THE two are rivals in a music competition but pianist Soh Ser Yee (main head picture, left), 14, doesn't mind helping her competitor. But then again, she is helping her own brother, Kuan Wei (middle), 11.
The siblings are taking part in the 2007 National Piano and Violin Competition, which is on till Dec 15. They say they feel 'no pressure' from each other.
Indeed, Ser Yee helps her brother perfect his craft at his practice sessions. Both are competing in the intermediate category of the piano section.
The Soh siblings are among 274 competitors this year. In 2005, when the competiton was last held, 276 took part.
Started in 1955 by the Singapore Musical Society, the biennial competition to discover new talent became a higher profile national platform in 1980.
Previous winners include musical talents like Singapore Festival Orchestra (SFO) violinist Seah Huan Yuh.
The piano and violin sections of the competition have four categories each - junior, intermediate, senior and artist.
Competitors will be judged by a panel that includes Paul Pollei, founder-director of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation, award-winning pianist Mary Wu and Stan Kornel, violinist and founder of The Sydney Consort ensemble.
The finals for the artist categories on Dec 13 and 14 will feature the 60-piece SFO accompanying the finalists in their performances of violin and piano concertos.
Kuan Wei topped the junior category in the piano section two years ago. The Primary 5 student at Pei Chun Public School says: 'I want to show the judges that I enjoy the music. It's not so much about winning.'
He has been practising three to five hours every alternate day.
They are not the only pianists in the family. Their elder sister, Yeng Lin (right), 15, also plays. Their father, Mr David Soh, 49, is an engineer, and mother Diana, 46, is a primary school teacher.
Ser Yee, a Secondary 2 student at Raffles Girls' School, sits in on Kuan Wei's practice sessions and often gives him advice. She says: 'It's about composing yourself and getting into the mood of the competition.'
Asked if he helps out at her practices, Kuan Wei says: 'I just listen to her play but I don't really help her. She's better than me.'
Catch the 2007 National Piano and Violin Competition at the Alliance Francaise at 1 Sarkies Road and the Esplanade Recital Studio from today to Dec 15. For the competition schedules, log on to www.nac.gov.sg/npvc Admission is free for the preliminary rounds for all categories and the finals of the junior, intermediate and senior categories. Tickets to the finals of the artist categories and prize presentation ceremonies cost $10 and are available from Sistic (http://www.sistic.com.sg/; tel: 6348-5555).