Monday, July 22 2019

VietNamNews

The piano lady who creatively teaches others

Update: July, 06/2019 - 10:00

 

Trương Đoan Bội Ngọc has invented two methods of learning piano accompaniment and piano solo which have helped thousands of beginners. — Photo courtesy of Trương Đoan Bội Ngọc

Bùi Quỳnh Hoa

Many people love learning to play the piano, but following the classical technique it can take up to five years to become an accomplished player. Many give up after only three months because they find it too difficult and discouraging.

However, Trương Đoan Bội Ngọc, 27, who is not trained as a professional piano teacher, has created a new way for students to learn how to play really good pieces within just six weeks. Her two methods for piano accompaniment (four weeks) and piano solo (six weeks) won her the title of Most Creative Piano Teacher, awarded by Raymond Aaron, the New York Times Bestselling Author, at the Publisher Awards in Singapore late last year. 

Piano Lady

Born into a poor family in Cam Ranh Bay in the central province of Khánh Hòa, Ngọc had a deep passion for music from a young age. Ngọc’s mother, Đoàn Thị Hoàng, had to borrow money to buy Ngọc an organ and to pay for her lessons when she was 12.

“After three years of learning, my teacher said that he had nothing else to teach me,” Ngọc said. “I could already read sheet music and write chords for a choir. This started my self-taught piano journey.”

She then moved to play the organ in church. She saw other people had different ways of playing with their left hands. When playing the organ, the left hand stays still, she said.

“There was no Youtube or internet for us at that time, so I had to find another way to teach myself to play piano accompaniment,” Ngọc said.

“I listened to the sound carefully while the choir sang, and watched the left hand movements of the pianist. I memorised those sounds and then tried to imitate the same sounds as much as possible on my organ,” she said.

Ngọc’s piano accompaniment skills gradually got better and better. She began to play solo by ear, adding diversity and her own emotions to her style of playing.

In 2011, she started her own channel on Youtube and has posted lots of videos with her playing her favourite songs, along with tutorial videos. From an amateur player, she – a graduate in economics from the Foreign Trade University, HCM City – has become famous and is now an online piano teacher, a job that she had never thought about before.

People call her the “Piano Lady” because she has the largest number of piano videos and tutorial videos on Youtube in Việt Nam. Her videos have attracted more than ten million views and about 58,000 subscribers in and outside the country.

So far, she has designed five training courses and has two methods to learn the piano that make it a lot easier than classical training. She’s also the author of Phương Pháp Tự Học Piano Solo (Piano Solo Method for Beginners -- A New Way To Play Any Song Within Six Weeks) which has been translated into English and is available on Amazon.

Talking about the book which earned her the Most Creative Piano Teacher award, Raymond Aaron said he was really impressed by the knowledge and experience that Ngọc demonstrates in the book.

“Ngọc is an incredible young and self-taught pianist with more than twelve years of experience,” he said. “Ngọc’s magically written words will help you become a better piano player and you will achieve results quicker than you would if you were to learn how to play in a traditional way.”

“Most people after six weeks are still doing very little scales, and Ngọc has got her students doing beautiful musical pieces,” he added.

Students young and old

Using these techniques has led Ngọc to become a piano coach for many people, both young and old. She helps them learn the piano more easily and quickly. She has inspired thousands of people to learn to play the instrument.

“While doing a private tutorial lesson on Skype with one of my students who had the nickname Fu Loc Chu,72, from France, I got the idea of helping elders find an easier way of reading sheet music and combining both hands on the piano,” Ngọc said.

"I marked colourful dots under the right hand notes on the sheet music which signified the left hand position, so that my student wouldn’t need to read the sheet music for both hands but just read the notes for one hand.

"This is a new method of teaching the piano. It allows people to be self-taught, to discover and create.

“I have taught this method successfully to hundreds of students, and 80 per cent of them can play a song after the first lesson with just a week of practice. Some of them can play independently, while others can play by ear after four months.” 

Ngọc’s mother, Đoàn Thị Hoàng, 57, is also her student.

“I have never thought I'd be able to play the piano. It was really amazing when I realised I could do it,” Hoàng said. “I mastered a song titled Thằng Cuội after just one week. I’ve posted it on my Facebook page and it's received lots of likes and hearts from my friends. Thanks to my daughter’s teaching, I can play dozens of songs now. It’s a joy for us old ones!

Sharing the same passion as Ngọc’s mother, many other over 60-year-olds have signed up for online piano classes.

Young children, especially those from the Mai Tâm Orphanage in HCM City, also love Ngọc’s charity piano classes.

