Music Back



Importance of Music as an Art and Academic Subject

Throughout world history, across both time and space, music has played a crucial part in many cultures and people’s lives for its tradition, artistic value and entertainment qualities. Recognising music’s merits in these areas, it is common in Singapore for many parents to sign their children up for piano classes, violin classes, drum classes and etc at a young age. Not only do these music classes teach children instrumental skills, they also provide opportunities for children to learn values such as cultural appreciation through music, determination in mastering musical expertise and more.


As such, acknowledging the importance of Music as an art and academic subject, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has offered the Music Elective Programme (MEP) and the Enhanced Music Programme (EMP) in some schools. These programmes are available in Secondary School and require the potential student to go through a selection process where they will take part in a listening test, an aural test, an audition and an interview. Having completed either programmes, students will then take the GCE O-Level examinations for Music or Higher Music.


Therefore, music tutors are available for both music classes (ie piano, violin etc) and for students taking music as an academic subject (MEP and EMP) in schools.


Difficulties in Mastering Musical Skills in Piano, Violin and Etc

  • Common difficulties faced by children starting out in learning a musical instrument would be a sense of frustration and lack of patience to master precise hand movements especially if the child is a beginner. This lack of guided practice may even result in the child having a weak foundation in the musical instrument they are learning.


  • Another issue children face would be their unfamiliarity of musical notes and theory. This inability to read and understand musical notes will cause the learner to be unable to follow specific songs or performances when practising.


Benefits of Having Professional Tutors for Piano, Violin and Etc Classes

  • A private home tutor will be able to set a strong foundation in skills needed to master the musical instrument of choice and at the same time provide guided practises that allow for muscle memory to set in, making it easier for the child to play the instrument with more familiarity and confidence.


  • Furthermore, with the second opinion of a home tutor, tutors are able to point out the mistakes that may have been overlooked by the performing student. With this attention, the student is able to learn, change and improve their technique with immediate effect.


Common Struggles Faced when Studying for GCE O-Level Music/ Higher Music 

  • Given the academic rigour of the programme, students have to be knowledgeable in the content of music from history and across the world. From Western Classical music to Asian music, they may have a lack of exposure to different varieties of music due to the breadth of ground to cover in the syllabus.


  • Additionally, not only is theory tested, students need to perform well with their instrument of choice. In order to do well in the performative segment of testing, skills and confidence are required to master and display one’s musical techniques to the examiner. If one lacks the practice needed behind a performance, it will likely show to the examiner during the testing process.


Benefits of Tuition for GCE O-Level Music/ Higher Music

  • Having a Music home tutor to provide a breadth of knowledge to the student, this allows the student to revise content outside school hours to ensure that they are not left behind academically. This way students are able to fully absorb knowledge at their own pace and time with the private home tutor as a mentor.


  • Extra practice time is absolutely necessary for a music performer to be skilled. Thus, a Music tutor will be able to guide the candidate, allow them to perform to their highest potential and also correct their mistakes according to the demands of the Music/ Higher Music curriculum.

Secondary School Music/ Higher Music

Source: MOE's Music Curriculum Concept (page 9)


As according to MOE’s Teaching and Learning Syllabus for Music seen in the Music Curriculum Concept above, the syllabus seeks to inculcate musical comprehension and knowledge through listening, creating and performing. In these processes, context, discourse and experience create the background in which students engage with Music as a subject. Therefore, as mentioned by MOE, the Music syllabus is shaped to teach students 3 understandings- firstly, music expresses human experiences and values, secondly, music connects individuals and communities and, thirdly, music is shaped by historical, social and cultural contexts.

GCE O-Level Music

Source: GCE O-Level Music Syllabus (page 9)


Given that the total grade weightage is separated into 3 papers of different skillsets, the students would need to be versed in both theory and practical. In paper 1, students would be tested on Western Classical Tradition, Jazz, Popular Music and Asian Music where they are evaluated through multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, brief explanation questions and melody/ rhythm dictation tasks. In paper 2, students are to complete coursework and reflection notes where their creativity is evaluated. Lastly, paper 3 is a performative work by the student along with reflection notes.


GCE O-Level Higher Music

Source: GCE O-Level Higher Music Syllabus (page 13)


With paper 1, 2 and 3 similar to the above GCE O-Level Music syllabus, students taking the GCE O-Level Higher Music paper would need to take an extra paper of their selection.


In both the GCE O-Level Music and Higher Music examinations, students are tested on a wide range of abilities. In order to cover all grounds, a Music tutor will prove helpful to lead students to reach their best potential in their journey through musical mastery.


Contact Nanyang Academics Today!

In conclusion, the academic rigour of listening, creating and performing not only require the student to be versed in musical content and theory but also in the skills needed to master their musical instrument of choice. At Nanyang Academics, we recognise the importance of a professional and holistic private Music tutor to guide the student to success. So whether your child is looking for a piano tutor or a GCE O-Level Higher Music tutor, contact Nanyang Academics today for all your tutoring needs!