Meet Dr Yvonne Ho of Charteris Music School in Camberwell
Article posted: March 29, 2021
A medical doctor and a music educator, Dr Yvonne Ho is uniquely placed to understand music as health.
The Music Director at Charteris Music School in Camberwell, Dr Ho sees music education as more than simply learning the instrument. It is also great brain training.
“Associate Professor Anita Collins writes ‘music education grows, hones and permanently improves neural networks like no other activity’,” Dr Ho said.
“This applies not only for children, but for adults as well, which is why adults also seek us to help them with music. Additionally, we find that retirees who are interested in successful brain ageing also attend our classes.”
Sparking musical passions
Dr Ho’s journey to Charteris Music School has been an unusual one.
“I’m unique because I have established parallel careers in music and medicine – the two loves of my professional life. I obtained my music qualification while I was still at school and have been a music educator ever since.”
Dr Ho’s understanding of and passion for music is passed on to the students at the Camberwell school.
She has loved all types of music from a young age and performs in orchestras, choirs, and bands – even virtually during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Charteris Music School has been in Camberwell for almost 10 years and Dr Ho loves being part of the community.
“Camberwell is a family-centric suburb. There is much community spirit and everyone is really friendly,” Dr Ho said.
The school offers a range of programs, from beginner to advanced, from group to individual classes, from leisure to exam grade or performance streams.
“We are agile and flexible, and our students find our classes fruitful and engaging,” Dr Ho said.
“We also have our masterclasses and our unique multi-children, multi-part, multi-piano ensemble which our students have performed publicly for many years now, including at the Arts Centre Melbourne.”
The school also offers a choice of in-person and online classes.
Something for young and old
Dr Ho is a firm believer that age is no barrier to beginning or returning to a musical education.
“Our students’ aims are varied, and we try our best to help everyone be music-literate and gain a music education in an enjoyable setting,” she said.
“We have numerous adult and retiree students too. Our syllabuses are age appropriate. We use different music books and different techniques for different age groups.”
A philosophy of Charteris Music School is that music learning is all about optimising life at any stage of it.
“Our music school is well-poised to help all individuals who are interested in optimising their own life or their children’s lives,” Dr Ho said.
“In addition, for children, music education also gives the child a taste of real-life adulthood, such as learning how to care for yourself, how to be a team player, how to deal with disappointments, how to celebrate success and other aspects of life.”
Dr Ho said the parent of a young piano student at Charteris Music School summed it up well when asked why she paid money for lessons and gave up so much time taking her child to lessons and performances.
“She says: ‘I don’t pay for piano; I pay for the opportunities that piano provides for my child to develop attributes that will serve her well throughout her life and give her the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen, music can do this for many, many years, and well into old age, which I think it is a great investment’.”
Visit the school
Camberwell Uniting Church: 314 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell
Camberwell Baptist Church: 460 Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn East