Ipoh-born Linda Loke Lai Mei started her musical journey at the age of three when her mother sat her down at a piano. Linda proceeded to obtain her grades, Diplomas and Fellowship which culminated in a Licentiate and Professional Certificate from the distinguished Royal Academy of Music London in 1989. One of the greatest musicians, Sir Elton John, was an alumni of the academy. The Professional Certificate allows Linda to teach other aspiring music teachers, design learning programmes and give master classes.
“In my batch at the Royal Academy of Music London, there was another Malaysian candidate but only I passed in the final year. It was not easy to get the Professional Certificate! Another big moment of my life was when I got invited to a garden party by Goats International of International Students House where I shook hands with the patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1987,” she recalled. Even as she obtained her Fellowship from the Trinity College of Music London, she was probably the youngest from Perak when she took it in 1986.
When she returned to Malaysia, she began teaching full time. Back in London, she used to perform both as a soloist and accompanist. With piano being her main instrument, she also plays the violin and does composition in various genres from classical to pop.
What makes her piano classes unique? “As teachers, we are trained to bring out the students’ confidence or interest and we work from there. I don’t force them and let them develop at their own pace instead. I always tell them, if you fail, do not give up. It is not a failure, you treat it as a learning curve to improve further,” she explained.
Currently, her students range from three and a half to over seventy years of age. “Plus, I have working adults coming in to learn music in order to de-stress,” the pianoforte teacher added. The class schedule is tailored to individual students and she does not believe in pressuring her students.
“I will make sure my students appreciate the music. I do not want them to learn just for the sake of examination and certificate. They should play from the heart,” the amiable Linda highlighted.
“For instance, if you give me some numbers, I can assist you to compose and converse in music, which is an international language. Helping people to express themselves freely through music, this is the joy in my way of teaching!” she enthused. Citing Beethoven as her favourite composer, she can compose in a heartbeat!
Interested readers can call Linda at 017 575 0882 for more details. Her studio, with a striking gate painted with black-and-white keys of a piano, is located at 145, Jalan Dato Lau Pak Khuan, 31400 Ipoh Garden, Ipoh.