Month: February 2015

Piano Teaching


Yesterday we had started our piano pedagogy course (level I) again. As usual I was very excited to meet another new group of student-teachers who are passionate about learning more in the field of piano/music teaching. I took an hour in the mid-day to go through the syllabus and notes before the evening class came. I have a habit of reading out loud on my own (note: I am not crazy) – it helps me make clear of what ideas I am going to present in a speech/class. As I was reading aloud about the first class’ content, I found this urge of wanting to share with my student-teachers growing inside me and it -felt – really good! The sense of burning passion reminded me how much I have always wanted to share with others the joy of music/piano and that of teaching and inspiring others to feel the same with me. It simply is fantastic.

In my class (as in my lessons as well), I do not just read from notes and students listen: I advocate active participation from students. I am sure you all are well familiar with the teaching at school in the old days when we sat there and teacher kept reading in a boring tone that just did not do anything to encourage learning whatsoever. Discussion is tremendously important when it comes to learning in class: students get to speak up, and before they are able to do that, they must THINK about what to talk about, right?

Another important element of my class is my sharing of experience in terms of teaching and learning with my students. I am very open-minded when it comes to that. Some people might think, “you should keep the secret of success and failure to yourself”, “you can’t just give away your secret, can you?”. When I started writing this site (some call it a blog, I do not know what the difference is), my initial idea was simply to share my knowledge freely to everyone who has the desire to learn music/piano but would not be able to come to me directly for whatever reason ( be it economical or geographical). I thought since I had learnt all the knowledge I had inside me, wouldn’t it be a waste not to share with others, so that I could help them to enjoy music, solve their problems in piano playing, and achieve the goals they had in mind? This initial thought of mine still remains to be the core of my work, and I would not let myself to forget about that. In fact, teaching and training the teachers reminds me well every single day of such mission in my mind.

As I was talking with my student-teacher after class last night, I shared with her the thought of bringing local piano teachers together, forming a community of some sort. I think teaching especially privately can sometimes be a very lonely business, only attending to one student at a time. Apart from personal and professional development, a sense of belonging in a social setting with others in the same field is something I would very much love to achieve in this organization. If any of you are interested, please, do sign up for a membership here on my site – a general membership is FREE and it would keep you updated with the upcoming seminars/workshops/classes we will be holding, as well as other concerts happening in town. There is an event calendar you can go to after you sign up, and we would also update you with a monthly newsletter (not too frequently so you wouldn’t feel hassled).

As always, I appreciate your support and reading here. I hope to finish the editing of the final version of my book soonest and send you a limited free copy to acknowledge your continual support of my work.

Here is the link to sign up for the membership:



Piano Pedagogy Course Level I
Piano Pedagogy Course Level I

You can join us by every class instead of the whole course. To sign up for the class, join our General Membership (FREE) and go to Event Calendar for time and details of all course.

Afterword to ABRSM Seminar

Our seminar on ABRSM diploma exam preparation was held successfully on February 15. We had a great and enthusiastic crowd of audience attended that day. My special heartfelt thanks go to our wonderful (and humorous!) speaker Mr Bill Thomson for such an informative talk, as well as our teacher at TWSOM (and my student) Miss Carol Yip for her assistance in administering the seminar. And here are some selected photos from the seminar:





We hope to organize more useful and practical workshops in the near future!

Teresa Wong

FAQ on Piano Diploma Exams (Performance) (Part I)

Here are some commonly asked questions and answers I compile for your reference:

Q1. Which are the music boards that provide diploma exams in Hong Kong?
The most two common music exam boards in Hong Kong are: the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and the Trinity College London.

Q2. What kinds of diplomas are available for examination purpose?
There are three kinds of music diplomas:
ABRSM: Music Performance, Music Direction, and Instrumental/Vocal Teaching.
Trinity College: Performance, Teaching, and Theory and Composition.

Q3. How many levels of music diplomas are there for each board?
There are three levels of every kind of music diplomas for each board.
For performance diplomas, there are:
Trinity: ATCL, LTCL and FTCL.
In a performance diploma, candidates perform with their own choice of instruments in the manner of a recital, in the limited time frame, 3-4 pieces of contrasting styles and periods, selected from the official syllabus provided by the perspective board (each board has a different time limitation and a different set of repertoire list to be chosen pieces from).

Q4. What is the duration of the whole recital program for each performance diploma?
dipABRSM: 35 minutes (+/- 10%: meaning somewhere between 32 and 38 minutes)
LRSM: 40 minutes (+/- 10%): meaning somewhere between 36 and 44 minutes)
FRSM: 50 minutes (+/- 10%): meaning somewhere between 45 and 55 minutes)

Trinity –
ATCL: 32–38 minutes
LTCL: 37–43 minutes
FTCL: 42–48 minutes

*Timing excludes breaks between items

Q5. What are the various parts of each performance diploma?
Four Parts:

During exam –
1. Recital
2. Viva Voce
3. Quick Study

Written in advance and submitted on the day of exam –
4. Programme Notes (or Written Submission in the case of FRSM)

ATCL (Recital Diplomas)-
Two parts:

During exam –
1. Recital

Written in advance and submitted on the day of exam –
2. Programme Notes

Q6. What is the time distribution of each section in each performance diploma exam of ABRSM?
dipABRSM: 60 minutes: Recital – 35 minutes (+/- 10%), Viva Voce: up to 12 minutes, Quick Study: up to 10 minutes
LRSM: 75 minutes: Recital – 40 minutes (+/- 10%), Viva Voce: up to 15 minutes, Quick Study: up to 10 minutes.
FRSM: 90 minutes: Recital – 50 minutes (+/- 10%), Viva Voce: up to 20 minutes, Quick Study: up to 10 minutes.

Q7. What is the word count limitation for the programme note of each performance diploma exam?
dipABRSM (programme notes) : 1,100 words (+_ 10%)
LRSM (programme notes): 1,800 words (+_ 10%)
FRSM (written submission): 4,500 words (+_ 10%)
*Candidates should be prepared to discuss the programme notes/written submission in the Viva Voce session.

Trinity –
ATCL: 400–700 words
LTCL: 800–1,100 words
FTCL: 1,200–1,600 words
*all word counts not including translations of song texts

Teresa Wong

Welcome to Our New Members’ Area!

Dear All, Readers and Students/Parents,

Welcome to our new Members’ Area! For now, I am setting up two levels, General Member (FREE for readers) and Student Member (exclusively for my students only). So try signing up and see what events we are currently holding, for instance, the ABRSM seminar and Piano Pedagogy Course (Level I). There will be information only for members’ viewing only. For students, we will also have videos and lesson updates, something only for students to view and read only, for students themselves to remember what and how to practice and for parents to keep update with their children’s progress and also help them with their learning/practice too. So please don’t hesitate to sign up everyone!


Go to: New Member Sign-Up Page