About 12,000 high school students will attend live professional concerts until the end of 2024

SINGAPORE – Only one student in a class of 37 raised their hand when Deyi High School music teacher Ho Si Liang asked them if they had attended a classical music concert.

On May 21, as part of an effort by schools to broaden students’ musical exposure, he took his second-grade class to see a one-hour concert led by conductor Jason Lai at the Victoria Concert Hall.

They are among lower secondary students from 22 schools who will attend performances by the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra or the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in May.

Performances will be held at Victoria Concert Hall and Yong Siew Toh Concert Hall.

By the end of 2024, nearly 12,000 students are expected to have attended a live music performance as part of this initiative.

The performing arts-based learning initiative, which was announced at the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) budget debate in Parliament, will be implemented in all secondary schools from 2024 to 2027.

It was first piloted in 2023 in 22 high schools.

A Ministry of Education spokeswoman said the music curriculum was updated in 2023 to place greater emphasis on the experience of music through listening, creating and performing activities.

It also provides opportunities for students to interact with music from local and global cultures both inside and outside of the classroom.

As part of the updated curriculum, students will have the opportunity to attend at least one live music performance produced and presented by local professional performing arts groups, featuring musical pieces by local and foreign composers.

They will also participate in performance-related lessons before and after attending the concert.

The spokeswoman said the program aims to deepen “students’ appreciation for live music performances (and) cultivate their sense of curiosity and pride toward local music, musicians and performance venues.”

It also aims to strengthen their ability to make connections between music learning in the classroom and arts experiences beyond school, he said.

Student ticket costs for these performances are covered by the Ministry of Education and the National Arts Council.

To prepare her students for a concert on May 20, East Spring High School music teacher Clara Sng taught them about performance etiquette and how they should behave as part of the audience at a concert.