Not many of us would give up a comfy five-figure salary to start our own music school. But Ivy Toh-Tan, 41, had no qualms about doing just that.
In 2012, the petite mother of one quit her job as an assistant vice-president at Coutts Bank to start rock music school Studio 72 and form an all-female rock band, Rock Rosettes.
Despite spending the previous five years in banking and the 14 years before that in hospitality with established groups like Banyan Tree, Ivy seized the chance to fulfil her childhood dream.
"When I was a little girl, I wanted to play the drums, but my mum thought it was uncouth - it was a noisy instrument and you had to sit with your legs apart - so I played the piano instead," says Ivy.
It wasn't until her girlfriends asked her to join their weekly drum lessons in 2009 that her interest in drumming was reignited. The result? She fell madly in love with it again and was the only one turning up for lessons four weeks later. She also rented a set of drums and soundproofed a room in her terrace house, so that she could hit the toms as much (and as hard) as she liked.
So great was Ivy's enthusiasm that she sacrificed her weekday lunches for one-hour private lessons three times a week, over the next four years. There was simply no other time, recalls the busy ex-banker who worked from 9am to 6pm and had to entertain clients after work. Weekends were also out of the question as they were reserved for her then four-year-old son, Matthew.
Making the switch
In 2012, Ivy was planning to move to another bank when a comment at the dinner table changed everything.
"I remember casually telling my husband that I would be happy if I could spend time playing the drums daily," says Ivy. While she didn't take her own remark seriously, her husband did. He encouraged her to start a music school so that she would have more time to play the drums, and also get the opportunity to share her passion with other mature students. "If you don't try, you'll never know," he said.
To read the rest of this article, get a copy of the May 2015 issue of Her World, Singapore’s No.1 women’s magazine. Her World, published by SPH Magazines is available at all newsstands now.
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