A Melodic Journey: Finding Harmony with the Viola - Dr. Yeo Jan Wea's Tale

In the enchanting world of music, the path to becoming a professional musician is often paved with passion and pivotal moments. This week, we turn our spotlight to Dr. Yeo, a loyal and devoted customer of Gramercy Music, who has found his musical calling with the viola. In this exclusive interview, Dr. Yeo shares his story of dedication, inspiration, and the deep resonance of his beloved viola.

A Serendipitous Encounter

"My journey with music began in the heart of Singapore, where I had the privilege of playing in the Singapore Youth Orchestra (SYO) as a violist," Dr. Yeo begins. "The orchestra's performances were not just musical events; they were moments of pure fulfilment. I was hooked."It was the stage, the camaraderie of fellow musicians, and the exhilaration of a well-executed concert that fueled his decision to pursue music as a career.

Choosing the Viola's Soulful Embrace

Why the viola, you might wonder, amidst a symphony of other instruments? Dr. Yeo shares a serendipitous twist in his musical tale. "I started my musical journey with the violin at the tender age of 8. However, destiny had something unique in store for me."At the age of 14, he was invited to play as a violist in a Chinese orchestra, which rehearsed and performed in the old National Theatre of Singapore. With no viola of his own, he borrowed one from a fellow orchestra member, and this experience proved transformative."The deep and mellow tones of the viola resonated with me on a profound level," he explains. And so began his love affair with this enchanting instrument.

Influential Figures and Unwavering Support

Behind every accomplished musician, there are mentors and supporters who shape their journey. Dr. Yeo acknowledges several key figures who have left an indelible mark on his path."My mother has been my unwavering source of support in my pursuit of a musical dream," he says, gratitude filling his voice. "Ms. Vivien Goh, the conductor of SYO, taught me the discipline and dedication required to succeed in this demanding field. Professors George Taylor of the Eastman School of Music and Robert Dan of the Michigan State University School of Music were my guiding lights, imparting the tools of the trade that have made me the successful violist I am today."

Teaching: A Symphony of Growth

Beyond performing, Dr. Yeo also finds deep fulfilment as a viola teacher. "The best part of being a teacher," he shares, "is witnessing my students grow, not just as musicians but as better individuals."This commitment to nurturing the next generation of musicians is a testament to his dedication to the craft and his passion for sharing the joy of music.

Challenges of a Full-Time Musician

Like any career, a life in music comes with its challenges. Dr. Yeo candidly reveals, "There's simply never enough time to do everything I want to do." The pursuit of perfection and artistic growth is a relentless journey, one that demands dedication and time management.

Singapore's Vibrant Music Scene 

Reflecting on the local music scene in Singapore, Dr. Yeo is brimming with optimism. "The local music scene is more vibrant now than ever before," he declares. "And I believe it will only continue to flourish as more individuals choose music as their calling."His hope for the future resonates with the belief that music can continue to unite communities and elevate spirits.

Harmony Beyond Music

Beyond the world of music, Dr. Yeo shares his diverse interests. "I find balance through weight training in the gym," he says, "and I've been practising martial arts for over 30 years. Aikido and Chinese kung fu have become integral parts of my life, with a black belt in Aikido and even gold medals in Tai Chi tournaments."This multifaceted individual embodies the harmonious balance of strength and grace.

Pre-Performance Rituals

When it comes to battling performance nerves, Dr. Yeo employs a unique set of rituals. "I turn to deep breathing exercises and the art of calligraphy," he reveals. "With my trusty fountain pens, I find solace and focus before stepping onto the stage."

Looking Ahead

As for the future, Dr. Yeo's goals are simple yet profound: "I love what I do, and I hope to continue doing it for as long as I can."His commitment to music and the viola is unwavering, and his journey is a testament to the power of dedication and the joy of pursuing one's passion.

A Note of Gratitude

Before we conclude our conversation, Dr. Yeo leaves us with a heartfelt note of appreciation. "The Paolo Vettori viola that I bought from Gramercy has truly elevated my playing to a different level," he says." It's a testament to the importance of quality instruments in a musician's journey." In the end, his story is a testament to the power of music to transform lives, and his journey serves as a beautiful melody in the ever-evolving symphony of life.

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