300+ Days of Practice!

Priya and Nayantara’s 100 (300) Days of Practice!
October 23, 2019
Kian Chong, Violin faculty HKSMI

Accomplished Musicians, Olympic athletes, master chefs, and people who excel in their fields have one thing in common; practice. Why do we practice? For musicians, the repetitive act builds muscle memory; playing an instrument is a physical act, it requires one to discern movements in space (and time!). Through repetitions during practice, we learn to refine and hone our skills which eventually leads to mastery of new techniques. We practice so that we can retain new materials or exercises that are taught in the recent lesson, so that we are ready for the next lesson. We practice to maintain old pieces that have been polished in the past, to refresh the aural and muscular memories. The list goes on!

The hashtag 100 days of practice (#100days) originates from the visual art community on the social media platform, Instagram, where artists would share a photo of their work in progress, for a hundred consecutive days. The concertising soloist, Hilary Hahn, who has undertaken several 100 days of practice projects remarked, “You don’t have to worry about the result; it doesn’t have to be in great shape. You can show working on the same piece of art—you do a little bit of coloring one day, you spend 100 days on the same thing, or you could do sketches every day”.

Many other musicians and music students around the world have followed suit. One happens to be the Sinha family (mother, Priya and daughter, Nayantara) who has been studying violin at our school! Inspired by the global movement on Instagram, the mother-daughter team embarked on their first 100 days in January 2019. As a recognition to this wonderful endeavour, we did an interview on their journey. You can listen to it on https://soundcloud.com/user-14495260 where Priya shares with us her challenges, strategies, and tips to make practice easier.

The duo has since then completed not one, but two cycles of 100 days of practice! I caught up with Priya recently to check in on their latest development.

300 days Q &A!
Q: Did practicing get easier?
A: The first 100 days were a lot of begging, but 50 days in she realized this is what we do together. She understands that she has to do the practice anyways. Weekdays are easy because we practice 15 minutes before school. On weekends, we could play up to 45 minutes sometimes! We incorporate tiny decisions (an app for decision making). She enjoys playing in different places, during our travels we played at the airport while waiting!

Q: What changes have you observed in Nayantara’s playing and character?
A: She is more resilient, she gets excited by the music. She does sound much better than she was in December. She would go around the house to find people to play to, and she even plays for the neighbors. In fact the neighbor is so inspired, they started taking lessons here (HKSMI)!

Q: What motivates you to keep going?
A: Nayantara. it has become part of my routine as well. I want to help her to the point where she’ll be able to handle her own practice, but she is not old enough to do that now. Until then, we do it together. It’s part of our household routine also, it is not a chore as we have been doing this (the 100 days practice) for a year already.

Q: What motivates Nayantara to keep going?
A: She likes listening to older students play, upcoming pieces excite her. The sense of achievement and knowing that when she achieves 300 days, she’ll spend a day with me at Disneyland (Disneyland was my idea). We are currently aiming for 400 days, at the end she gets to decide what to do.

Q:Do you have a revised structure for practice now, or the existing structure is adequate for the current level?
A: The current structure (warm up, current pieces, and preview) works but I update the pieces accordingly. E.g. replacing Monkey song with scales and arpeggios.
We end with what we know really well. On school days, we will play for 15 minutes and then pick a piece to play three times; one of which we will make a recording. Sometimes three becomes five because she wants to play better!
One point lesson helps me focus as well.
I try to remember everything but it is not easy. At the beginning (early book 1) it was easy because we were working on postures and such but now that her pieces are getting longer, I need to check with the lesson notes to make sure I know what to focus on!

Q: Did it build habits?
A: Yes!

Mr. Kian’s reflections:
As Nayantara’s violin teacher, I have witnessed a sense of empowerment in her. She comes to lesson every week eager to tell me how far into the project she is, her enthusiasm has never been higher. Her playing tone has seen(heard) marked improvement. Among all these positive observations, one that stands out to me is her resilience towards failure. Nayantara has grown to embrace mistakes more openly, she is more receptive to suggestions and doing multiple repetitions. Our lessons run very smoothly as there is no meltdown, Nayantara would sometimes come up with suggestions on what to do next without prompting!

