Jazz, pop music added to O-level syllabus

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said the O-level music syllabus has been revised to include these new areas of study, on top of the existing Asian music and western classical tradition.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said the O-level music syllabus has been revised to include these new areas of study, on top of the existing Asian music and western classical tradition.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Students will also learn about musicians, such as local veteran Jeremy Monteiro: Ong Ye Kung

Secondary school students who are musically inclined now have opportunities to learn more about jazz, pop music and music in multimedia.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said the O-level music syllabus has been revised to include these new areas, on top of the existing Asian music and Western classical tradition.

Mr Ong was speaking at the finale concert for the Lion City Youth Jazz Festival at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre near Shenton Way yesterday.

He told the gathering: "Jazz will be featured in the O-level syllabus, and within jazz, (students) get to appreciate all the sub-genres.

"They get to learn about the music and the musicians, such as Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck and Jeremy Monteiro."

Mr Monteiro is a local jazz veteran and the executive director of the Jazz Association (Singapore).

Mr Ong added: "That will be our approach across all the arts subjects.

"In literature as well, you don't just learn about Shakespeare, but also (local playwright) Haresh Sharma.

 
 

"In art - as in painting - you don't just learn about Leonardo and Monet, but also (influential first-generational Singaporean artist) Liu Kang. We will always feature local art form in our syllabus now.

"It's a coming of age for Singapore, both understanding ourselves and our own art form, and I think that's the right way to go."

The Ministry of Education said the changes are to better cater to students' diverse musical interests and backgrounds.

The ministry said: "Students will also be able to draw more connections and links from a richer spread of musical contexts through listening, creating and performing."

These would open up new possibilities in the post-secondary and tertiary musical pathways for students and boost career opportunities in the creative arts sector, the ministry added.

The new syllabus is offered to students in the four-year Music Elective Programme, two-year Enhanced Music Programme and the two-year O-level music course at the upper-secondary levels.

The first year of examination for these students is 2020.

Mr Monteiro said: "It is a joy to be able to witness the growth of Singapore jazz through the years and to see how it is being strongly integrated into the music programmes in our education system.

"The Jazz Association (Singapore) is glad to play a part in raising the level of jazz excellence in Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 19, 2019, with the headline 'Jazz, pop music added to O-level syllabus'. Print Edition | Subscribe