Julie Tan

Piano Pedagogue and Music Educator

Singapore Music Teachers' Association

Notable Singaporean piano pedagogue and music educator, Julie Tan, enjoys a multi-faceted music ‘passion-cum-profession’ spanning over three decades. Besides nurturing a select pool of private students who gives her constant inspiration to innovate teaching ideas, Julie has had the unique opportunity of lecturing in all three of Singapore’s higher tertiary music institutions, namely Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore (current adjunct lecturer of piano pedagogy; past adjunct lecturer in keyboard skills and research communication), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (lectured and devised the initial piano pedagogy syllabi for diploma and degree programmes) and LASALLE College of the Arts (external examiner and research supervisor for Bachelor program).

Her piano teaching Licentiates were awarded by the Royal College of Music (RCM), Royal Academy of Music (RAM), Guildhall School of Music & Drama (GSMD) and Trinity College of Music (TCM). She was also the first Singaporean to attain the first-ever Guildhall Licentiate Teaching Diploma (Excellence) for electronic organ. She was awarded the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence in her Master of Music Studies at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. She subsequently received the post-graduate paper prize at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education (ANZARME).

Julie’s symposium paper on her doctoral research, “Piano Graded Examinations: Friend or Foe? An Investigation of their Relevance to Piano Teachers in 21st Century Singapore” was selected for publication in the proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education (GIA Publications, USA, 2013). She was invited to contribute a chapter titled, “Policy and Practice of Assessment in Music Education: Case of Singapore” in the landmark Oxford Handbook of Assessment Policy and Practice in Music Education (2019).

Julie’s national contribution to the music fraternity includes authorship of the Singapore primary school music textbooks, “Tune In” (9 reprints) and “My Music Companion”. Published by Pearson Education, these were the only textbooks that were approved by the Ministry of Education for use in all primary schools (2001−2007). She also penned the series, “Let Me Tell You about My Piano Class” (published by Times Media) among other piano-related materials.

Her consultation work with teachers encompasses masterclasses, workshops and adjudication, the latter being the 2019 Korea-China International Music Competition Final Round (Seoul). She has presented at international research and pedagogy conferences including the International Society of Music Educators World Conferences, Singapore International Piano Pedagogy Symposium, Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference and Western Australia Piano Pedagogy Conference. She was invited to be on the international review panel of the 4th International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education 2013, Taiwan.

Under her leadership as president of The Singapore Music Teachers’ Association since 2000, a pro-bono position which she has been re-elected to consecutively, the association has helped raise the standards of teaching and learning in Singapore and the region through successful initiatives such as the Singapore Performers’ Festival & Chamber Music Competition, Le Petit Performers’ Fest and Singapore International Piano Pedagogy Symposium as well numerous workshops, platforms and collaborations.

Also currently serving as National Arts Council Performing Arts External Assessor, Julie has held advisory roles with the National Piano & Violin Competition (NPVC), Singapore International Piano Competition (SIPC) and UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research Education and the People’s Association Talent Advisory Panel (Music), and served as vice-president of the Chopin Society, Singapore. In recognition for her efforts and the introduction and promotion of Dalcroze eurhythmics in Singapore from 2001, Julie was appointed Singapore Dalcroze correspondent for Federation International of Eurhythmics Teachers (FIER). She was also conferred Life Member by Dalcroze Australia for her efforts and in overseeing the inception of Dalcroze eurhythmics examinations in Singapore.

Julie enjoys working with students from as young as three to mentoring teachers. Through constant experimentation, she has successfully developed innovative ideas and effective teaching techniques, allowing her to customize the lessons to suit the needs of each student. With the student centered at the heart of her teaching and her teaching mantra, “to teach is to learn”, her uncompromising ethics as a teacher has not only earned her much respect and admiration, but has also given her immense joy and satisfaction.

Julie’s wealth of pedagogical experience coupled with her entrepreneurship skills in managing then Music Essentials (Singapore’s largest sheet music retailer) together with her husband, Chia Sin Teck, has earned her well-deserved national reputation in the Singapore music landscape.