Can Being A Pianist Give You An Edge To Enter Universities?

Is it easier to enter a local Singapore university if you are a pianist?

As the title goes, will learning how to play the piano and being professionally accredited for it by ABRSM give you an advantage in university applications? This is definitely a question that many Singaporean parents will be very interested to know the answer to, especially considering how much focus Singaporean employers put on the academic achievements.

Did you know some companies may hire people with less academic qualifications in other neighboring countries, but these same companies only hire people with high academic qualifications for the exact same job if it were in Singapore? Entering a university and coming out with a great degree is still very important as of the date of writing this article in 2018 in Singapore.

So let us first look at how universities decide on which applicants to accept, and which applicants to reject.

All top universities pay very close attention to university ranking tables. Universities all want to be ranked highly so that they can charge higher fees for their school programs, and still have increased demand due to increased prestige of being able to graduate from there. This means that the colleges have an incentive to manipulate the application shortlisting process so as to improve their university ranking.

Did you know that while A level results alone takes up an extremely large criteria of deciding whether you or your child can enter college, there are factors other than that? If you are perplexed by this, let us look at a truly simple example. If 10,000 applicants applied for the same course, and 1000 of them have the exact same A level score, and there is only 900 spaces for the school, how is the school supposed to weed out the remaining 100 people who cannot enter? It certainly is not by luck, and additionally, some universities in Singapore do not even have an interview process, so there is definitely an extra factor right here.

In such cases, students with extra qualifications such as piano qualifications were offered places. This is especially true if the applicant had performed at a professional setting before on top of being formally ABRSM certified. This will definitely help the applicant to enter the university much easier. If you are an exceptional sports man, it definitely helps too, however, it is definitely much harder to become an exceptional sports athlete, as it requires talent. However, with the piano, hard work alone can help you become a very good pianist.

Also, if you are a great pianist with professional credentials, which can be quite common in local Singapore JCs, you may even be able to enter a local Singapore university even if you miss the academic A level cut slightly.

Because of this, you should definitely enroll your child or yourself into university; of course other than the many research results which showed that piano lessons will also improve a child’s school results! This is especially the case if the learner is young as room for development is much stronger and greater. There is no excuse not to learn the piano if you and your child are living in Singapore!

How SG Students Can Score Better For Piano Aural Exams

Here are some tips to help you (if you are a SG piano student) with your aural exams!

There are namely 3 parts to any piano ABRSM examinations, and they are the theory part, and practical exam which is broken down into the playing part and the aural part.

Most Singaporean students do very well in the theory examinations because studying is what they did their whole life. However, the aural examinations is a common weak segment of the piano ABRSM examinations for local Singaporean students.

First of all, practise singing in awkward situations.

Yes, it feels really awkward if you’re standing right in front of your parents and it’s silent everywhere else and you start singing or humming to the piano tune. It certainly feels ridiculously awkward. However, if you are able to do this, chances are, you will not feel awkward in front of your examiner.

Do not attempt this practice with your friends, because most people like to sing randomly in front of their friends, but almost never do so in front of their parents. You want to feel so awkward during practice, that you feel natural during the piano exams.

Second of all, sing it out loud and ignore everyone.

“Easier said than done!” is what a lot of students tell me when I teach them this advice. However, they are all wrong. The key is that you have probably only read that I told you to ‘ignore everyone’ without reading the first part – singing OUT LOUD! Yes that is right. When you sing so loud, you actually tend to feel less awkward.

It may sound odd, but the truth is, sometimes you have probably randomly sang a song in public or in the house super loudly without caring what anyone thinks about you. You want to practise this. Similar to point number one in the above paragraph, the number one reason most Singaporean students do not do well in the ABRSM aural segment is due to conservatism and self imposed embarrassment.

Third of all, record yourself and listen to your own singing.

Most piano students actually can sing quite well, because they are also able to hear the piano tone (when they are playing the piano) and know whether it is correct or wrong. Some Singaporean students underestimate their singing ability, simply because they have not actually heard themselves from a recorded playback. Most people sound different when singing to themselves. The only accurate way to judge your own singing is by recording it using a voice recorder (most phones in 2018 have them anyway) and then playback. This way, you find out your mistakes and correct it until you feel very confident over time!

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If you are a passionate music teacher in Singapore who read this post because you want to learn how to help your students improve in their aural segment of their ABRSM exams, then we want to work with you! Contact us here for music teacher jobs in Singapore.