Interviews Stories

Mikkel Myer Lee: Piano Prodigy, Homeschooler

Homeschooling experiences are incredibly varied; ask any two people how and why they homeschool and their answers will never be the same! Advantages and disadvantages of different education paths vary so greatly from child to child, parent to parent and family to family. Homeschooling provides many with the opportunity to tailor their childrens’ educational career to their individual needs and abilities. This unique flexibility allows for many gifted children to reach their full potential. This freedom includes the agency to spend the extra time needed to research complex topics and develop talents to their full potential. Examples of homeschooled athletes include Maria Sharapova and Selena Williams.

Among our midst, nine-year-old Mikkel Myer Lee has demonstrated immense musical talent. He has performed in Mozarteum in Salzburg and Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York, twice!

Maryam Kiyani interviewed Mikkel’s mother, Felina Seah, about her son’s journey with homeschooling and playing the piano. Felina shares how homeschooling has facilitated Mikkel’s artistic development and the unique approach her family has adopted to conducting his education.

HSSG: When did Mikkel first show interest in music?

Felina: It was at the end of K2 when there were many hand, foot and mouth disease cases in his kindergarten. We decided to keep him at home and bought a second-hand piano to entertain him. Within weeks, we realised that he could playback the keys he heard. We realised this one night when his father played a game with him. He could play back anything he heard without looking. That was how he started his journey playing the piano.

HSSG: How and why did you decide to homeschool Mikkel?

Felina:  We decided to apply for homeschooling at the end of Primary Two for Mikkel. He loves music and was always practising the piano for more than 8 hours a day. We felt that homeschooling was best for Mikkel as it allows a flexible and customised way to meet his educational needs and for him to pursue his passion (which is piano) seriously.

HSSG: How has being homeschooled benefited Mikkel?

Felina: Oh, it has benefited Mikkel tremendously! Firstly, Mikkel is a fast learner so he can learn at his own speed and accomplish more as he loves learning. Secondly, he is a serious little pianist who spends a considerable amount of time practising piano and homeschooling allows him to do so while ensuring that he is physically well-rested. It’s an ideal way to ensure that his educational needs are met and that he pursues his passion unrelentingly at the same time.

HSSG: How do you juggle performing and schooling while homeschooling your son?

Felina: Mikkel is a very disciplined child. He sets his own goals and targets and breaks them into small daily objectives and follows them strictly. He ensures that he completes his school-related learning in the stipulated time and then dedicates himself to practising to prepare for his performances. Sometimes he does not sleep until he achieves the goal that he set for himself or until he is satisfied with how his practice has progressed. 

HSSG: What advice would you give to parents considering homeschooling their children to help them pursue their passions?

Felina: If you have been thinking about it and also understand the challenges and constraints, the pros and the cons, then, go for it! There is a lot to prepare for this journey but it is very fulfilling and so worth it! What I appreciate the most is how we are able to support Mikkel in following his passion deeply. We especially like how Mikkel does not have to be moulded in the standard system and be allowed to explore his passion and creativity to become the person he should be.

HSSG: How is Mikkel taking to homeschooling? Has he ever expressed to you that he feels he is missing out on activities or experiences of children his age?

Felina: Wow, Mikkel loves homeschooling and the fact that he can have more time and energy for the piano. 

No, he has not (expressed feelings that he is missing out). By nature, he is a rather reserved boy. The only reason he had enjoyed his previous experience in primary school was that there were four pianos in the school. He has never been one who would run to the school field during recess breaks and would turn down his friends’ invitations to play. He would rather be practising at the piano. However, he stays very deeply connected with two friends that he has known since he was a toddler. He does many activities with them – from going to Pulau Ubin to watching Children Play at the Esplanade. He bonds greatly with them, experiencing fruit picking and going on a learning journey on mining while in Australia.

Since he was young and before Covid, he has been travelling every two months. Despite being registered to a kindergarten, he hardly attended it. He has been accumulating fun and priceless experiences as he travelled extensively around the world. We are strong advocates that the world is his classroom instead of confining it to a traditional one.

HSSG: How long do you intend to homeschool Mikkel? Do you have any plans to enrol him in any specialised schools to pursue formal musical studies?

Felina: We intend to homeschool him all the way. This is more suitable for his needs and future development. We have intentions to enrol him in specialised schools to pursue formal musical studies in future and we are moving towards this intention and direction.

Image credit: Felina Seah

Homeschool Singapore is honoured to celebrate with Mikkel’s family on his upcoming solo piano recital. He will be performing on the 24th of February 2022 at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Swing by at 7:30 to witness his gift LIVE! Tickets are available on his website.

To learn more about his journey, visit Mikkel Myer Lee on Facebook, visit his website or follow @mikkel_piano on Instagram.