Aureus Academy – making music a joy

Since her first lessons last month, six year old B has quickly entered into her second month of piano classes, and she’s been really enjoying every session!

She was given this cool backpack, and we bought the very cheery Lesson Book A, which is chock full of interesting exercises that Teacher Ann goes through with her in class, and which we revise at home. It comes with a CD full of songs to accompany the exercises in the book too.

It’s not uncommon for us to find B at the piano right after she wakes in the morning, practicing her favourite pages of exercises! She’s so keen on it that we don’t usually have to ask her to practice, since at least once a day, she’ll walk to the piano to tinkle out some tunes.

Granted these are still early days, and the tunes are very simple, and not too demanding. Nonetheless, I’m glad for the positive start!

I think it’s important to get the basics right, like firm fingertips, singing along in tune, learning how to read basic notes… And this month, B has started learning how the duration of crochets, minims and semi-quavers relate to one another, and she enjoys telling me about what she’s learnt after every class.

She has also built up a great rapport with Teacher Ann!

I’ve also since found out a little more about Aureus Academy. So here’s all the research in one place, if you’d like to understand more about this music school before deciding whether to enrol your child in it.


Early Days

Aureus Academy started conducting classes in Delfi Orchard with only five studios and five staff but they soon had a steady 100 students attending. Before long, through word-of-mouth recommendations, their enrolment blossomed. Barely after a year, one of their students’ parents approached the founders, since they were so impressed with how the school was run. Eventually, Aureus Academy received a significant seven-figure investment from this group of parents who are also prominent investors in Singapore.


Contributing factors to success and expansion

With that vote of confidence and significant financial boost, Aureus Academy was able to quickly expand, within 3 years, to seven centres with 61 studios, four concert halls, 90 full-time staff and some 3,000 students. In June 2016, it also signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) to provide employment opportunities to NAFA graduates. I think it’s wonderful that it is contributing to creating jobs in the Singapore economy in this way!

Co-founder Lawrence Holmefjord-Sarabi mentioned in an interview that they didn’t expect to come so far so fast. But having done so, their vision is to grow a much larger presence in Singapore and, eventually, overseas. Specifically, the founding brothers have set their sights on Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia. Exciting times ahead!

I thought it was interesting that he mentioned that franchising was not an option they would consider, since their priority is not to sacrifice quality for the sake of growth. That is certainly very wise, since franchising can bring in big bucks really quickly, but it just makes it a lot harder to maintain close oversight on each centre and how each franchisee decides to run it.


Unique aspects of their studios

Lawrence mentioned that as a performer, he very much encourages students to perform as it builds confidence and character. This is why Aureus has specially designed recital halls at their centres in Orchard and Rochester, which is rather unique for a music school in Singapore.

Students are given regular opportunities to perform for an audience of all their friends and family, and we are certainly looking forward to watching B’s first performance.

Photo credit: Aureus Academy

Great customer service

What Aureus has going for them is great customer service. I was impressed from the start by the prompt and friendly service I received at the front counter every time I came by with a query. Even via email, replies are sophisticated and cheery.

I also appreciate the fact that not only are prospective students entitled to a free trial lesson with a teacher before enrolling, students only need to commit to lessons a month at a time, rather than by a school term. Since Aureus Academy is all about the love of music and performing what you’d like, exams are optional. Hooray.

Ease of re-scheduling lessons

A number of my friends with kids attending classes at Aureus Academy have shared that one of their favourite aspects of the school is how easy it is to reschedule lessons.

Kids these days have so many things going on in school, be it CCAs or school events. Other times, there are weddings or birthday parties or other family gatherings that get in the way of lessons. At Aureus, I have experienced myself that rescheduling the next make-up lesson is quite a breeze.

This is mainly because Aureus’ teachers are all full-time staff, with many teaching slots available. In addition, lessons can be easily rescheduled on the school website’s live scheduling system.

Testament to how highly the school prioritises customer service, is the fact that there is an entire video on student policies by co-founder Julius Holmefjord-Sarabi on their “About” page. In a snappy 2.5 minutes, one gets a good overview on how to reschedule make-up lessons, when to make payment, how the deposit works and what notice period is required for cancellation of a particular class (24 hours) or termination of classes (one month, after which the deposit will be returned). This is certainly much simpler than ploughing through pages of fine print.

Instrument rental service

I find it particularly thoughtful that Aureus provides an instrument rental service (piano, drums, guitars), so that students can practise at home with a quality instrument without needing to invest significant sums right from day 1. This will be helpful especially for children who are not sure whether they really want to learn a particular instrument.

I think this cuts down a lot of hassle for parents, many of whom take the plunge to purchase a piano for thousands of dollars, only to have to try to sell it at a loss, or to have a white elephant collecting dust in the house, after their kids decide that they really have no interest in pursuing piano playing.


So I would say, it’s certainly worth considering Aureus Academy, if your kid has expressed interest in picking up a musical instrument or taking vocal lessons!


Aureus Academy


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For enquiries, call: +65 6235 6488

Note: Thanks Aureus Academy for sponsoring B’s lessons for the purpose of this review!

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