Many aspects to classical music education

I refer to Ms Tan Yulin's letter (Do more to support local Western classical musicians; Oct 15).

My statement that music graduates need to be entrepreneurial, originally published in The Straits Times, has been quoted out of context by Ms Tan (Musicians who go beyond playing; May 24, 2016).

The gist of my message is that, as with all other disciplines today, a classical music education has to empower students to be creative in using their talents to inspire and break new ground, while meaningfully engaging and giving back to the community.

Musicians cannot just learn to play their instruments well and wait for others to support their careers.

A successful international career depends on, among many things, excellent performance skills, which is a given, but also other important skills and capabilities.

Hence, my call for schools, on top of training good musicians, to also empower their students to do more.

I respectfully do not believe this is an appalling proposition.

In this aspect, I believe that the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music has done an important service by creating an environment that encourages its students to thrive and stand out against some of the best in the world, while giving back as well.

In fact, many music schools, including my alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music, a world-class music conservatory, also promote this view and offer their students a course on entrepreneurship and community engagement.

Siow Lee Chin (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2018, with the headline 'Many aspects to classical music education'. Print Edition | Subscribe