Jennen Ngiau-Keng: Violinist
Jennen Ngiau-Keng performs on a Graham Caldersmith violin & Matthew Coltman bow, both of which were awarded to him.
Since the age of five, Jennen has won over $100,000 in awards & prizes in music competitions.
As a full scholarship student, Jennen studied at Camberwell Grammar School from 1994 to 2001, and at the Australian National Academy of Music from 2002 to 2005. In 2008, Jennen obtained a Master of Music Performance Degree at the University of Tasmania.
A former student of John Harding, Alice Waten and Jun Yi Ma, Jennen has performed over 50 concertos as soloist with orchestras in Australia & overseas.
He has acted Guest Concertmaster of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Vic Opera Orchestra and has toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed as a guest principal with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Seventeen88 and is a regular violinist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra.
Jennen Ngiau-Keng: Melbourne Violin Teacher
Born in Melbourne in 1983, Jennen is an enthusiastic, caring and experienced violin teacher in Melbourne. He has mentored at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Melbourne Youth Music. In 2002, Jennen was a demonstrating violinist for the AMEB Technical Syllabus & Key Techniques DVD series.
Jennen teaches a maximum of six students per week. This allows him to be fully devoted to each student and ensures the opportunity to teach is not taken for granted. He encourages all his students to video record their lessons, so they may view themselves at home and recap on their lessons throughout the week. It's also a great way for their students to document their progress over time.
Having studied the violin for over 25 years under the guidance of over 50 pedagogues, Jennen has experienced many different teaching techniques and personalities. He understands that a great teacher is not just one who can play the violin well. It's how they communicate with their students and inspire them.
As a violin teacher, Jennen's main focuses are:
1. To inspire with good communication and demonstration
2. Inform students how to practise slowly and efficiently
3. Encourage questions from students
4. Teach students to listen and think more
5. To achieve maximum results within the time allotment
Learning the violin should be fulfilling, fun and memorable. Students need not strive to be world-class, as studying such a complex instrument will result in the attainment of general practical disciplinary skills.
Informing students of WHAT to practise and achieve by the next lesson is not sufficient on it's own. Teaching a student HOW to practise is a key attribute of Jennen's violin teaching method.
Jennen charges $50 per half hour lesson and is flexible with lesson times and regularity.
Jennen Ngiau-Keng: Student Violinist
As a child, Jennen was hyperactive and difficult to control. To discipline him, his mother, Pian, had him study the piano from the age of 3 and the violin from 5. Each day, Pian guided his practise on both instruments until he was 15. Jennen’s ability to achieve goals in all aspects of his life can be attributed to his mother’s love and efforts.
Jennen completed all Suzuki volumes by the age of 12 on piano and 14 on violin, and as an AMEB student, obtained his Licentiate at 15 on violin and Associate at 16 on piano.
Jennen possessed a satisfactory violin technique from an early age, but while studying at the Australian National Academy of Music, was given an opportunity to relearn his violin technique.
Alice Waten, who is known for training many of the country’s finest technical violinists, was immediately aware of Jennen’s flaws, which derived from the inability to understand how he was performing various techniques, and as a result, played with unnecessary tension and movements.
Jennen spent the next two years relearning the violin, beginning with how to hold the violin and bow. He practised slowly and with focus for five hours each day. Finger by finger, he learned all the intricacies of violin technique and found the relearning experience to be invaluable. As a result of relearning as an adult, he can communicate violin technique to his students with ease.
Advice on selecting a suitable violin teacher in Melbourne
Searching for a suitable Melbourne violin teacher can be a difficult task with so many to select from.
Recommendations or word of mouth can be positive influences, however, it’s also important to remember that teachers may be more suitable to particular personalities. Seek teachers who play well, are passionate about teaching and willing to give one-off trial lessons. They shouldn't require you to pay for multiple lessons ahead of time. You want to be able to switch to another teacher at any point if they're not right for you.
A violinist who performs well is obviously a good candidate. Having a reliable technical foundation is important and will allow a student to progress quickly. If students are not taught the most efficient and relaxed way to play their instrument from an early age, they may have difficulty learning more complex repertoire.
A violinist who has won competitions will generally have an outstanding violin technique. However, possessing technique and teaching technique are two different abilities. Prodigious violinists, with a steep learning curve at a very young age, may sometimes have difficulty teaching their technique to others. If a student asks a teacher how to perform a particular technique, the teacher should be able to explain the process in a way that makes sense, even to a non-musician.
A suitable violin teacher should be able to establish a rapport with parents and students, and if applicable, relate well with young children. Parents and teachers should not feel intimidated by a teacher, after all, the teacher is there to provide a service for the student.
Learning the violin teaches discipline and coordination. The desire for music expression as a conciliatory art-form is what a teacher should also inspire in their students.
A smart teacher is one who is open to learning from their students. Ralph Waldo Emerson says “In my walks of life, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him”.
Please contact us if you’re interested in having violin lessons in Melbourne.
Advice on purchasing your first violin
It is not necessary to spend a large sum of money on your first violin.
If you're an adult beginner, you should be able to find a decent-sounding violin for around $600 and bow for $200. If the violin isn't full size, then expect to spend between $100 and $400 for a decent, small violin. It is advisable not to spend anymore than this amount on your first instrument, just in case you decide to put the violin away after a short while.
If you find that you're improving over a few months and have a growing interest in learning, you can upgrade and resell your first instrument.