Here are some tips and advice to help you start your very own practice project!
Plan practice time in your child’s schedule.
Less is more! Start by doing 5-10 minutes EVERY DAY and slowly work up to longer sessions. (Varies by age, level, and maturity)
Make practice earlier in the day if possible.
Have a structure! Use your lesson notes, and keep track of what you are doing.
Build accountability by telling friends and family about your practice project and actually commit to doing it!
Don’t forget to acknowledge the efforts (occasional ice-cream treat, an afternoon at the park, mother-daughter only tea time etc)
Use visual reminder such as chart and stickers.
Play for your friends/ neighbours.
One point practice!

Evan’s Master Class with an Inspiring Violinist

One of our HKSMI student’s Evan Chen (13) was able to study with Adrian Anantawan, a violinist with only one arm, who came to Hong Kong this winter and performed with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. Here is his experience of working with Adrian!

Masterclass with Adrian Anantawan

On the 2nd of March, I had the privilege and opportunity to be able to have a master class with Adrian Anantawan, a globally known professional violinist with only one hand. I played the piece “Meditation” by Jules Massenet, and I felt that it was an excellent experience and provided some inspiration for me. I learnt that if you want to get better at something, the only way to do it is to practice every day and as hard as you can. Although we only had around 10 to 15 minutes together, I really enjoyed the process and felt that he gave excellent feedback and advice. He was able to turn his advice from something that not everyone understood, into a context that everyone did. After the masterclass, I also watched his concert which took place two days later, and this was where he spoke about how he grew up and began to play the violin. I felt that this was even more inspirational and moving that he was able to overcome the odds of playing the violin with one hand, and this will continue to inspire me to become a better player.

by Evan Chen

World Sonata Project

HKSMI teachers are dynamic and interesting people, performers, and scholars whose wide world views help their students understand music in a global and holistic sense – not just fingers and notes!! Read up on Mr. Kian’s latest project!

World Sonata Project

It came about when Stephanie Ann Boyd, a classical composer in New York City reached out to me last August to put together a project called the World Sonata Project (WSP).

The WSP is a large scale co-commission that is bringing new music to every corner of the world in 2017, with 50 violinists from around the world premiering in their home country or region a new solo sonata for violin that the American composer has written. The WSP is actually the second of a two year work dedicated to the life and work of John Kendall, the man who brought the Suzuki method to the US in the 1960s and was Stephanie’s violin teacher!

The goal is to perform the work in its entirety, solo i.e. without any accompaniment, as a tribute to Mr. Kendall and in whatever setting the commissioners feel appropriate. I am fortunate to have had many amazing teachers, friends and colleagues who encouraged, challenged me throughout my musical studies and career. They showed me kindness and the values of humanity, I feel a compelling urge to share this wonderful piece of music together with some other pieces of my choice for a cause; raising funds for charity (to be determined).

I have, since the first encounter in August 2016, had a few video conferences and an in-person meet up with Stephanie in NYC to discuss the project. Stephanie is an absolute delight to work with, a seasoned traveller whose presence exudes affability. We talked about places we have travelled, people and cultures, food and coffee, and everything in between. This particular work encapsulates a vast array of emotions, it is a violinistic portrait of different parts of the world.

I am looking forward to performing the work, together with some of my favourite pieces! I hope to see you at the recital!

Check out Stephanie’s latest updates at http://www.stephanieannboyd.com/worldsonataproject-1/

And recital info at http://kian-violin-studio.com



Stephanie and Kian

Introducing Mr. Kian Chong – Suzuki Violin Teacher

Mr. Kian joined HKSMI in August 2015 and we are so happy to have him here with his gentle but firm approach to teaching, deep knowledge, and great energy!! The following is his welcome letter :-). Feel free to be in touch to study with him, he only has a couple of spots left for new violin students!
Nei Hou, Hong Kong!

