Music Education in Singapore Primary Schools

How does music education unfold in Singapore primary schools? If your child is passionate about music, read more to know how to support their interest.

Music education

Fun, learning, growth –– these words describe the journey of a primary school child in a nutshell. These six years are crucial in a child’s life as they set the foundation for their learning. Singapore prides itself on providing a well-rounded education, exposing students to a variety of non-academic subjects. Music is one such subject with its cognitive, social and cultural benefits. 

General Music Programmes in Primary Schools 

In mainstream Primary schools, weekly music lessons expose students to a wide range of genres and styles. Basic elements of music (such as rhythm, pitch, harmony) will be covered through listening, singing and performing, either on instruments (xylophones, recorders, ukuleles) or using technology (music software). Each student’s progress is tracked through individual and group projects, with these learning outcomes carefully scaffolded in the activities. Students are also encouraged to think about music within both the local and global context, being introduced to the folksongs and community songs of Singapore and neighbouring countries.

Music education in Co-curricular Activities –  CCA 

Another way that students can be exposed to music education is through their Co-curricular Activities (CCAs), which commence from Primary 3. Music CCAs range from Western brass or Concert bands to Chinese orchestra, Choir to various ensembles (strings, guitar, harp, gamelan), though the availability of these CCAs vary from school to school. 

Students will get performance opportunities to build interest and confidence in inter-school and intra-school events. The most prominent event in the arts education scene is the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF), an annual Singapore event to showcase students’ talents. These platforms are not only opportunities for character building and the development of soft skills but are also beneficial to add to the portfolio of students for future applications. A student’s journey in his/her CCA can also continue in Secondary school, with it being an advantage to the student’s application if they plan to use the Direct School Admissions – DSA Sec route for Secondary school admission.

If your child is interested in music and you live within the vicinity, you can consider Nanyang Primary School, Maha Bodhi School, Raffles Girls Primary School and Woodlands Primary School. These schools have strong music CCAs that have consistently performed well at the SYF, providing opportunities for students to participate in exchanges within Singapore and abroad.

Music as a means of Direct School Admission – DSA

Under the DSA-Sec exercise, Primary 6 students are able to apply to some secondary schools before taking the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) based on their talent in sports, arts, and/or specific academic areas. Music is one such avenue to increase their chances of securing a spot of his/her ideal choice. Your child’s Music portfolio plays a vital role in getting them through the DSA Sec process.

In order to prepare a solid DSA portfolio, aside from participating in SYF, taking up leadership positions within the CCA will also be a good way for your child to develop leadership skills and enhance application success. In terms of music itself, participating in competitions will give your child an added advantage, on top of improving their performance skills and musicality with the comments provided by the jury. The Le Petit Performers’ Festival is a good starting place, welcoming pianists, string instrumentalists, vocalists, and flautists to join. Other competitions include the Singapore International Classical Piano Competition, the Nanyang International Music Competition, and the Joyeux Music International Festival and Competition. 

In any case, DSA through music can be highly competitive. Schools like Raffles Institution, Raffles Girls’ School, Tanjong Katong Girls’ School, National Junior College, Nanyang Girls’ High School, and Dunman High School have limited quotas through this track. Therefore, it is good to prepare your child early with good foundations and techniques to enable them to advance through the DSA process with excellence and confidence. 

Admission to SOTA via music

SOTA (School of the Arts) is Singapore’s first national pre-tertiary specialised arts school with a six-year integrated arts and academic curriculum, providing students who are serious about pursuing an arts education with ample resources and opportunities to develop. Interested students will only be able to apply through DSA. 

For music, SOTA offers two tracks – a creating and performance track, whereby the formal aims to further students’ potential as music arrangers or composers, and the latter aims to develop students’ potential in performance, interpretation and musicianship. Students keen on creating tracks will be required to submit a portfolio of a video of spontaneous improvisation, a video recording of their playing on their principal instrument, and music scores for those recordings. Performance track students must submit video recordings of 2 performances on their principal instrument. 

Shortlisted applications for both tracks will be invited to attend a panel interview and live music audition, which includes group music activities and group lessons. 

The whole application process typically starts in March and runs till October. For more information, check out their website

Enrichment Schools that can prepare your child for DSA via Music 

There are many music enrichment centres and tutors who can help prepare your child for graded examinations and competitions, which will help increase the success rate of application. However, there are a few music schools and tutors who have programmes targeted at preparing your child for DSA music auditions and tests. 

Forte Musicademy provides piano and violin lessons, with masterclass and performance opportunities every term. Individual lessons include components such as understanding the instrument, repertoire building, technique, finger dexterity, strengthening, and sight-reading. Potential students will be given opportunities to participate in competitions, chamber ensembles and concerts. The academy also provides theory and aural lessons in a group setting that cover singing, dictation, sing and play, rhythm, pulse, ear training and music appreciation. These will definitely be useful in the audition process.  

STACCATO has a wide variety of programmes catering to children from as young as 6 months old, from individual to group lessons, with solfege, instrumental, dancing, music theory and classical music knowledge as the five key sections in each lesson. 

They also have an Elite Program for Young Talent (EPYT) for those who are aiming to achieve an accelerated music education. This program includes weekly individual instrumental lessons and bi-weekly musicianship classes covering music theory, aural skills and other musical-related topics. There are also more performing opportunities for students in the course to attain a higher performance level, with participation in recitals, competitions and masterclasses throughout the year. Students applying for DSA through music will be given 2 sessions of oral preparation for their interviews.

With their team of dedicated and qualified educators, Coronation Music School aims to empower students and instil a growth mindset through music. They provide piano, string and vocal lessons in individual and group settings, along with ensemble coaching, performance classes, concerts and workshops. With the expertise and heart to provide a quality and holistic music education, rest assured that the DSA auditions will be well taken care of. 

Explore Klassbook for more Music Classes in Singapore

To explore more classes, go through our list of music classes here. Why not start with a music trial class to gauge your child’s interest?

Fu Jinxia

A musician at heart and a pianist by training, Lauren Fu is an active educator and performer in the music scene. Having taught a wide range of students from 4 to 60 years old, she strives to inspire others through her teaching and love for music! She believes in the transformative power of the arts and seeks to express herself through various art forms, be it performing, composing, or writing.

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