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[来!TalkwithDF #2] Do you have to pay big money to study Music?

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

We are back with another episode! In this episode, we discuss about the music scene from the perspective of the musician. For those who are looking or have considered pursuing music more intentionally, this one’s for you!

Keep reading on, as we hear from our host Glen Ng, and guests Derek Koh and Eugene Toh about their own music journey. You may find out more about our guests here!

Derek Kho’s professional profile:

Eugene professional profile:


1. What are the differences and similarities learning music locally or internationally?

All guests agreed that an international education provides a greater breath of exposure for individuals. In Singapore, the music market can be limited, constrained similarly by its geographical profile of being a small city state (which is the equivalent to one of the 50 towns in the United States).

Derek, who has an international education in New York, USA, shared about the increased competitiveness and greater opportunities that are presented in that space. However, a trade off would be the school fees. A masters degree in the US could cost around USD$40,000, an equivalent of approximately SGD$54,000. This also excludes costs of daily living, which generally tend to be higher as well. On the other hand, Eugene, who self-funded his Diploma in Singapore at the National Academy of Fine Arts shared that his overall tuition fees were comparable to attending the United Kingdom‘s Royal College of Music. That being said, local education offers greater financial support in terms of scholarships and/or bursary for its citizens.

2. If I’m just starting out in the industry, what are some affordable or no-cost alternatives I can look at to still be able to learn music?

There are a multitude of options available! Our guests recommended to begin by joining a community of individuals who share the same interests as yourself! This could be an ensemble or performing group, where you could learn alongside like minded others. You could also tap on online resources such as YouTube to self-learn.

However, opportunities to refine your personal and technical skills may be limited. At some point in time, it may also be helpful to hire a professional tutor, as it will greatly accelerate your learning.

3. How should we learn music and hone our craft?

Making music takes hard work and effort! Eugene dedicates 30 mins of focused practice daily, and Derek suggests recording and reviewing your own tapes! Focus on aspects such as your technique, sound projection, espcially if you’re learning new instruments!

2 Insights

1. What are the advantages of paying to learn music?

Learning professionally saves you time given that there is a structured curriculum and close guidance. It also provides you with certification, which may be necessary in certain settings. A caveat however, I’d that certification may not accurately reflect your musical abilities.

2. Advice for those who may be looking for a mid-career switch into the industry?

Take it slow! It may be a challenging journey, given that the arts is a rather niche field. However, focus on improving your skills slowly through daily practice, setting the right foundation for your skills, and invest in classes to improve yourself (within your financial abilities, of course!)

Stay Tuned!

Drum Feng has a new Masterclass series which may interest you! In this series, we invite practitioners in different fields to teach and share about their art forms.

Learn about the Frame Drums and get hands-on with basic playing techniques to kickstart your Frame Drum experience.

Date : 23 April, Saturday

Time : [Session 1] 6pm - 7:30pm | [Session 2] 8pm - 9:30pm

Venue : Drum Feng Studio

1 Straits Boulevard, #11-03A, Singapore 018906

Ticket Price : $30

Bundle of 2 : $55

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