I started on the violin at the age of seven. It was a group class organised by the Nanyang Primary School and as there was little to no personal attention given by the teacher, I never developed any interest in the instrument. The instructions given were very much textbook,and I basically just cruised through,never practising at all but still passing all the exams. This very much was the state of affairs all the way through Grade 8.
The watershed moment transpired in the midst of a music camp organised by the Singapore Youth Orchestra of which I was a member when I was fifteen years of age. I heard several members practising for their appearances in the national music competition and was captivated by the sheer thrill and panache of these players and the music they were rendering; due to the bareboned syllabus my own teacher provided me,I had before then never been privy to music and playing like that. I was mesmerised and thus began my life-long passion in the pursuit of this wonderful instrument-the violin.
Although I had been the principal violist of SYO and obtained my licentiate(diploma) from the Trinity College in London when still serving my national service,I was never fully comfortable with the instrument and after one year of university abroad, I opted to return to Singapore and teach at the Suzuki School of Music. Due to my insecurities as a result of being too self-critical and my former lack of a through-the-mill foundation, I started my quest to build the perfect technique and voraciously absorbed both literature and opinions from visiting artistes and colleagues. It was also then that I began to really take to teaching the violin and demanded the same of my students.
I left Suzuki in 2000 to start teaching from home and left Singapore in 2003 for the States to continue my training in performance. Whilst there, I had the opportunity to access rare pedagogical literature by some of the best teachers and also rebuilt my technique from the ground up. My ideas on teaching were mutating and I realized the efficient from the inconsequential and tested these ideas on the students I had there with very good results. Teaching for me then blossomed into another passion and I returned to Singapore with a mission: to teach and produce world-class students who could naturally play well and were technically sufficient for whatever it is they wish to pursue in music.
I had been teaching full-time from home in Singapore since 2006.
Mr Yeo has just been appointed visiting professor to Beijing