This article is part of YST's Artistic Citizens series.
Inspiring a love for music and the arts for the next generation of Singaporeans, six YST students curated an engaging music program for children with and without disabilities, aged 5-10, presented as the concluding celebration for a 3 week-long Inclusive Arts Workshop Series hosted by community arts organization ‘Superhero Me’.
Natalie Koh (BMus Year 2, Violin) was a student leader for a 10-week music course earlier this year which was YST and Superhero Me’s first collaborative project (Project Infinitude pilot), where children learnt music fundamentals and transferred these to instruments including keyboard, violin, cello and recorder.
After being involved with the initial 10-week music program, Natalie was inspired to continue volunteering with Superhero Me. “I loved the intention behind Superhero Me, they aim to connect all kids regardless of background and ability through art”.
Natalie did a volunteer stint at Superhero Me’s partner school, Cerebral Palsy Alliance School (she is now on an exchange program at the Peabody Institute). “During recess week I facilitated art workshops at Superhero Me’s Inclusive Art Workshop Series which saw students from mainstream pre-schools and special education schools come together to make crafts”
In preparation for the music session for the children, Natalie shared about the process the students went about selecting repertoire
“We first selected appropriate repertoire for our audience that day. We knew we were going to have a young audience of about 10 years old and thus we decided to play Disney song arrangements for them, something that they were familiar with and could sing along too.” The students also arranged familiar classical music tunes such as Beethoven's Für Elise.
From facilitating a music engagement workshop, Natalie learnt a lot throughout the process, “I am now more aware how to direct a group of children and learnt that body language is important- children of that young age pick up everything that we adults do or say, and it's ideal for us to set the best examples we can.”
Natalie found that this body language awareness can be applied to music performance also, “I need to be mindful of my actions and body movement whilst performing, as the audience observe everything that I have to offer.”
“I have always been interested in teaching children music. I feel that it's a great joy to share something that I love with kids that are enthusiastic to learn.”
From her involvement with this program, Natalie has been inspired to explore a music career pathway, “I'm currently in the midst of searching on music therapy courses and I hope I will pick up some new skills through such courses”.
To learn more about Superhero Me, click here.
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