will vary a little from instructor to instructor. Please feel free to give us feedback about this, and allow us to re-assign another instructor to you. We will never take it personally and you should never feel awkward for wanting this, as it is not uncommon at PBES. We want to offer the most suitable instructor to each of our students. Besides, this is one of the benefits of joining a music school as opposed to learning from a private instructor. The school provides many instructors to ensure one that will fit your requirements.




16. May I request being assigned to a male/female instructor?

You are most welcome to do so, if you feel that the gender of the instructor would make a positive impact on your learning. However, all our instructors are trained to provide a conducive and enjoyable learning environment.




17. What are your opening hours?

We are open 7 days a week, except on public holidays. Our operating hours are as follows: Monday – Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:15 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.




18. My working schedule is quite busy. Can you offer flexible hours?

In general, we encourage our students to commit to their regular weekly lessons. Sticking with the same instructor at a regular time slot is more conducive to your learning progress. If you have to miss your lesson, we can be flexible and conduct a replacement lesson on another day, as long as you give 3 working days' notice and provided there are available slots for replacement. However, you are only allowed to postpone or make changes to your regular lessons up to ONCE a month.




19. I am a working adult. Do you have weekday evening slots?

Yes, we certainly do. Most of our students are working adults, thus making weekday evenings and weekends the peak timings for classes. Our last time slot for lessons on weekday nights is 8:30 p.m., and 4:15 p.m. for weekends.




20. Do you conduct any group classes?

Regular lessons are conducted individually, 1-on-1. This provides a comfortable, conducive and safe learning environment, which is specifically tailored to each student's learning rates and abilities. There is no need to worry if you are learning too fast or too slow, as your instructor will speed up or slow down depending on your abilities. PBE supplementary group workshops are ‘one-off’ and are not meant to replace your regular individual lessons.




22. When do I have to pay my school fees?

Your monthly school fees are due before the start of the following month. For example, your October school fees will be due on the last week of September.




23. Are your music classes conducted only in English?

Generally, all our classes are conducted in English. However, if you are more comfortable learning in a different language, please inform us and we will do our best to offer you an instructor that speaks your language. Please understand that this is dependent on our instructors' availability and their familiarity with your requested language.




24. Do you have any trial lesson and do I have to pay for it?

Yes, as a potential student, if you are still unsure about what a Play By Ear course can offer you, you are welcome to book a trial lesson at the school administrator counter. The trial lesson costs $65 and it is independent from any other school fees (ie, should you decide not to sign up after the trial, there is nothing else to pay).




25. What happens if I can't come to one of the lessons? Do I get a replacement lesson?

For one-on-one courses, you will receive a makeup lesson credit which you can use to book a class either in the same week, or sometime in the future. If you do not give the school at least 3 days’ advanced notice, the lesson will be considered forfeited.




26. May I change my permanent lesson schedule or day once my lesson slot is fixed?

Yes, you may request to change. However, although we would like to assist you with your request as soon as possible, it also depends on the existing schedule and availability of instructors. Having said so, we usually do our best to help facilitate the change, giving our existing students priority to choose their preferred timeslot.




27. If I am sick, do I get a makeup lesson?

Yes, provided you are able to show a copy of your MC to our administrator at the counter, who will then credit your account a recuperation/makeup lesson for the one you missed.




28. I was ill, but I did not see a doctor. Can I still get a makeup lesson credit?

Unfortunately, no. In order to prevent any potential abuse of our school’s system and administration process, we need to apply consistency and be fair to other students who had their lessons forfeited due to last minute cancellation (sometimes because of their work requirements), and to the school management.




29. How do I use a makeup lesson?

Makeup lessons may be used at any time with any instructor of your choice (except on your regular weekly time slot). In other words, you won’t be able to use your recuperations lesson to “cover” or “offset” one of your regular weekly lessons. However, you can use it at other times, including back-to-back with your regular lesson, as well as for workshops.




30. Can I use my makeup lesson for my next month’s school fees?

When you postpone a regular lesson, you will be credited with a makeup lesson. The credited recuperation lesson that you earned cannot be re-imbursed as a next month’s school fee. Your monthly school fee will always be the usual standard full month fee – the equivalent of  4 regular lessons (or 5 regular lessons depending on the particular month).




31. When can I use my makeup lesson?

You may offset your makeup lesson credit(s) with a validity period of 1 year.




32. If I need to travel for 1-2 months, may I stop and continue later?

Yes, you may. In such event, there are 2 possible approaches. The first is to treat it as a “suspension” or temporary “termination” of classes, where you are required to give a 4 weeks’ notice. Upon suspension, you will not be required to pay fees for the months that you are away. You also will not accumulate any recuperation lessons. However, by doing so, your regular lesson time slot will be made available to other students. If you wish for us to reserve the time slot for you, you may choose the second approach, which is to pay the full fees as usual, and then postpone the lessons that you will be missing. In this event, you will accumulate a lot of recuperation lessons (which we strongly discourage).




33. What type of payment do you accept? Do you accept credit cards?

The school only accepts cash payments or payment via NETS. We do not accept credit cards.




