Music teacher Ng Sheh Feng is on a mission to make music accessible to all, even for visually impaired students. She is also trying to debunk the myth that music is only for “atas” (upper-class) people.
In the last three years, the Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School music coordinator has exposed students – many of whom come from less affluent families – to concerts, mentorship by Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music students, arts internships and lunchtime concerts. She even went out of her way to arrange for two visually-impaired girls to take O-level music. She had experimented with different ways of teaching and assessing them, including replacing musical notation with an essay, using braille scores, and reading out powerpoint slides and recording lessons.
Ms Ng shared that when she was posted to her secondary school in 2015, she sensed a lack of interest in music among students as well as resistance from parents who felt that music was not a practical subject. She also shared the mission of making music more accessible to all students to give them a range of experiences and exposure to raise their social-cultural capital. Her school now has 23 students taking music across all levels, showing her success in getting more students to see music as a possible pathway.
This is another fine example of extreme dedication. Kudos to Ms Ng. I agree with her views that our students need to be exposed to all kinds of experiences to broaden their horizons. After all, one would not know what he or she is missing out on until he or she steps out of their comfort zone.
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