Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described it as “the universal language of mankind”, while Beethoven dubbed it “the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life”. But whatever music means to you, one thing is clear - everybody likes it in one form or another and its true powers are perhaps still to be discovered. We spoke to My Musical Studio
founder Tricia Buser about how Hong Kongers young and old can enhance their lives through music.
Tricia Buser has been performing for as long as she can remember, whether as a toddler serenading less-than-impressed family members from atop the kitchen table, or touring the world in her early twenties in leading roles with mega musicals Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Superstar and West Side Story. But since the native Filipino decided to start a family in Hong Kong just over five years ago, her passion for the arts has seen her move from centre stage into a different kind of spotlight.
In late 2012, Tricia set up My Musical Studio (MMS), a Wan Chai-based facility that hopes to install the joy of music, theatre and dance in Hong Kongers of all ages. From the Starshine Factory for creative kids to the After Six sessions for stressed out executives, there’s a world of hands-on arty fun for all.
It is often said that singers grow on trees in the Philippines, but Tricia believes there is a reason for the abundance of musical talent in her home country.
“I think that because the Philippines is a Third World country, we use music to bring us joy whenever we’re going through hard times. We always know we can come together and sing to lift our spirits,” Tricia told Localiiz. “Even now when I have a bad day, I just start singing and it takes me out of that mood. It doesn’t solve your problems but it makes you feel better about life.”
While Tricia sees the centre’s adult classes - which include musical theatre, ballet, hip-hop and party dance – as an antidote to the high-stress nature of the Hong Kong rat race, she hopes that her work with children will help the next generation find more balance in their lives.
“Growing up with musical theatre gave me the confidence to know that I could perform in front of an audience, be it of 2,000 people or just one,” said Tricia. “When I set up My Musical Studio, the idea was to see my own children and other children benefit from the experiences I had.”
But besides the clear benefits in confidence and creativity building, Hong Kong’s hyper competitive parents will no doubt also be pleased to hear that scientists are now backing up what Tricia instinctively feels: music is one of the best vehicles for learning in early childhood development.
Kindermusik for example, the world’s leading music and movement programme for young children, is said to aid early literacy via phonological processing learnt through song, encourage spatial-temporal and reasoning skills required for maths and science, and improve fine motor skills through dancing and playing simple instruments. A national study of preschool children in the US also found that children who had undertaken the brand’s ABC Music & Me curriculum scored an average of 32% higher on literacy tests than those who did not.
MMS offers several certified Kindermusik classes for children up to three years of age, all of which parents attend. The Sign & Sing programme, designed by leading experts in sign language for hearing children, is particularly popular as it is known for easing the frustration between parent and child.
“When the child can communicate more effectively it makes life easy for the parent, as you know what they want and how to sooth them,” said Tricia. “These classes are also a great way for people to bond with their children, as what you learn at the studio can be carried on at home. It’s repetition and reinforcement, and that’s when you see the real progress.”
To find out more about the programmes for both adults and children offered by My Musical Studio, call +852-3665-0700 or email via their Localiiz profile page.