Beautiful Mind Music Academy Story
Teo Pei Shan
Remembering Teo Pei Shan, Beautiful Mind Music Academy’s First Student
Pei Shan was the first batch of students to be enrolled into Beautiful Mind Music Academy on 25 January 2014. She started receiving free piano lessons customised to her needs at her home on 13 February 2014 under the tutelage of BMMA’s music teacher and musician, Dr Mary Yoon. Prior to joining BMMA, Pei Shan was receiving keyboard lessons from her family friend since the age of eight.
Beautiful Mind Charity, through BMMA only got up close with Pei Shan for three short years but the bonding had been most endearing, encouraging and extraordinary, especially for her piano teacher, Mary who had been working closely with her all this time. Pei Shan’s mother, Florence, shared “Little did we realize the audition was the golden key that unlocked a whole new chapter in Pei Shan’s life”.
Teacher Mary remembered Pei Shan as a little shy young lady, 16 years of age at the time she came for her audition. What captivated her most at the time was Pei Shan’s passion for music that was mirrored in the sparkle in her eyes when she played the keyboard.
On her very first concert on 19 April 2014, while waiting for her turn during the concert rehearsal Pei Shan and her mother, Florence were fascinated by the grand piano. As the teachers were setting up the keyboard, Florence remembered that it was Pei Shan’s dream to play on a grand piano so she asked Pei Shan whether she would like to touch it. Pei Shan eagerly replied yes and started to play a small part of a music piece. Teacher Mary heard her playing from afar and quickly came over to ask if she was keen to give the piano a try. Amazingly she made her first debut successfully with the grand piano. That first miracle led to more miracles when Pei Shan performed her piano pieces at BMMA’s concerts in 2015 and 2016, and at SPD’s Charity Show in 2015.
Florence unfolded to us Pei Shan’s journey with BMMA in her pursuit of music. Piano lessons which initially started with once a week was gradually increased to twice a week in preparation for the 2014 concert. Barely two months to prepare for the 2014 concert, Pei Shan had looked forward to every piano lesson, practised diligently for many hours before every lesson, and reassured her mother she was not nervous about the upcoming performance. Her parents were “pleased to watch her become more self-disciplined and determined in learning music”.
At her first performance in 2014, Pei Shan surprised her family with her ability to perform on a grand piano and exuded in them great pride when she performed so calmly and with such confidence. In her duet with Teacher Mary, her favourite cousin grinned widely and inwardly celebrated Pei Shan’s joy as it resonated with her own first stage experience. Florence knew it was a great night for Pei Shan as she clapped her tiny hands and said to her “Mummy, I am happy. I want to play for thousands of people”. For her family though, it was a bundle of nerves, pride and joy that they will long remember and cherish!
In her pursuit of music Pei Shan also faced certain challenges. While playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, she was initially unable to reach the upper keys given her short arms and fingers. Undaunted, she trained hard to overcome this setback and eventually succeeded in reaching those keys. This piano piece was one of the three she performed excellently during BMMA’s 2016 Concert.
Pei Shan’s favourite piano pieces were Gospel songs, and these were featured in all her concerts from 2014-2016. Her faith had kept her joyful and thankful.
Despite her rare medical condition that had robbed her of her growth and the ability to walk or breathe on her own, as well as her many painful episodes of associated medical complications and interventions during her lifetime, Pei Shan showed her love and care for other children with disabilities. After picking up professional piano skills from BMMA in 2014, Pei Shan took another bold step of performing at SPD’s Charity Show in 2015 to support the cause of SPD.
Pei Shan’s greatest dream was to visit Korea and be given the opportunity perform at the Vision Concert organized by BMC Korea with Teacher Mary, and to meet Yiruma, a Korean composer and pianist. As she loved the song “Kiss the Rain” by Yiruma, she had requested Teacher Mary to teach her play the music piece. This music piece was planned for Pei Shan to play at BMMA’s progress concert in November this year. She was yet to master the whole piece of music when she passed away on 19 July. Sadly and regrettably we were unable to fulfill that dream for her.
BMC and BMMA are glad we had the opportunity to play a part in Pei Shan’s life and in her musical journey. We cherish fond memories of her and the inspiration she left for us to carry on our work to benefit more children who need our help, care and love.