The Voice Within Us, Between Us

This is the seventh instalment of the Charting Pathways series, where YST graduates look back on their experience at the Conservatory, and give us a peek at their plans for the future.

In this article, Jingyun Ng (BMus '18, Voice, Soprano) catches us up on the whirlwind of diverse artistic endeavours that she has immersed herself in during her time at YST, and will continue to engage in.

 

The voice resonates within us, between us.

These words come to me as I stare at the draft page of my personal website - a gallery offering pieces of my time as a soprano, performer, voiceover artiste, project manager and teacher. I struggle to find a succinct header to introduce my self and my work, because how do you describe these different yet delicately-intertwined creative endeavours? My days as a vocal performance major at YST opened up many doors for me to explore facets of the human voice, and the connections that spring forth from it.

 Jingyun performs medieval music in her senior recital, with Pei Yi Ting (violin) and Mervyn Lee (viola da gamba).

Jingyun performs medieval music in her senior recital, with Pei Yi Ting (violin) and Mervyn Lee (viola da gamba).

I experienced the simultaneous delight and torment of reinterpreting medieval, classical and contemporary works with my instrument (the voice; arguably among the most temperamental). I grew to enjoy the cacophony of utter anxiety as well as joy in co-producing, coaching and performing in a fully student-initiated and student-run musical. I am now addicted to the exhilaration of realising brand new experimental works that bring together narration, theatre, music and mixed media. And beyond voice work and event curation, my heart has always belonged to mentorship. Through the coaching I received at YST, I have learned how to be a better vocalist and performer, so that I can effectively mentor others to love their bodies and voices, for art and for life.

I have learned how to be a better vocalist and performer, so that I can effectively mentor others to love their bodies and voices - for art and for life.
— Jingyun on the personal significance of her vocal studies at YST

 

So, what’s next?

My voice professor, Prof Alan Bennett, has always reminded me: “Take your time and reset your breath.” I think this is immensely useful to remember not only in singing, but in approaching life. Graduation is not the end - instead, it is a moment of pause to recalibrate and then continue on to the next phase (or, the next phrase!) with renewed vigour.

Up ahead, a gap year awaits me with opportunities for even more wacky collaborations, discovery of strange sonic worlds, and creating of new voiceover characters both for work and for fun. I am also carefully plunging into the more foreign lands of film and event management, beginning with producing a music video and exploring film, a medium which I only recently started to befriend.

Perhaps the most exciting prospect for me is my own project titled The Synaesthesia Experience. Through the project, I hope to collaborate with and collect experiences from synaesthetes, to curate performance and visual art works for non-synaesthetes so that they can share the experience. For example, they might experience sound installations, live performances, numbers, letters, words, poetry, movement that evoke a certain colour.

This may sound strange to some, but is a real and vivid experience for synaesthetes - which is why I hope that through The Synaesthesia Experience, people can share an elusive sensory human experience in a common space.

 Jingyun teaches a vocal workshop with NUS students.

Jingyun teaches a vocal workshop with NUS students.

After this year, I look forward to continuing my studies in vocal performance and pedagogy, and hope to pursue a specialisation in Alexander technique. Yet while I feel a huge temptation to swallow all the opportunities that are presenting themselves right now, I believe it is important to bear in mind my professor’s words to "take time". I hope that patience leads me to where passion beckons — which is to hone the voice that resides within me, so as to guide others to discover our voice that connects with the outer world.

 

Read the previous Charting Pathways article here, where viola graduate Mervin Wong reflects on the process through which he developed his artistic identity, expanding his musical practice as a violist to embrace multidisciplinary methods and create holistic experiences for his audiences.