It is so wonderful to have the opportunity to live in the city they called the Pearl of the Orient. I am enjoying all the delicious food that HK has to offer, friendly hikes, gorgeous islands and beaches. You name it!

Prior to Hong Kong, I have spent three wonderful years in the beautiful state of Colorado, where I obtained my graduate degree in Music and Suzuki Pedagogy. I went teaching full time during my last year of residence in the US as a string instructor. I taught and assisted several string/Suzuki programmes as well as my own violin studio of 15 students whose faces I could still remember today! There was this elementary band and orchestra programme where I met with students of different string instruments (violin, viola, cello, and bass) for five days a week, starting 7 in the morning, phew! It was a fun programme to teach nonetheless as the students are all enthusiastic to learn, we played several concerts and went on a district tour in just one short year!

Growing up, I have always been fascinated by people who could play music so beautifully regardless of instruments. I was the brother who refused to change channel as there was music performance on the broadcast. Thanks to my wonderful, supportive parents for not saying no that year when I came home saying that I want to take up violin lessons…and the rest is history. From regular weekly lessons (insert countless hours of practising and listening), I went on to pursuing music degrees, travelled to many places I never thought I could, played many concerts in many beautiful concert halls and churches, and made so many good friends all over the world.

I cannot imagine a world without music, I enjoy both performing and teaching immensely. Therefore It is my wish to share this gift with all my students here in HK! Let’s learn, love, play, grow together.

Yours musically,

(Mr.) Kian Chong

Dalcroze Movement Classes for Children at HKSMI

HKSMI is pleased to announce new Dalcroze classes with Sui Ming Chu starting on January 11th.

Dalcroze nurtures musical and creative movement in children and their parents.

Classes are on Wednesdays starting January 11th

For 2 year olds classes are either 2:30 or 5:30

For 3 year olds, classes are 3:30

For 4 and 5 year olds classes are 4:30

Please see the flyer here: flyer-winter-term-in-suzuki-institute-2017

Dear Parent,

My name is Sui Ming. I am a concert pianist and have been teaching children and adults Dalcroze
classes for many years in London, Geneva and Hong Kong. Dalcroze eurhythmics is one of the
three world renowned music education. It is a sound education through moving. From listening to
improvised piano and move, children develop holistically in building senses of music such as
rhythm and form, developing concentration and coordination, cultivating imagination and creativity
through improvisation, learn how to work in group, and building songs and musical repertoire.
Along with building literacy of music, children develop a life long love for music and movement.

Explaining the lesson
Dalcroze Eurhythmics is founded on the theory that all rhythms in music have their roots in the
rhythms of the human body and can be experienced through movement. The core value of this innovative
method is to foster musicianship and creative development in children through a holistic
approach of music and movement.
Each lesson is conducted through age appropriate music and movement games in a group setting.
Auditory, visual and tactile stimulants are used while accompanied on the piano, children respond
interactively through movement- not just singing, clapping and stepping but natural movements
such as walking, running, skipping, jumping- to interweave notions of time, space and energy.
Through these movements, students develop their physical comprehension of musical elements
such as pulse, rhythm, metre, pitch, tempo, harmony, phrasing and form.
This modality of teaching is proven to develop individual interpretation and expression. The children
acquire a sense of space and coordination. Their concentration and memory improve while
they also learn to collaborate with others in a group setting.
Dalcroze children are creative and imaginative, confident and happy, fond of music and movement,
and provide a good foundation for learning musical instruments and other art forms later.

Three approaches:
1) Eurhythmics: (Greek for good rhythm)
Skilful execution of gesture and body movement to explore musics relationship to time, weight,
space and energy.
2) Solfeggi: (Italian for singing with sol-fa syllables)
Developing ear training and musical literacy through solfeggi singing and movement.

3) Improvisation:
Realisation, adaptation and creation of musical thought and movement.

