In our series on getting to know the music instructors from Ritmo Music Studio, we spoke with Zhengjie to find out how he began his interest in playing the drums and eventually teaching it.
How and when did you discover your interest in music?
As a child, I was drawn to the music I heard around me. I listened to songs I liked on repeat. Before going to bed I would listen to the CDs my mother bought me, and later on, the radio which my sister would always have on.
What was the first musical instrument you learnt?
The first musical instrument I learnt is the drums. As it was logistically difficult to practise playing the drums (due to the size of the drum kit and noise) in a flat, the first instrument I bought was actually an electric guitar.
When did you discover your interest in drums and percussion?
I discovered my interest in drums when I was in secondary school. I found myself playing the drumming game in the video game arcade. I liked the feeling of hitting things to the rhythm of the music. So, I decided to take up lessons to start hitting real drums.
Treading a career path in music isn’t a conventional choice in Singapore. How did you get into teaching music and did you get discouraged by your family and friends?
My parents initially had reservations when they learnt of my intention to pursue music as a career. But over time, they saw that it was a path worth taking despite the difficulties and unconventional choice in choosing music as a career in Singapore.
Who inspires you most as a musician?
The students who appreciate the process of striving to improve their music playing inspires me as a musician. They remind me of the joy of learning. Taking tiny steps towards consistency goes a long way to gaining skills as a musician.
Who are your favourite musicians? What attracted you to their music?
My favourite musician is Vinnie Colaiuta. He is an American drummer who is able to play in many genres. His approach to music is something I align myself with, I admire his mastery of the instrument and the ability to meld both thought and technique - it is something I strive towards.
How did you start your teaching career at Ritmo Music Studio?
Jennifer gave me this opportunity to teach at Ritmo Music Studio when I completed my studies.
Is there any new musical instrument you would like to learn?
I’ve been wanting to learn to sing harmonies! I really admire how vocalists are able to support a melody and make it that much more beautiful.
What would you say to someone who is keen to start a music career like yourself?
My advice would be to set tangible targets, and work hard!