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Music and performing arts in international schools

Giving your child an early start in the performing arts and music arena offers countless benefits – greater confidence, better self-expression and increased discipline are just a few. With schools picking up on the importance of such programmes, many have incorporated these artistic disciplines into their curriculum. We hear from teachers and students from the top international schools in Singapore to find out more.

UWCSEA

A word from the school: Mark Bradshaw, Head of Music (UWCSEA East)

“One of the unique ways in which UWCSEA enhances learning across our arts curricula (music, drama, dance, film and visual arts) is by having artists share their expertise with our students. Over this term alone UWCSEA East has welcomed Red Leap Theatre from New Zealand to the Drama Department, gamelan musicians from Widhya Asih in Bali and Wedzerai (Wedzi) Zvirevo, a Zimbabwean musician and teacher who worked with both our kindergarten and high school students. These residencies allow our students an insider’s perspective on their craft. That’s something that we teachers can’t give, no matter how much we learn about another culture.”

A word from a student: Shivani Dayal (Grade 10), IGCSE Music student

“Having access to these musicians allows us to ask questions about their culture and experiences. Learning about their personal insights can be very valuable as it helps us to understand how vast the world of music really is.”

UWCSEA
Dover Campus
1207 Dover Road
6775 5344 | uwcsea.edu.sg

East Campus
1 Tampines Street 73
6305 5344 | uwcsea.edu.sg

Canadian International School

cis performing arts
Canadian International School

A word from the school: Megan Hall, Visual and Performing Arts subject lead

“From pre-kindergarten to Grade 12, our students have the opportunity to participate in a diverse range of activities, including drama and musical productions, bands, orchestras and small ensembles. We also participate in many regional events and competitions like the Singapore Youth Film Festival where two of our students recently won best overall film and best acting.”

A word from a student: Noa Angell Boon (Grade 12)

“I’ve just finished performing Sandy in our senior school production of Grease. I’ve also performed in Working and Twelfth Night and in various musical ensembles, talent shows and recitals. One of my biggest highlights was singing on stage with David Foster at the opening of our new school theatre. After I finish my exams next year, I am going to Berklee College of Music (I’ve won a $80,000 scholarship to study a four-year programme). My advice to others is to explore any opportunity while you can to build confidence, as well as gain experience and exposure.”

Canadian International School
(Lakeside Campus)
7 Jurong West Street 41
64671732 | cis.edu.sg

371 Tanjong Katong Rd
6345 1573 | cis.edu.sg

Stamford American International School

sais performing arts
Stamford American International School

A word from the school: Jules Nicholson, Head of Drama and Performance

“Performing arts is imbedded into our curriculum throughout our students’ music journey. We also have a music ensemble program where peripatetic music teachers work with students who are keen to further develop their skills. There are many opportunities throughout the year for students to participate in, such as plays, musicals and concerts in our drama studios or our state-of-the-art, 500-seat theatre equipped with a 60sqm LED screen. We have 5 annual theatre productions, 17 music practice rooms for individual music classes, seven drama studios and eight music rooms.”

A word from a current student: Anaïs Crespin (Grade 10)

“As a young performer hoping to pursue a career in theatre, Stamford American’s arts program has taught me a lot and given me many opportunities to showcase my talents in school productions, arts classes and festivals around Asia. With drama being a subject we learn in school, just like English or Science, I have learnt a great deal about performing and working in theatre. Performing arts is a great way of expressing yourself, especially when you are given the ability to be as creative as you can.”

Stamford American International School
1 Woodleigh Lane
6602 7247 | sais.edu.sg

Singapore American School

sas performing arts
Singapore American School

A word from the school: Stephen Bonnette, High School Performing Arts Department Chair

“Performing arts are vibrant at Singapore American School, with numerous course offerings in art, music, drama, and dance. Apart from an academic visitors-in-residence program that brings musicians, illustrators, thespians, and choreographers to work with students, many SAS students and teachers are chosen to participate in International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) and Association of Music in International Schools (AMIS) honour festivals.”

A word from a student: Shona Graham (Grade 12)

“I have been part of the SAS performing arts community for seven years. Starting in sixth grade, I’ve been in 13 dance performances in total, including an upcoming production, Stolen Generations. Aside from these performances, I have been a member of the Happy Feet program, where high school students teach SAS’s elementary dancers every Saturday. All the visual and performing arts facilities at SAS are unlike any other school and I am so fortunate to have access to these amazing programs.”

Singapore American School
40 Woodlands Street 41
6360 6312 | sas.edu.sg

Dover Court International School

dover court performing arts
Dover Court International School

A word from the school: Patrick Dwyer, DCIS Head of Music and Regional Lead”

“The Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme connects our students to a worldwide network of teaching artists from The Juilliard School in New York.  Facilities include our main Music Room, an Academy for drama and dance, our multi-purpose Cooper Hall and the Juilliard Suite with 24 piano keyboards.”

