Talented: Pei Shan practising the piano under the guidance of her music teacher Mary Yoon, 53. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network
WHILE she dreamt of playing on a grand piano one day, Teo Pei Shan, 15, did not know how to do so until two months ago.
The shrunken teenager – she has an unknown illness that stunts her growth and makes her reliant on machines to breathe – performed on the piano in front of some 560 people at a charity concert at the School of the Arts in Dhoby Ghaut yesterday.
She is among two of the five beneficiaries of a new programme that offers free music lessons to youth with disabilities who took to the stage.
Her father, taxi driver Teo Qi Kuang, 55, said: “We are very proud of her. We never expected that she would be able to perform after only two months of lessons.”
She is being trained by the Beautiful Mind Music Academy, which was started last month by the three-year-old Singapore chapter of the Beautiful Mind Charity (BMC).
The international group, with offices in the United States, South Korea and Hong Kong, reaches out to the underprivileged through music.
Under the new programme, professional musicians give children aged between eight and 19 at least 24 free, one-on-one lessons a year.
Each child is provided with an instrument, such as a keyboard, flute or violin.
This is the first time that the BMC’s annual Beautiful Concert featured beneficiaries in Singapore.
Previously, musician volunteers and their disabled students from BMC South Korea flew in to perform with BMC Singapore’s 12 musician volunteers.
The other local performer is Samuel Lim, 15, who has a permanently damaged tongue, throat and vocal chords from an acid attack.
Each of the two previous concerts raised between S$20,000 (RM51,762) and S$25,000 (RM64,703), and BMC said it is looking to raise a similar amount this year. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network