Read Time: 9 minutes

And here’s the fourth episode of the Empower Your Life segment! This segment aims to bring motivation, encouragement, inspiration, and positivity toward the direction you’ve wanted to achieve for a long time. 

In every guest, I want to tackle or discuss as many relatable as possible to bring learning, great tips, life hacks, and, most importantly – how they keep themselves optimistic in these challenging times.

Let me share with you how it brought my attention to the Guzheng musical instrument – (GΗ” means ancient, and zhΔ“ng means zither). I love music; I love anything related to music; it can be the artist, the history, and most importantly, the instrument. For someone like me, who is always fascinated with people who can play musical instruments, and then get to know someone who plays not just an ordinary instrument but a traditional one – that’s a big WOW. We are talking about one of many Chinese traditional and considered the most popular musical instruments. This instrument can be considered the equivalent of the piano in Western music. I found this link helpful in understanding The Guzheng History

On top of her playing a very traditional Chinese musical instrument, she’s also a teacher or a coach for the same instrument, so much brings me a high respect for her. I always admire teachers not only for their skills but also for their passion, dedication, and, most importantly – patience. Salute!

So, let’s talk about this wonderful lady ‘Aziel Khoo.’ I met her thru Grace Ng (Co-Founder of Lenicc). Check out my interview with her >> A Sight so Beautiful with Lenicc if you haven’t read my blog and watched the video πŸ˜€.

From there on, I was impressed not only by her talent for playing Guzheng Instrument and being a music instructor but also by sharing the same values.

So, Aziel Khoo; started learning Guzheng in her school as an extracurricular activity at 13. When she first saw this instrument, Aziel fell in love immediately. In fact, she looks forward to school because of this Co-Curricula activity. She started with a just passion for it. She achieved a Guzheng Grading of 7 from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa)-Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing (CCOM) after 1 year of learning it. Subsequently, moving on to finish her Diploma Grading in Guzheng. It developed into a career as she worked with her mentor Mdm. Cui JingYi started up a Guzheng Ensemble in Singapore – Han Tang Chinese Guzheng Ensemble. Since then, Aziel has embarked on her journey as a music coach to continue spreading Traditional Music’s joy.

She also shared how being a music instructor helped her students build or improve their self-confidence – this is also part of her value she believes and wants to share and build community – to help other ladies or women with low self-esteem. Besides being a music coach, she also started doing online business with cosmetics and beauty products, which we will tackle briefly during the interview.

So without further due, let’s watch my Zoom interview with Aziel Khoo.
The video was taken pre-Christmas time, and I have already moved out of Singapore then – now to Spain (just for your info πŸ˜€).

P.S. Behind the music background on this video was actually Aziel’s I have edited a bit to compliment the Zoom interview πŸ˜€

Here are the Key Takeaways from this Interview:

Teaching Strategies during Pandemic (works for both Music or Non-Music Teacher)

  • Making a video after the lesson. In the interview, Aziel shared that she would then record herself playing the instrument after the lesson she had online. Along with that, she will also explain the technical sides to ensure everything will be covered and the students will be able to practice by themselves using the video(s) that she shared.

    This approach also works the same way for the non-music teacher; whatever course or subject you’re teaching, you may share with your students things you’ve noticed during the online session that they’re having a challenging time understanding. Apart from the homework, they have their own self-learning thru the video you’ve shared.

  • When materials are so limited, be creative! Aziel mentioned that most of her students in government schools wouldn’t have their own instruments to practice at home (that’s tough!). She then asked her students to take or get any item they could find at home to practice their rhythm. She put an example by using chopsticks, imagining the student is playing drums – to practice the rhythm. Not only will it distract the students from keeping on thinking about not having the Guzheng instrument at home, but it also teach them that not having an instrument at home doesn’t mean – the student is unable to progress.

    The same goes for the non-music teacher; whatever course or subject you’re teaching – they can think of an object or any item that easily be found at home as their sample to work on or expand their imagination related to the subject/course you’re teaching.

