Talented Tan’s extraordinary focus

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Pianist-violinist Arianne Tan.

CANBERRA is brimming with talent when it comes to classical music, and one of the new bright lights is pianist-violinist, Arianne Tan.

Tan not only has a thriving teaching practice, but she’s been popping up everywhere of late, in a bushfire aid concert, in a Sylvie Stern Memorial Stage gig for the Covideo Virtual Gigfest, where she ventured into more popular music and occasionally playing the “yangqin” stringed instrument with the ANU Chinese Classical Music Ensemble.

Tan, 25, performs regularly in collaboration with the National Film and Sound Archive and has appeared in events hosted by Television Broadcasts Limited Australia, the Malaysian High Commission, Ostar International Media Group and Vivid Sydney as both soloist and a piano accompanist.

On July 24 she won a commendation in the Young Canberra Citizen Awards and is a current nominee of the 7News Young Achiever Awards ACT/NSW and the ACT Multicultural Awards.

A graduate of Yamaha’s perfect pitch course, she’s been studying piano since she was three in her home town of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and came to Canberra to study at the ANU School of Music during the turbulent period from 2013 to 2016. There she was mentored by the late Marretje Ida Sonnenberg-van Wezel, proponent of the “Sound to Symbol” pedagogical approach and decided to stay on.

She threw herself into her new community. 

She’s collaborated with up to 16 schools in leading music bands, instrumental programs and private instrumental lessons and in preparing students for the Australian Music Examinations Board and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music syllabuses.

In 2018, she found herself one of 36 people selected to be part of the ACT government’s Housing Choices Collaboration Hub, responding to the question, “Canberra is changing – and there are many different ways our housing needs can be met. What do we need to do?” Tan assumes they need to have an international viewpoint.

She was invited by Crux Media as a female lead actress for the Hopscotch Films’ short film “Gust”.

Arianne Tan at the keyboard.

Tan is now concentrating on her teaching career in piano and violin, with a casual teaching contract and studio at Canberra Grammar School and another studio within the public school system.

She’s doing a research masters through the University of New England, while marking assignments of undergraduates at the university. She’s also studying with UNE’s Myung-Sook Auh and Pprofessor Jane Fiske in Vancouver under a government training program, looking at how to develop the best practice method for delivering quality music education via videoconferencing.

That’s been raising a few hot questions, because teaching both piano and violin online throws up problems, especially, she says, with violin and piano duos, where time-lapse can occur and when a violinist’s fingers are off-camera. 

On the other hand, she says, “it promotes independent learning, because the pupils have to clarify their ideas in order to tell you what they don’t understand”.

And once she’s finished her masters? 

“I’ll concentrate more on my performance career in both piano and violin and possibly bring my work to Asian countries, but meantime I’m going to concentrate on teaching,” the extraordinarily focused Tan says.

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