 A word from a current student: Ryoma (Year 5)

“I play the timpani in the orchestra, the keyboards in rock band and I also sing in the choir. I have performed at many different venues, such as St. George’s Church. For beginners, I think it’s important to be able to play all the standard notes on your instrument. Next, if you want to perform, you must be confident and practise at least four times a week. I recommend the piano, because learning the chords is pretty easy and you can start playing music within a short amount of time.”

Dover Court International School
301 Dover Road
6775 7664 | dovercourt.edu.sg

Sir Manasseh Meyer International School

smm performing arts
Sir Manasseh Meyer International School

A word from the school: Brian Hill, music specialist

“The music program at SMM takes place in a beautiful music room in our new campus.  I offer music and movement classes, which starts in Pre-Nursery. The focus gradually shifts to music alone as the grades get higher. Orff instruments (like xylophones), percussion and ukuleles round out the instrumental portion of the program.”

A word from a student: Danail Valov (Grade 6)

“The music program in SMM is very engaging. In music class, we learn songs from the different time periods and play delightful instruments such as the xylophone and ukulele. The music program also features a school-wide musical every year. Last year I got to play Merlin in the musical Joust and I also got to play King Saul in the musical David and Goliath. For all these reasons my day isn’t complete without music!”

Sir Manasseh Meyer International School
3 Jalan Ulu Sembawang
6331 4633 | smm.edu.sg

Australian International School

ais performing arts
Australian International School

A word from the school: Andre Casson, Principal

“At AIS we cherish music and performing arts as essential elements of a holistic education. With dedicated music programs covering 21 instruments, and a wealth of drama opportunities introduced from early years, our passionate teachers help to nurture young talent and develop world-class performers. This year one of our students received top in the world IGCSE results in Music, which we’re very proud of.”

A word from a student: Oliver Parker (Year 8)

“I’m currently performing in the school production ‘Alice in Wonderland’, playing the character of the White Rabbit. This is the first production I’ve participated in and I am enjoying every minute of it. AIS puts on three productions each year – one for Elementary School, Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary. These productions are incredibly fulfilling giving students the opportunity to participate in a group on stage and showcase their individual ability. AIS is also part of the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA), which allows students to take part in theatre workshops across the world.”

Australian International School
1 Lorong Chuan 
6653 2958 ais.com.sg

Dulwich College (Singapore)

dulwich college performing arts
Dulwich College

A word from a teacher: Katrina Hegarty, Head of Drama

“The school takes part in many competitions and showcases, including the Eisteddfod competition, ISTA festivals, six KS3 drama showcases, school productions and a three-year partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Some performing arts and music activities to look out for are Market of Artists and Designers (MADD), the Shakespeare festival, International Schools Choral Music Society (ISCMS) and Vienna Boy’s Choir trip.”

A word from a student: Nicholas Richardson-Waldin (Year 9)

“Some of the showcases and festivals I’ve participated in include the ISTA festivals, Eisteddfod competition, ISCMS and GCSE Drama. Music and Drama are challenging, but they are a lot of fun. I’ve learnt a lot and also enjoyed meeting people who love the Arts. Dulwich College provides me with many opportunities to be creative. My advice for new students is to choose an activity you really enjoy because the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.”

Dulwich College (Singapore)
71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8
6890 1000 | dulwich-singapore.edu.sg

Tanglin Trust School

tts performing arts
Tanglin Trust School

A word from the school: Helen Owain, Head of Senior Music; Ian Peirson, Head of Senior Drama; Francesca Thomas, Head of Senior Dance

“Music is offered for students of all abilities, with activities ranging from choir and band to DJ club. We also have a student-led resident dance company that runs classes to strengthen the students’ choreography skills and performance techniques in a range of styles. Drama wise, we have both intimate drama pieces as well as big productions. Our visitor workshops in all the performing arts enable our students to learn from professionals.”

A word from a current student: Tim (Year 11)

I attend several co-curricular activities, including the orchestra and the chamber choir. Recently, I went on a one week trip to Sydney. I’m used to performing in large halls, so playing at different types of venues was brilliant. I also play in school assemblies, fairs and at local shopping malls. Performing for a wide range of audiences has really helped to build my confidence. My tip for new music students is to make practising a fun and leisurely activity. Keep up with the theory – it’s an easy way to gain exam marks! Music at Tanglin is like having a second family; I love how a passion for music can connect you with others.”

Tanglin Trust School
95 Portsdown Road 
6778 0771tts.edu.sg/

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