  • Communicate with your students and know their needs. It can be more challenging to communicate with your students during this pandemic, but as Aziel mentioned, ‘be patient.’ The more the teacher gets to know the student, the better and more effective teaching will be. Another part is that; we all want to feel important, especially during this time, and so do the students.

  • Be Optimistic! ‘COVID-19 causes a lot of inconveniences to people, but that doesn’t stop from giving us more opportunities as well.’ – Aziel shared.

    We don’t know what the future holds, but it’s important to be optimistic, especially for teachers. By now, I am sure music and non-music teachers have already found other ways to be effective and attentive teachers. If not, I hope this video will give you valuable takeaways.

Importance of Keeping Traditional Music Instruments Alive and Values it Give

– Encouraging new generations to learn traditional musical instruments will help them build patience, determination, and confidence.
“Patience plays a big part because learning a new skill is not easy,” – shared Aziel.
It requires commitment, dedication, and ample time.

– Learning or playing a traditional musical instrument also helps promote personal and social values. As for Aziel, it gives her fulfillment when her students start to progress. And as for the students, their self-esteem starts to grow when they see themselves starting to progress. Building both sides’ sense of achievement.

– Listening to your favorite music makes you calm, what more when you can play a traditional musical instrument πŸ’–. ‘It helps you learn the breathing techniques that lead to strengthening your mental health,’ – Aziel added in the interview.

– Last but not least, you understand ancient history by playing or learning traditional musical instruments. Learning the culture behind the history. And continuing what our ancestors started makes you even more proud to bring it forward.
‘It’s a pity if we slowly lose touch or let go’ – Aziel shared.

7 Things to Know Before Starting An Online Business

  1. Understanding The ‘Why.’
    If you have already read my last episode Empowering Designers with Business Coach Claudia – Claudia covered ‘The Why section’ from the Golden Circle (Simon Sinek).
    – Aziel also repetitively mentioned that understanding ‘why’ you’re doing the things you want would bring clarity, motivation, and determination for you to keep going. Your idea will easily disappear without it, or you will lose interest. Knowing ‘Why’ we’re doing something will guide us to adjust our methods and strategies to achieve our goals.
    Aziel shared her ‘Why’ she is building this online business – with no intention of earning money but mostly hoping to promote a community to boost self-esteem and encourage one another, especially the ladies.

  2. Have a Strong Foundation of Core Values
    This principle goes as well with understanding your ‘Why.’
    Values are the essence of who we are and what we want to achieve in life. You can call it your ‘guide’ to track or assess whether you’re on the right path. If you have a strong foundation of your core values, you’re building a strong structure and ideal life you want to choose or a business you want to build.

    Important questions to ask yourself when identifying your core values:
    a. What do ‘values’ mean to me?
    b. What’s most important in my life?
    c. What motivates me or drives me into action?
    d. What does success mean to me?

  3. Gather Your Market Audience
    We’ve tackled knowing the students’ needs in music topics; it applies when starting an online business as well. Aziel shared that she was once a consumer of the product she’s currently selling, and she understood as a consumer what those common questions her potential customers would ask. But that didn’t stop her from gathering her market audience, as this will help her understand her customers and bring more impact to the marketplace.

  4. It’s Not Going to Be an Easy Journey
    “It’s not going to be a one-way success journey,” – said Aziel. By having this mindset, not only do we feed our brain that every good result takes time, but it also allows us to keep going and motivate ourselves to make progress each day. We’ve always felt inspired to follow successful people, but we tend to lose sight of how much effort, time, dedication, and so on – these successful people have gone through to reach that goal.

  5. Be Consistent and Patient
    Understanding that this journey won’t be easy requires consistency and patience to get in the direction you want. Considered one of the most effective behaviors or attributes for success (in my opinion).
    Aziel shared that she lost money when she started this online business, but that didn’t discourage her; instead, she kept going because she knows this is part of the journey, and she’s embracing and learning from it.

    ‘Be consistent and patient towards your goal.’
  6. Distractions are Real
    We can never ignore or run away from it – we must face that it exists. This doesn’t mean we have to entertain these distractions but rather plan our tasks accordingly. Always stick to our goals and remind ourselves to use our time wisely. This also implies sticking to your ‘Why’ and Core Values, which Aziel mentioned in the interview.