Lesson outcomes:
Movement skills: body consciousness/ coordination; enhanced sense of space, direction and the
way the body shapes to express different levels of dynamics; body balance, control and gait; tension
and release; imitation, expression and creation of movement; simple choreography.
Music skills: enhanced sense of musical elements such as pulse, pitch, rhythm, metre, melody,
harmony, phrasing and form; singing, appreciation and interpretation of a wide variety of music;
imitation and production of new sounds improvisation; Music literacy through solfeggi and notation.
Personal skills: concentration, coordination, mind-body connection, enjoyment of music and
movement, ability to work with others in a common creative purpose.

Brief biography
Sui Ming Chu, concert pianist, graduated from Guildhall school of Music and Drama GGSM ( London,
UK) and first ever certified HK Chinese Dalcroze teacher: BA Hes-so in music and movement
(Institute Jaques Dalcroze, Geneva) and UK Dalcroze Certificate. She has over 10 years experience
in teaching with this method in Europe and Hong Kong for children and adults. Since relocating
back to HK in 2009, she has been teaching in schools, universities, performing arts institutions, art
festivals and professional dance and theatre companies including HKAPA and Shanghai Orchestra
Academy. In 2012, she started the HK Dalcroze Music Center and launched a series of childrens courses in HKCS, Lick Hang kindergarten, Casa dei Bambibi Montessori, and Yew Chung International School, YALC.
In her piano teaching, she aims to help each student build a firm foundation of sensory integration
( to develop power of listening, thinking, and feeling in their reading and playing) using wide- ranging
musical repertoire combined with improvisation exercises to unlock their potential for expressive
technique and a personalised relationship to the instrument.


2016-2017 Calendar for HKSMI

Hong Kong Suzuki Music Institute Calendar 2016-2017

(August 23, 2016-June 30, 2017) 36-lesson weeks within 40-week calendar. This calendar roughly follows the English School Foundation annual calendar.


Week Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 Aug. 23 Aug. 24 Aug. 25 Aug. 26 Aug. 27
2 Aug. 30 Aug. 31 Sept. 1 Sept. 2 Sept. 3
3 Sept. 6 Sept. 7 Sept. 8 Sept. 9 Sept. 10
4 Sept. 13 Sept. 14 Sept. 15 Sept. 23 Sept. 17
5 Sept. 20 Sept. 21 Sept. 22 Sept. 30 Sept. 24
6 Sept. 27 Sept. 28 Sept. 29 Oct. 7 Oct. 8
7 Oct. 4 Oct. 5 Oct. 6 Oct.21 Oct. 15
8 Oct. 18 Oct. 19 Oct. 20 Oct. 28 Oct. 22
9 Oct. 25 Oct. 26 Oct. 27 Nov. 4 Oct. 29
10 Nov. 1 Nov. 2 Nov. 3 Nov. 11 Nov. 5
11 Nov. 8 Nov. 9 Nov. 10 Nov. 18 Nov. 12
12 Nov. 15 Nov. 16 Nov. 17 Nov. 25 Nov. 19
13 Nov. 22 Nov. 23 Nov. 24 Dec. 2 Nov. 26
14 Nov. 29 Nov. 30 Dec. 1 Dec. 9 Dec. 3
15 Dec. 6 Dec. 7 Dec. 8 Dec. 16 Dec. 10
16 Dec. 13 Dec. 14 Dec. 15 Jan. 6 Dec. 17
17 Jan. 3 Jan. 4 Jan. 5 Jan. 13 Jan. 7
18 Jan. 10 Jan. 11 Jan.12 Jan. 20 Jan. 14
19 Jan. 17 Jan. 18 Jan. 19 Jan. 27 Jan. 21
20 Jan. 24 Jan. 25 Jan. 26 Feb. 10 Feb. 11
21 Feb. 7 Feb. 8 Feb. 9 Feb. 17 Feb. 18
22 Feb. 14 Feb. 15 Feb. 16 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
23 Feb. 21 Feb. 22 Feb. 23 March 3 March 4
24 Feb. 28 March 1 March 2 Mar. 10 March 11
25 March 7 March 8 March 9 Mar. 17 March 18
26 March 14 March 15 March 16 Mar. 24 March 25
27 March 21 March 22 March 23 Mar. 31 April 1
28 March 28 March 29 March 30 April 7 April 8
29 April 18 April 5 April 6 April 21 April 22
30 April 25 April 19 April 20 April 28 April 29
31 May 2 April 26 April 27 May 5 May 6
32 May 9 May 10 May 4 May12 May 13
33 May 16 May 17 May 11 May 19 May 20
34 May 23 May 24 May 18 May 26 May 27
35 June 6 May 31 May 25 June 2 June 3
36 June13 June 7 June 1 June 9 June 10
**37 June 20* June 14* June 8* June 16* June 17*
**38 June 27* June 21* June15* June 23* June 24*
**39 n/a June 28* June 22* June 30* n/a
**40 n/a n/a June 29* n/a n/a

