Students given opportunities, tools to explore their passion more deeply

I have a 14-year-old son who is pursuing music in the School Of The Arts (Sota).

He came from an all-boys primary school that strongly supported the string orchestra and concert band.

Still, he felt awkward discussing his achievements in dual instruments, and also his interest in theatre, with the other boys.

But in Sota, he flourished with the curriculum of music, theatre and the other subjects, and he enjoys the daily discourse with friends, seniors, and faculty members.

He is now contemplating a career in music but, since he is just 14 years old, I cannot assume that his interests and passion will not change later in life. Whatever the case, he has my wholehearted support.

There is no parental pressure nor disapproval, as hinted by Mr Jeffrey Say Seck Leong (Is arts school needed for students to pursue non-arts future?; May 22).

There are various pathways for him - return to Sota to teach, join the National Institute of Education, or even try for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

These are all variables which mean that, at age 13 (the enrolment age for Sota), investment returns cannot be guaranteed.

I believe Sota gives its students opportunities and the tools to explore deeper into the arts as well as their own talents and passion.

It is careless of Mr Say to draw the conclusion that Sota students take up the arts as an enrichment exercise just because 80 per cent of its graduates do not pursue arts courses in university.

Students at Sota are subject to a gruelling regime in their chosen fields.

Only those who are really passionate about what they pursue are able to withstand the rigours. It is certainly not equivalent to another co-curricular activity.

Bernadette Chow (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2017, with the headline 'Students given opportunities, tools to explore their passion more deeply'. Print Edition | Subscribe