Looking for ideas on new skills you can pick up during this circuit breaker period? Hear from four Singaporeans on the new things they’re learning during this period, with some tips on what you can do should you decide to pick up a new skill too.

Pick up an instrument

Mindy Tuan, 33, didn’t let the COVID-19 outbreak derail her plans to go for music classes. Rather than heading to a music school as she had originally intended, she enrolled in an online Udemy piano class instead.

With a routine in place to practice in short sessions every morning and evening, she has set a goal to learn to play three songs – Lean on me, Home, and Yesterday (the latter two picked by her husband and friend). “Having these goals keeps me focused and excited” the fitness coach shared.

Tip from Mindy: Find it hard to sustain your interest for long? Be patient, get into a routine of short but frequent practices, and set achievable, short-term goals.

 

Jasmine Loh taught herself how to play the Kalimba, a small handheld “thumb piano”, all by reading a manual, and playing around with it without the use of a music sheet. The 33 year-old homemaker even recommends it for children, as it isn’t a loud instrument. The next challenge for her? Learning to bake with a rice cooker.

Tip from Jasmine: If you have kids, rope them into the learning process too, for an all-round family activity.

Learn something that’s helpful for your work

Learning doesn’t stop when school does. Gabriel, 19, used his free time at home to learn Python programming, as he enjoyed coding from his experience in school, and thought it would be helpful in his future schoolwork and career. The Singapore Polytechnic engineering student picked it up by using a variety of free online tutorials and exercises. For aspiring coders, he recommends considering a paid course, especially if you have no prior coding experience.

Tip from Gabriel: Free courses are useful, but you may have to cross-reference a few resources. If you’re a complete beginner, consider paid courses, which generally have good course structure, learning materials and support for students.

Get started on a craft project

When she found herself running out of candles and did not want to travel out unnecessarily to buy them, Priya Raja, self-employed, took to making her own. She did her research online, reading and watching tutorials. “It’s exciting to learn something you’re passionate about, and apply it practically – in my case, learning the science of making candles” said the 24 year-old. She is now working on perfecting her candles with different scents and designs, and is even planning an e-commerce business around this.

Tip from Priya: If you wish to avoid travelling around to find craft supplies in stores, crafters sometimes sell ready-made starter kits online, which may be helpful especially if you’re new to it.

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