NAFA is the first and only tertiary institution recognized by the Ministry of Education, Singapore that offers a Chinese Instrumental Studies programme which provides specialized and professional training culminating in either a diploma or bachelor’s degree. Known for its stringent course of study and high standards, the Chinese Instrumental Studies programme is highly regarded by those in the music industry.
The programme offers all major Chinese instruments and students are supported by an illustrious faculty made up of principal musicians from the Singapore Chinese Orchestra and other internationally-renowned pedagogues. Apart from working with their Principal Study Lecturer on their major instrument weekly on a one-to-one basis, students also participate in a variety of ensemble rehearsals and classes. Ensemble and orchestral work is key in building camaraderie amongst the students, and for them to gain a better understanding of life as a professional musician.
As a result of a longstanding and ongoing collaboration with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, NAFA students receive opportunities to work with and perform alongside industry professionals in its concert series. The programme also maintains close partnerships with all nine major conservatories in China, most notably the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in Beijing at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Degree students spend 10 weeks at the CCOM in Beijing under the International Placement module; NAFA and Shanghai Conservatory of Music have also recently established a Chinese Music Cultural Centre, the first such collaborative project by the conservatory with a foreign institution outside of China.
Under the direction of its Head of Studies, Mr Sunny Wong, numerous exchange programmes have been facilitated in recent years. Students have visited institutions and universities in China and Taiwan on study trips and performance collaborations. These experiences have deepened students’ understanding of Chinese music and culture, as well as expanded their knowledge on the many different styles of both traditional and contemporary Chinese music.
Students of the Chinese Instrumental Studies programme have also enjoyed much success in competitions locally and internationally, in both solo and ensemble categories. Upon graduation, many students have joined professional Chinese ensembles and orchestras both in Singapore and abroad, and have made notable contributions to Chinese music.