Valerie-Yeo-Harpist-Singapore 2

How did Valerie Yeo, who disliked making music, go on to be a passionate harpist who brings hope through her heavenly melodies? All photos courtesy of Valerie Yeo unless otherwise stated.

For most of her life, Valerie Yeo grudgingly took up music lessons. 

When she was 7, her mum sent her for piano classes.

“It meant being made to stay at home to practise instead of cycling with friends or going to the beach. So boring!” Valerie, now 33, recalled. 

In her teens, she “was forced to join the string ensemble” at school and play the violin.

“I also had to learn about the history of Bach, Mozart and other composers,” said Valerie. “I found it really dry.”

Today, the girl who disliked music spends countless hours on her harp – an instrument commonly associated with angels and cherubs.

So how did the girl who disliked making music go on to be a harpist – one of only a handful in Singapore – passionate about bringing hope and healing through heavenly melodies?

Pentecostal Summit 2023

Big talent, little practice

Growing up, Valerie plodded through piano lessons. 

“I barely practised and did just enough to graduate through the grade levels.”

“The effort I put in was minimal,” she confessed. “I barely practised and did just enough to graduate through the grade levels.”

She would go on to complete Grade 8 in piano, “just finishing it so I can say I finished it”.

In her early teens, she had to pick one elective class in secondary school – either a foreign language or the Music Elective Programme (MEP) that maximises a student’s potential and passion for music.

Valerie wasn’t keen on either option, but joined the latter since she was familiar with music.

However, the programme did little to spark her interest.

Her band conductor quickly noticed that, although Valerie did not practise much, she had a natural talent for music.

Valerie String Ensemble

Valerie (back row, second from right) with her school’s string ensemble after performing at a nursing home. Despite Valerie’s lack of passion, her band conductor identified her as someone with innate musical talent.

“Just before the Singapore Youth Festival competition, my conductor made each violinist play individually to hear how we sounded,” said Valerie.

Impressed by Valerie’s skill, the conductor moved her to the front corner of the violin section – a seat usually reserved for the best violinist.

Instead of feeling honoured, however, Valerie remained indifferent. 

“I went, ‘Oh okay, whatever’. Music meant nothing to me.”


Valerie (middle of the back row) after a hockey match during her years at Temasek Junior College. She threw herself into sports and science and stayed away from music.

After two years, Valerie left the music elective programme, despite objections from her secondary school.

One finger in music

In 2008, Valerie went to the UK to do a degree in chemistry. Afterwards, she stayed on to work at a pharmaceutical company, and completed her Master in Medicinal Chemistry.

During the four years she lived in the UK, she also joined a Christian community. As a lifelong Christian, Valerie enjoyed the close friendships, even as “my own relationship with God was not especially exciting. Just okay”.

Valerie Yeo

Valerie (second from right) on a mission trip with children from the orphanage where she taught English.

While overseas, Valerie’s flatmate offered her an unused electric keyboard. She accepted it out of politeness.

In her free time, Valerie would sometimes – not often – tinker around with it.

Valerie Yeo Missionary

Valerie’s Christian fellowship group hailed from countries like India, Thailand, England, Zimbabwe, Germany and China.

“After passing my Grade 8, I didn’t really want to play music at all,” she confessed.

“But looking back, I think that the keyboard was God’s way of helping me keep at least one finger in music, so that I didn’t give it up entirely.”

Dream of a hedgehog

In 2014, two years after she returned to Singapore, Valerie was asked to join a series of 10 classes on prophetic harp playing.

In the Christian faith, prophetic music is believed to help listeners connect with God’s heart by merging melody with spiritual worship. (1 Samuel 10:5; Ephesians 5:19-20).

Looking inside the pot, Valerie saw an unknown object wrapped in a membrane.

Valerie didn’t know how to play the harp nor was she interested in learning.

But out of respect to her church elder who had approached her, she promised to pray about it. 

Two weeks later, Valerie was surprised by a moment that changed her life: She had a dream that she still vividly remembers today.

In her dream, Valerie was standing in front of a small pot. Looking inside it, she saw an unknown object wrapped in a membrane.

Suddenly, Valerie felt a strong Presence appear next to her.

“Look closer,” the Presence said to Valerie.

Obeying, Valerie gazed deeply into the membrane and saw something living and breathing within.

Hedgehog spines

Hedgehogs have sharp spines that protect them from their natural predators. Photo from Canva.

Valerie instinctively knew it was an animal with many spines. It resembled a hedgehog.

As suddenly as the dream began, it ended, and Valerie woke up.

From dream to reality

Valerie’s memory of the dream was jolted that very morning by a copy of The Straits Times.

On the front page was a photograph of a hedgehog.

Valerie wondered if the remarkable timing was a coincidence, or if it meant something more.

How does a hedgehog even relate to playing the stringed instrument?

Doing some research, she learnt that baby hedgehogs are born with a thin membrane covering them.

How was it possible that she had dreamt about the same thing prior to learning this fact?