    ‘All of the distractions can exist without your attention – Focus’
  7. Don’t Give Up Easily, but Know when to move on.
    It’s normal to give up easily, especially when things get tough and it’s out of our comfort zone. We are wired for an instant reward or instant result – this is the reality and what’s happening in our modern world.
    I think if we dug into all the behind-the-scenes stories from successful people, we would know that ‘Giving up” doesn’t seem to exist in their mindset. The same principle applies to Aziel. When she knows what to start, she will persist.
    Reminding ourselves “why” we started it and “how much” we really wanted to do it – will bring our focus and purpose back. Picturing ourselves to the ultimate result will bring our excitement back on keep going. There are just a thousand reasons to keep you going; you always have to find that way.

    But this doesn’t mean you can’t give up either – things to consider when giving up like; running out of cash, running out of options, affecting your mental health, and so on. Regardless of the result – you will still learn.

    The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do – Kobe Bryant

How Do You Keep Yourself Optimistic?

Embrace your own emotion, mix or surround yourself with like-minded people, learn to say ‘No,’ and have personal space to grow. – Aziel

Embrace Your Own Emotion
In the video, she explained why it’s important to embrace your own emotion – each of us is unique, we may have some same patterns, but we have different ways of dealing with our own emotions. Like how Aziel put, an example when she’s feeling down; she gives herself time to heal to feel better if sleeping the whole day will bring her energy back, she’s okay with it.

Don’t be afraid of how you feel; listen to what your body, mind, heart, and soul is telling you – a piece of advice from a stranger or a friend of yours might be helpful or serve as a guide, but by the end of the day, you; yourself can only tell what works for you. Be honest to yourself; speak your truth.

Mix/Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
This should sound familiar to you. πŸ˜€
To grow and improve our life, we need to surround ourselves with like-minded people.
These are the people who will understand the journey that you’re taking. We need people who will help us push to achieve our goals. But we also have to understand that these people might not be our friends or family members, like how Aziel initially started her music career – her mom was skeptical. And this is fine; each of us has our own reasons – but that shouldn’t stop us from pursuing it.
Surrounding ourselves with like-minded people doesn’t have to be about career moves. It can be for personal growth or interest that will bring more positivity, productivity, and improvement in our lives.

Learn To Say ‘No’
It’s not easy – we must remember why we’re saying ‘No’ first. Focus on what’s important to you and what your priorities are. As they say, you have to say ‘no’ to others, so you can say ‘yes’ to the things important to you that will bring value to your life. Simply remember, we can’t please everyone.

Personal Space to Grow
‘Humans are just limited; we can’t keep giving without recharging’ – Aziel.
Personal space protects us from stress, helps us keep focused, and helps us reconnect with ourselves. When we invest in ourselves, we learn new things about ourselves and how to deal with our lives. And this will lead back to having positive energy and being ready to face the world again.

This blog post is also a way of sharing the value of keeping the traditional musical instruments and appreciation to all of those teachers who have constantly worked so hard, especially during this pandemic, to bring the students to their maximum potential. “Thank you.”

That’s a wrap! An interesting, much learning, and inspiring talk I had with Aziel. I hope this episode has been valuable to you. if so, I would appreciate it if you share what you’ve learned with your friends or comment below. Or if you find it inspiring, or it could be anything, I would happy to read it πŸ˜‡.

To see or watch more of Aziel’s music covers, visit her IG account: Azielbeloved. As for her skincare/cosmetics online business, do visit her IG account: DVZbeautystop. Do follow or subscribe as well πŸ˜€

If you know any solopreneur/entrepreneur who newly started their business with a great story behind it, share the same values, and will be a great addition to this segment. Let’s connect. πŸ˜€

Stay safe, share love, be kind, and focus on the positive side until next time!πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Video with the use of Zoom. Primary filter used and portrait mode thru iPhone – to enhance the quality of the subject. The majority of the photos and videos are owned by Cindy Marie and Aziel Khoo
DISCLAIMER: All rights reserved to the owner of other photos (Tool Photos)β€”no copyright infringement intended in this article.

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