Piano covers,
played by me,
by ear,
for you.
♬ ♪ ♩ ♫
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About Me

Hi, I’m Javin Tham, this is my piano covers blog, click here to visit my personal blog.

How I started learning piano
I started learning piano at the age of 10 (which I think is considered old as compared to those typical young piano learners, some started at the age of 3 - 5). I wasn’t made learn, I was the one bugging my mum, “I wanna learn piano I wanna learn piano!”, and she got me a piano teacher, who’s my mum’s cousin. I continued learning from a 2nd piano teacher after my 1st teacher went for missionary works.

ABRSM Exams
I learnt the theory of music at the same time, and for piano, I sat for the practical exam for Grade 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8; for theory of music, I sat for the exams for Grade 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8. In my opinion, exams only give you certification, although they are important to discipline you. If you need motivation to force you to keep learning, go ahead and register for exams. If I were to save money, I would have taken only Grade 5 and 8. If you’re aiming for 8, no point taking exams all the way from Grade 1, unless you have extra money to donate to ABRSM.

Reading scores or playing by ear
So as you can see, I was pretty much classically trained for music, in the latter part of my learning journey, I started to know more about chords, especially when I serve as a keyboardist at church. I started to rely more and more to my ears, and as for now, I play songs by ear. Thank God for this ability because I HATE reading scores! Bad eyesight is one reason, but I’m really slow at sight reading, and often scored badly for that section of my practical exams. But hey, I don’t care, you know who can sight read perfectly? A robot, or a computer. But can a robot or computer play by ear? Well, a computer can transcribe a song into scores, with notes that you don’t understand. You see, playing by ear is something intuitive, something that requires internalization, and I really do think this is the essence of learning music.
Despite that, I still look at score a lot of times, when I write music using Sibelius, a scorewriter program.

How do I play and record the piano
So far all songs are played and recorded internally with my YAMAHA PSR S900 arranger workstation keyboard, with an organ style key type instead of graded hammer - it's less comfortable to play as a piano. It's with me since 2008, and I even brought it over to Singapore all the way from Penang, when I was enrolled at the National University of Singapore in 2009.

Do I listen to more Mandarin or English songs
I listen to more Mandarin songs, I didn't even try to make myself listen to English songs when I was in high school because most of them are less melodious, and I don't feel connected to those songs at all.

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