New local music school has Mandopop star Wakin Chau on board

SINGAPORE – The Songwriter Music College (TSMC), a new music school backed by regional Mandopop music practitioners, aims to nurture a new generation of songwriters, singer-songwriters and music producers with its diploma courses.

The school is a partnership between Singapore-based producer of films, television and online content, mm2 Asia, and home-grown music company Funkie Monkies.

Both companies signed a memorandum of understanding at the school’s new premises at The Yards, an education space located at the former Telok Kurau Primary School, on Wednesday (Oct 31).

TSMC’s industry advisory board includes Mandopop veteran Wakin Chau. In a video screened at the signing, he talked about how the school will be staffed by music industry professionals who will impart practical lessons to its students.

He said in the clip: “When you are making an album, it is never solely about how good your music theory is, it requires real life experience, that is actually the most valuable.”

Funkie Monkies (FM) founder Eric Ng says that the school is awaiting approval from the Committee of Private Education for its diploma courses and is expected to start taking in students next year. Currently, the company’s training arm, FM Pop Music School, offers enrichment classes with no diploma certification.

Ng is a music arranger, composer and producer for top stars such as A-mei, Sandy Lam and Tanya Chua.

He runs Funkie Monkies together with two other Mandopop veterans, lyricist Xiaohan and producer, singer and songwriter Jim Lim.

The Telok Kurau space will conduct classes for FM Pop Music school, which has trained students whose music has been picked up by singers such as Stefanie Sun and Angela Chang.

Ng says: “TSMC will be three times as big (as FM Pop Music school) and our grand vision is to bring more Singapore music-makers into the world.”

Students will be encouraged to write multi-genre songs in both English and Chinese.

The music industry is an ecosystem, where “back end” talents like songwriters and producers are equally as important as “front end” talents like the singers, he adds.

The students, who can enrol in either a one-year full-time, or a two-year part-time diploma course, will benefit from Funkie Monkies’ and mm2 Asia’s global network.

They can tap mm2 Asia’s expertise in movie-making, concert production, and cinema operation. The company has produced hit films like the military-themed Ah Boys To Men titles, subsidiaries that include Cathay Cineplexes and a majority stake in major events and concert production company, Unusual.

Says Ng: “When the students come in, it is not just for the education but we also provide career opportunities.”

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