“Along with the online classes, I visited the orphanage to teach the girls and boys first hand,” Ngọc said.

“They are so innocent and cute and all want to learn the piano. I just can't refuse to teach them. Asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, some said a famous pianist, some a piano teacher, and some just an enthusiast who could play for poor children at the orphanage.

“I was also born into a poor family with no money and no tradition of music for me to follow my passion, but I managed to do it. So I want them to keep dreaming and trying their best to fulfil their passion. I believe they can do it, just as I did.

“With my new methods of learning, anyone can achieve results and success,” she said. VNS

 

GLOSSARY

 

Many people love learning to play the piano, but following the classical technique it can take up to five years to become an accomplished player.

Classical means traditional and well established.

A technique is a way of doing something.

Accomplished means skilled.

Many give up after only three months because they find it too difficult and discouraging.

If something is discouraging, it makes you not want to do it.

However, Trương Đoan Bội Ngọc, 27, who is not trained as a professional piano teacher, has created a new way for students to learn how to play really good pieces within just six weeks.

A professional piano teacher teaches people how to play the piano as a job.

Born into a poor family in Cam Ranh Bay in the central province of Khánh Hòa, Ngọc had a deep passion for music from a young age.

If you have a passion for something, you do not mind how much money or time you spend on it.

Ngọc’s mother, Đoàn Thị Hoàng, had to borrow money to buy Ngọc an organ and to pay for her lessons when she was 12.

An organ is a musical instrument that is similar to a piano but more sophisticated.

 “I could already read sheet music and write chords for a choir.”

A chord is a group of notes that make a tune.

A choir is a team of singers.

“There was no Youtube or internet for us at that time, so I had to find another way to teach myself to play piano accompaniment,” Ngọc said.

Accompaniment means support.

“I memorised those sounds and then tried to imitate the same sounds as much as possible on my organ,” she said.

To memorise the sounds means to train yourself to remember them.

To imitate means to copy.

She began to play solo by ear, adding diversity and her own emotions to her style of playing.

Solo means alone.

If there is diversity in something, it is made up of many different things.

Emotions are feelings.

In 2011, she started her own channel on Youtube and has posted lots of videos with her playing her favourite songs, along with tutorial videos.

Tutorial means teaching.

From an amateur player, she – a graduate in economics from the Foreign Trade University, HCM City – has become famous and is now an online piano teacher, a job that she had never thought about before.

An amateur player is one who plays for fun and not as their way of earning a living.

A graduate is someone with a university degree.

Her videos have attracted more than ten million views and about 58,000 subscribers in and outside the country.

Subscribers are people who ask to receive productions or publications regularly and by request

She’s also the author of Phương Pháp Tự Học Piano Solo (Piano Solo Method for Beginners -- A New Way To Play Any Song Within Six Weeks) which has been translated into English and is available on Amazon.

If something is translated it is repeated in another in language.

Talking about the book which earned her the Most Creative Piano Teacher award, Raymond Aaron said he was really impressed by the knowledge and experience that Ngọc demonstrates in the book.

To be impressed by something means to think that it is of good quality.

Demonstrates means shows.

“Most people after six weeks are still doing very little scales, and Ngọc has got her students doing beautiful musical pieces,” he added.

Scales are arrangements of notes in music.

She has inspired thousands of people to learn to play the instrument.

If people are inspired they get the energy to want to go out and do something positive.

“While doing a private tutorial lesson on Skype with one of my students who had the nickname Fu Loc Chu,72, from France, I got the idea of helping elders find an easier way of reading sheet music and combining both hands on the piano,” Ngọc said.

A nickname is a casual name, usually used by close friends.

“Some of them can play independently, while others can play by ear after four months.” 

Independently means “on their own”.

Young children, especially those from the Mai Tâm Orphanage in HCM City, also love Ngọc’s charity piano classes.

Charity is help given to the weak and unfortunate.

“Along with the online classes, I visited the orphanage to teach the girls and boys first hand,” Ngọc said.

An orphanage is a place where children who have lost their parents live.

“They are so innocent and cute and all want to learn the piano.”

Someone who is innocent has done nothing wrong.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true. or false:

1. Trương Đoan Bội Ngọc could watch Youtube and Internet as a child.

2. Eight years ago, Trương Đoan Bội Ngọc started her own Youtube channel.

3. Trương Đoan Bội Ngọc is known as the "Piano Lady".

4. Trương Đoan Bội Ngọc is a coach only for old people.

5. Trương Đoan Bội Ngọc is even giving her own mother piano lessons.

ANSWERS: 1. False; 2. True; 3. True; 4. False; 5. True.

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