An * indicates that these are make-up lesson weeks to be used in case of teacher absence due to illness or travel. Please include these in your calendar and be prepared to attend if need be. Make-up lessons for teacher absence may also occur closer to the missed lesson day and/or on a single-day public holiday.

Important Dates:

Public Holidays & School Breaks (no classes except for make-ups due to teacher absence.)

Friday, September 16th Day after Mid-Autumn Festival

Saturday, October 1st National Day

Monday, October 10th Friday October 14th Autumn Break

Monday, December 19th Monday, January 2nd Christmas/Gregorian New Year

Saturday, January 28th Monday February 6th Lunar/Chinese New Year Break

Tuesday, April 4th Ching Ming Festival

Monday April 10th– Monday, April 17th Easter Break

Monday, May 1st Labour Day

Wednesday, May 3rd Buddhas Birthday

Tuesday, May 30th Dragon Boat Festival

Saturday, July 1st Hong Kong Day (and Canada Day!)

Concerts and Events (details TBA) concert will generally be in lieu of group classes

Saturday, September 17th Public Play-In (no group classes)

Saturday, October 29th Possible Halloween Play-In (no groups tba)

Saturday, December 3rd Afternoon concert, City Hall Recital Hall (no group classes)

Saturday, April 1st concert tba

Saturday, June 3rd or June 10th Year-End concert (no groups)

Other dates will be added as they arise!

For questions about calendar or events, email evelynosborne@hksuzukimusic.com or your teacher directly.

Introducing HKSMI

Welcome to the blog for the Hong Kong Suzuki Music Institute (HKSMI). We are a new Suzuki music school opened in Shuk Tong Tsui, Hong Kong in September of 2015.

This blog will feature new updates on events at the school, practicing advice for parents, celebrate students successes (from small to big!), and provide discussions regarding various aspects of music education. I will also link it to our forthcoming YouTube channel so you can see videos of the songs and activities we do in our lessons.

Feel free to visit our Facebook page at Hong Kong Suzuki Music Institute. If you are a parent at the school please join our discussion group at HK Suzuki Music Parents Group.

We are a family-oriented school and already have over 20 families already studying music with us. The children range from infants through teenagers and the parents are also learning too!

HKSMI has a Three-Step Suzuki Talent Education Family Music Program:

Step 1 Twinkle Toes: Infant/Toddler Music (0-3)

Step 2 Twinkle Fingers: Pre-Instrument Program (3-4)

Step 3 Twinkling Stars: Violin/Viola Program (3.5/4+)

As the school grows we will have orchestras, music reading classes, fiddle classes and more!!

HKSMI was an idea started three years ago when three families came together and decided to open a new Suzuki school in Hong Kong. In 2014, they connected with Dr. Evelyn Osborne, a Canadian Suzuki teacher and ethnomusicologist, and a year later she moved to HK to become the founding executive director of HKSMI. Please see Dr. Osborne’s bio here in “About Us.”

Together as team, we are planning big things for HKSMI’s musical future!! We hope you will join us on this blog and/or in person for a fun-filled and loving introduction to music for your family!

To contact us simply email info@hksuzukimusic.com or see our Contact Us page on our website www.hksuzukimusic.com

See a slideshow of our program below!

3-Step Family Music Program