Exploring Classical Guitar Teaching with Seth Chiow

Exploring Classical Guitar Teaching with Seth Chiow

Step into the enchanting world of music education as we embark on an extraordinary journey, delving into the minds and hearts of guitar teachers who inspire and ignite the passion for music in their students. 

From his humble beginnings as a metal and punk enthusiast to his unexpected love for the classical guitar, Seth's passion for music knows no bounds. In this exclusive interview, we delve into his inspirations, his teaching philosophy, and his unwavering commitment to his student's musical growth.

Read on us as we unravel the secrets behind effective teaching, the joy of creating music, and the invaluable benefits of structured learning. Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and take your guitar playing to new heights.

Hi, I'm Seth, and I teach classical and acoustic guitar courses here at Yamaha Music School. You can catch some of my playing on my YouTube channel, Seth Chiow - YouTube.

My guitar journey began in secondary school when some friends brought guitars to school. We were really into metal and punk at the time, and I was captivated by the cool and relatable sounds. So, I decided to take lessons to learn more.

I can't quite recall if it was the fees or my desire to try something different from my friends, but instead of opting for electric guitar lessons, I took the plunge and signed up for a group classical guitar course at Yamaha! Looking back, I'm grateful for that decision because it sparked my deep interest in playing the classical guitar.


How long have you been in the education industry and Yamaha school?
I’ve been teaching part-time on weekends before I decided to go full-time, I think it's been 14 years with Yamaha!

What inspired you to become a teacher?
I’m always thankful to my teachers, the wonderful Mr Jeffrey Ang and virtuoso Mr Ernest Kwok. Mr Jeffrey Ang made lessons interesting and gave his students chances to perform as an Ensemble and in a band setting, with an external club he managed, it was really enjoyable! Mr Kwok is one of the best classical guitarists in Singapore and he is always so inspiring in his playing and teaching. Seeing them enjoy their work as teachers gave me great affirmation to be a teacher!

How is the process of becoming an educator like?
There are many! But in general,  I feel it is important to be prepared for lessons. Make sure you have the right materials, follow up on previous lessons in the short term and work towards a longer-term goal. That would mean understanding and managing students’ expectations, encouraging them and sometimes pushing them out of their comfort zone, of course making lessons enjoyable!

I also believe in self-improvement, to continue practicing as much as one can, so students can see your efforts too. Also keep updated with what’s new in the music world whether it's mainstream, your instrument or genre, great players, to see if it's transferable, and possibly teach it to students. Mainly just enjoying the process of teaching, some students may take a longer time to master some things and some shorter. So be patient. In the end what matters is that they enjoy the same love of music I have, the joy of creating music, and hopefully continue to play for the rest of their lives!


What are some of the benefits of learning Guitar at Yamaha?
Yamaha Guitar Course has a strong syllabus and systematic pedagogy to get students from beginners to advance levels. It also covers all techniques used in classical guitar, along with well-curated repertoires, making learning fun and productive.

What are the different popular examinations available at Yamaha?
We have progressive exams for both the classical and acoustic guitar.

What added value would the course provide for someone who has self-learnt his/her guitar online?
The Guitar course is comprehensive to help fill in the gaps if something was left out during the learning process. It definitely saves more time learning in a more structured and progressive manner and It is also beneficial to get qualified feedback on their playing, be it correcting some techniques that may be more optimal for playing or learning how to interpret a piece of music differently.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years' time as a Teacher?
I hope to learn more about music, guitar and hopefully pass it on to more students!

How do you motivate yourself and work towards the goal?
Listening to music and consistent practice, and I find taking classes with master players helps a lot, and have a different perspective of teaching the same materials.

Juggling between work and passion, how will you balance accordingly?
Having a sort of schedule helps, time for practice and family and teaching is all important.


Any Guitar models do you recommend for students? 
C40 is a good entry-level guitar and is time-tested. For students who want more value for money, CG122MS or CG122MC (the difference is the wood used, Spruce and Cedar for the top) is a good choice. For intermediate-advance students, GC22S or GC22C is a good model, it's a full solid guitar and has a clear and balanced sound.

Any advice for future aspiring Guitar learners?
Guitar is a challenging instrument for beginners so don’t give up easily, I firmly believe most can play with time and good instructions. Keep listening to music to stay motivated, have a consistent practice schedule and keep learning!


Our exploration of the enchanting world of music education and the inspiring journey of Seth Chiow, a dedicated guitar teacher at Yamaha Music School, has been truly enlightening. From Seth's personal guitar journey to his passion for teaching, we have gained valuable insights and key takeaways.

Seth's commitment to his craft and his gratitude towards his own teachers have shaped his teaching philosophy. He emphasizes the importance of preparation, understanding student expectations, and creating an enjoyable learning experience. Seth's dedication to self-improvement and staying updated with the latest trends in music ensures that his students receive the best instruction possible.

Yamaha Classical Guitar Courses stand out for their strong syllabus, systematic pedagogy, and comprehensive coverage of classical guitar techniques. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced player, these courses offer a structured and progressive learning experience that fills in any gaps left by self-learning. The qualified feedback provided by experienced instructors is invaluable in refining your skills and interpretation.

Now, it's your turn to step into the enchanting world of Yamaha Classical Guitar Courses and embark on your own musical journey. Discover the joy of creating music, unlock your true potential, and experience the benefits of structured learning. Take the first step today and join Yamaha Music School to unleash your musical talents!

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