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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Meet Juanita, founder of Merci Art & Music

How did Merci Art and Music started?
Merci initially started music-teaching from a house at Taman Indah Permai back in October 2011. As the number of students grew, we decided to move to a bigger premise which led us here at Kingfisher Sulaman, Sepanggar.

What type of classes do you offer here in Merci?
We offer both music and art (painting, coloring, sketching) classes. Our most popular classes are piano and vocal. Other instruments taught are bass guitar, drums, guitar, keyboard, violin and ukulele.

What is the price range be?
Our music fees start from RM50 per hour and length of class is flexible. The adult students normally opt for 30 to 60 mins per session whereas younger ones 30 mins - it depends on their levels. Most of the classes are conducted on a one-to-one basis. Free trial classes are also available by appointment.

In your point of view, why should parents have their kids learn music?
More and more studies have indicated that the learning of arts and music accelerates brain development in young children. When a child learns a musical instrument, it develops not only the auditory senses but to a certain extent the psycho motor skills. Most importantly, the child develops the discipline of learning. It’s been said that music is the language of soul but it is more than an artistic expression.

When an expectant mother sings or plays music to her unborn child, she initiates that crucial parent-child bonding. It’s unfortunate that many schools do not recognize music as an integral part of their curriculum or cannot afford to do so. Naturally, one of our goals is to make music education available to all. May I say that even adults can benefit from learning arts/ music as a worthwhile skill or a therapeutic hobby.

Can music be a career?
Yes, why not? I made it mine. My parents sent me for piano classes at age 6 but I only began to love music when I was 13. I graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) and my first job was a secretary in Singapore. Throughout the years I never stopped playing the piano and managed to complete a piano performance diploma (LTCL).

It wasn’t long afterwards that I decided to become a full-time music teacher. When I was 13, a few kids in the neighborhood requested me to teach them piano. I didn’t realized back then that that was my calling. Here I am 30 years later, still happily teaching music.

What is the minimum age to enrol for a music class here?
As of now, we accept kids age 5 and above. However, we are currently training our teachers how to teach students younger than that.

What can parents look forward to from Merci this year?
Definitely music classes for children as young as toddlers. In February I’m due to complete a course in Kod├íly Certificate Program - a method of teaching music which combines singing, body movements and ear training exercises. We hope to get the programme up and running by mid year. 

Another endeavor that we hope will continue to be active this year is the Voice of Merci, our children’s choir for ages 6-12. What better way to approach music learning than through singing!