Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Supporting local musicians: MCCY replies

WE THANK Mr Louis Francis Albert for sharing his thoughts on the challenges faced by Singaporean musicians ("Tune in to needs of musicians"; last Thursday).

We empathise with the challenges our musicians face, and we acknowledge that the music industry is a competitive one.

It is driven by an individual's artistry, creativity and passion, as much as it is driven by commercial considerations.

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), and our agencies such as the National Arts Council (NAC) and Esplanade, have been working closely with our partners in the artistic community to create an environment to support a sustainable and vibrant music scene.

We do so in ways that best support our talented musicians across all ages and genres, so that they can pursue their aspirations.

This starts right from our schools, where the NAC is working closely with artists to promote greater appreciation for our local music traditions.

Our young artists can perform at venues and events such as Esplanade's Baybeats and various Noise platforms.

These give them early exposure and experience playing to a live audience.

More established artists can apply for various grants and programmes with the NAC and the Media Development Authority (MDA) that will allow them to stage performances, and continually hone their musical capabilities.

This will equip them with the skills to reach out to new audiences and markets.

More information about such grants and programmes can be found on the websites of NAC (www.nac.gov.sg) and MDA (www.mda.gov.sg).

To widen Singaporean artists' exposure and visibility both within and beyond Singapore, we support their participation at local festivals and platforms, such as Noise and Music Matters, as well as at overseas festivals, such as South by Southwest and the Canadian Music Festival.

As much as the MCCY and our agencies strive to support Singaporean musicians and their aspirations, we are unable to create success on our own.

Musicians, in showcasing and performing their pieces of work, need to connect with their audience, and cultivate sustainable, long-term support.

Together, we can then develop the local music scene to be one that all Singaporeans can be proud of.

Yeo Whee Jim
Arts and Heritage Division
ST Forum, 20 Jan 2014

Tune in to needs of musicians

I HAVE always thought busking was a way for one to make a living, or showcase one's talent and hopefully be talent-spotted for bigger things.

But recently, I found out that a well-known musician had turned to busking. It made me wonder if busking was more lucrative than playing at established venues.

Most musicians tell me that the music scene here is in the doldrums. They play at established venues and make $80 to $120 each night, for one to two nights a week. This is not much to live on.

The National Arts Council promotes musicians by helping them when they need funds for overseas engagements, and the Esplanade gives musicians a platform to showcase their work.

It is time for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to help our musicians, instead of leaving them to fend for themselves.

Louis Francis Albert
ST Forum, 16 Jan 2014

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