Valerie believed that God was trying to tell her something important.

Over the next few weeks, she prayed for further clarity.

She eventually gleaned that the dream was God’s symbolic way of asking her to learn the harp.

But how does a hedgehog even relate to playing the stringed instrument?

“The hedgehog’s spines help to fend off its enemies,” said Valerie. “Similarly, the strings of the harp are like the spines on a hedgehog in the sense that playing the harp in the right setting can help to fend off evil in the spiritual realm, bringing peace to people’s bodies, minds, and souls.”

Valerie Yeo decides

After praying about it, Valerie made the decision to enrol in the harp programme.

This revelation led Valerie to enrol in the harp programme – despite her long-standing lack of enthusiasm for music.

A fiancee’s wish

To many, the link between the hedgehog and the harp may seem tenuous, even strange. 

However, a surprising incident in June 2022 confirmed Valerie’s dream. 

A man she did not know was looking for a Christian harpist to play at his wedding; his fiancee had wanted their guests to enjoy music from the harp, an instrument associated with angels and heaven.

Valerie Beach

When Valerie brings her harp to the beach, strangers tell her how peaceful they feel when they hear her play.

However, the man did not know any harpists personally.

So he asked God for the chance to meet a Christian harpist who would be willing to play on his special day.

While praying, he saw a peculiar vision out of nowhere: A creature with many spines. A hedgehog.

Unsure of what this meant, the man nonetheless made a note of this vision in his time-stamped phone journal.

The man had seen a vision of a hedgehog as he prayed to meet a harpist who would play at his wedding.

Weeks later, his colleague casually told him about a woman named Valerie, who once had a vision of a hedgehog that led her to play the harp.

Shocked by their specific, matching visions, the man quickly arranged to meet Valerie.

When they met for the first time, the man showed her his journal entry. He shared how God had shown him a vision of a hedgehog as he prayed to meet a Christian harpist.

For Valerie, this meeting was a miraculous – and unexpected – affirmation of her dream.

She has since agreed to play at the man’s wedding.

“That’s the most amazing part, knowing how things lined up,” Valerie said. 

“It’s really amazing that God works in ways we cannot imagine.”

Music of angels

Thanks to her musical experience, Valerie was able to master the harp easily.

Learning the harp has radically transformed Valerie’s attitude towards music.

Her learning journey has radically transformed her attitude towards music.

“Before learning the harp, I didn’t find much purpose in making music.

“Now, I have a bigger reason for playing the harp. Each time I play it, my intention is to bring God’s peace to others and to lift their spirits.”

Valerie has seen first-hand how the harp has calmed listeners in places like homes for the elderly and hospitals, which she visits with the Salvation Army worship band and ministry mentor respectively.

Once she was invited to play the harp for a troubled teen who struggled to focus and had trouble interacting with others. 

Valerie Yeo

“Each time I play the harp, my intention is to bring God’s peace to others and to lift their spirits,” said Valerie who has performed for hospital patients.

After months of prayer and listening to Valerie play, the girl’s mental state was dramatically restored. She later went on to complete her degree and now works as a psychologist.

On another occasion, Valerie met a woman in her 60s who was recovering from an operation and was distressed by family troubles.

Hoping to comfort her, Valerie played her an original melody she had composed.

Valerie Yeo Harp Player

Valerie and her harp have brought peace to many patients over the years.

Valerie Yeo Harpist Singapore

Valerie (second from left) and other musicians performing for the elderly at a nursing home.

Now attending Grace Methodist Church, Valerie has travelled the world to play the harp for people on the streets.

The song brought tears to the woman’s eyes.

“Earlier on, I didn’t enjoy music. But now I see how He has gifted me with the musical skills to help people heal.”

She later told Valerie that listening to her play had opened her heart up to God’s loving presence, which gave her the extra faith she needed amid her struggles.

Such experiences have given Valerie a newfound appreciation of God’s plan for her life. 

“I really thank God for the years I spent learning how to play and write music,” she said.

“Earlier on, I didn’t enjoy it. But now I see how He has gifted me with the musical skills to help people heal.

“It’s something I love and have a strong desire to do.”

Songs of hope and healing

Valerie recently teamed up with a friend to release several of her original harp compositions online.

“I ran away from music for a long time,” Valerie said. “But today, my desire is that these songs will help others restore their hearts, minds, souls and bodies and give them hope.”

Valerie, who works in a medical device company, hopes that the harp will one day be formally approved as an instrument to assist with people’s well-being.

To think that all of this began with a dream of a hedgehog.


Ashes to beauty: How God redeemed a 20-year phobia of CNY through calligraphy

“I was a hardcore party animal”: Paid sex, gambling and drinking every night but he was empty inside

Make Loud His Praise: Amplify Podcast SG hopes to be the home of local Christian music

About the author

Levan Wee

Levan Wee is Social Media Head at the Thirst Collective, which includes Salt&Light, and Stories of Hope.