34. How are your classes conducted?

Each private teaching studio is built to create a conducive learning environment. Every studio is equipped with a Yamaha Clavinova (Digital Piano). Lessons are 45 minutes each, and are conducted by your very own personal instructor. The instructor will teach you improvisation techniques and skills during the lesson, which can be applied to your choice of pop songs.




35. Do you provide home lessons?

No, we do not. All our classes are currently conducted in the school’s premises. Our school environment is conducive for learning, and each classroom is equipped with a high-tech digital piano and writing materials. Our instructors have easy access to our song library when they conduct lessons in the school.




36. What is the maximum length of time (How long) I may suspend my lessons for?

You may suspend your lessons for as long as you wish, as we will never “force” or “pressure” you to return. We understand that working adults can be busy and have many responsibilities. When you do resume classes, the administrative charges are waived.




37. I am planning to start my lessons in about 2 months. Can I book now?

It is better to book at a later date, as our instructor’s schedule changes on a weekly basis. You may, however, enquire about the availability of time slots, as some slots may only be available in 1-2 months’ time, and this will be ideal for your situation.




38. If I can’t come for a lesson, can the lesson fee be waived (if I inform the school way in advance)?

The school fees for the full calendar month will always be payable, regardless of whether you attend all or only some of the lessons. If you successfully postpone a lesson with 3 days’ notice, a recuperation lesson will be credited to you and you can utilise it at any time, even months later. The recuperation lesson(s) have a validity period of 1 year.

(1 year or 1 year from the last regular lesson upon termination with 4 weeks’ notice?)




39. What happens if there are 5 lessons in that particular month? Do I miss that one lesson?

Lessons are conducted every week unless the particular lesson day falls on a public holiday, during which the school will be closed. In the event that there are 5 weekly lessons in a particular month, your lesson fees will be prorated accordingly. For example, if your monthly school fee is $160 (based on 4 lessons), your school fees for the month with 5 weeks will be $40×5 = $200 (based on 5 lessons). However, if the school is closed for a public holiday, fees will not be charged for that particular day.




40 How long does it take to complete one level?

In general, Level 1 may be completed within 2-4 months; Level 2  in 6-9 months; Level 3  in 6-9 months; and Level 4 in 6-9 months. However, the actual length of time depends on the individual student’s learning pace and commitment to practice.




41. How long is the entire course of P.B.E.S™ (all four levels)?

The entire course is designed for completion within 2 years, but it depends on each individual. Some would prefer to learn for a shorter term, or by doing a “crash” course. You may decide for yourself the duration of your study at Play by Ear Music School.




42. Do you conduct ABRSM Jazz exams at PBE music school?

No, we do not.




43. Are there any exams in your school?

We are not an exam-orientated music school, as many of our students wish to learn for recreational purposes. However, if students wish to be assessed, we do conduct the P.B.E.S™ exams on a quarterly basis. The exams are conducted by certified P.B.E.S™ examiners and may be used to gauge your ability to progress to the next level.




44. May I speak with the instructor first before I sign up?

Yes, it is possible, if the instructor is free. However, they are usually busy teaching and only have limited time during their lunch or dinner break. It may not be too “fair” to them to use their break time to speak to potential students, unless it is going to be very short. We recommend that you sign up for a paid, no-obligation trial lesson instead, during which you can have a full 45 minutes to interact with the instructor and understand how a lesson is conducted, which is much better.




45. How do I know when I should progress to the next level, if there are no exams?

As we are not an exam-orientated music school, your instructor will informally assess your playing skills and understanding from time to time, and inform you when you are ready to progress to the next level. The completion of the P.B.E.Syllabus™ lesson modules at each level serves as a good gauge and as a standard requirement for each level. Your instructor is the best person to assess your skills and to ensure that you have understood and are able to demonstrate application of the concepts learnt at your current level.




46. Do I get a certificate at the end of the course?

You will get a certificate of completion at each level upon passing the non-compulsory P.B.E.S™ exams. However, certificates are not applicable if you do not wish to take exams.




47. How many instructors does PBE have?

We currently have approximately 20 instructors.




48. Do I need to bring anything for my first lesson?

Just bring yourself, and the given PBE student text book (A5 size), which you will need to bring to every lesson.




49. What are PBE workshops? Who can attend those workshops?

PBE workshops are one-off learning sessions. Each workshop has a different theme and is suitable for a particular level. PBE students may utilize their recuperation lesson credits to pay for the PBE workshops (1 recuperation lesson for 1 workshop), or pay separately at a rate of $65. The workshops are also open to the public at a rate of $65 per workshop. Click here ► to register for PBE workshops




50. How may I check the latest workshop schedule?

You may visit our website




51. What is the $100 refundable school deposit for?

The requirement of a school deposit is common among established music schools. It is retained as a security deposit for us, in the event where students are late or default on their fee payments or if they terminate their lessons without giving the required 4 weeks’ advance notice.




52. I travel frequently or I can’t commit to the same day and time every week due to shift work. Is there a customized program that will suit my lifestyle?

Please send us an email at and we might be able to work something out for you.














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