Over the past semester, 19 YST Conservatory students facilitated a series of six music engagement sessions at Yuhua Secondary School (YHSS), as part of the second year of Leading and Guiding through Music, led by Associate Professor Ty Constant. 36 YHSS students in the Secondary 2 Enhanced Music Programme (EMP) benefited from the series.
The six sessions were held at YHSS from 22 March to 25 April and each session was led by a team of three to four YST students. Building on each other, the sessions culminated in an original co-created composition which the Yuhua students will perform for their school.
The programme aims to develop creative thinking, teamwork and basic musicality through experiencing a collaborative music-making process. Ahead of each session, students used class time to develop the music activities, assign facilitation roles and plan the sessions.
Shayna Yap, a second-year BMus student majoring in piano performance, was one of the student leaders involved in the music sessions. Commenting on her Leading and Guiding Through Music experience, she shared that the three most important things she learned was to have clear communication, enthusiasm and flexibility.
Shayna shared that they would ‘rehearse’ leading the activities in class to build their confidence and rethink concepts if loopholes were found. Why was this important? “We need to be sure of what we are doing before the students will be convinced to join us and enjoy themselves,” she said. Commenting on how the experience related to her future aspirations, she said, "I have taught music in secondary schools before, and now that I have been equipped with more skills and experience as an educator, I would definitely like to continue this kind of work in the future."
Deepening this inter-school partnership, the initial connection between both schools was initiated by Ms. Lee Yue Zhi, a teacher at YHSS and YST alumna (BMus '13, French Horn), to provide YHSS students with a broader exposure to possible pathways in tertiary music education. Reflecting on her experience at YST, Yue Zhi says, “I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in many opportunities during my time in YST. These experiences enabled me to get used to situations outside of my comfort zone, and develop the flexibility and resourcefulness that is required on a daily basis.”
During her time at YST, Ms. Lee was sure she was going to be a teacher so in preparation, she took modules that focused on theory, composition and arranging. “My experience in YST helped me to be more adaptable in different situations as teaching is full of unexpected surprises and situations that require these skills. The knowledge thankfully came in handy when I started the Enhanced Music Programme at Yuhua Secondary School.”
Looking ahead, YHSS plans to share the work they have done in these sessions with a wider audience, such as through assembly programmes or community venues. The programme was truly a meaningful learning experience for all involved, whether for students seeking to learn more about music, or aspiring music educators looking to make a difference!