12 December 2014
For the love of music and sound, students from the Diploma in Music and Audio Technology (DMAT) course have had a busy year in the studio, on the stage, and even across sea and sand!
DMAT's very own record label – SPEAR (Singapore Polytechnic Emerging Artiste and Repertoire) – saw five new artists working with the lecturers to produce an album's worth of songs. With the new music in hand, the SPEAR artists marched up the stages around Singapore and took the audience away with their new found sound.
One of the artists, JJ and the Paperplanes, has taken it further by launching their very own music single – titled "A Simple Hello" – which got featured on the landing page of iTunes. To promote the single, the band went on a tour around the region, starting at Hard Rock Café (Singapore), through Malaysia, and finally ending at Bali. The folks at 987FM also caught on to the hype, and they invited JJ and the Paperplanes to chat and perform on air.
To lend the festive season a groovy hand, DMAT alumnus, Shun Ng, made a trip back to Singapore to perform at the Victoria Theatre for "Rhythm of Christmas". Shun has been gaining some incredible attention and support – beyond the stages and the radio, he was nominated for "International Artist of the Year" at the Boston Music Awards and he has earned much praise from music legend, Quincy Jones – producer of Michael Jackson. Shun is also brewing a storm online, as his cover of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody received a special Twitter mention by none other than Queen's legendary rock guitarist, Brian May.
On the local front, DMAT alumni band, Afterglow, clinched a valuable mentorship at the annual Noise Singapore Music Mentorship programme, which helps musicians to further their skills and exposure to benefit their artistic development. The band was subsequently guided by homegrown gurus in the music industry.
While it seems that the glory are on the DMAT students, much work has been done by the students in support of other causes.
For their Songwriting module, students were tasked to write a theme song for Singapore Science Centre's KidsStop, and one of the songs was chosen for the honour. Also, in support of the government's $5 million plan to put on arts programmes for the public in community venues, JJ and the Paperplanes performed at the Jurong Regional Library to help launch one of the community nodes. Students also performed at the "Enabled!" music festival that celebrates the possibilities of Music Technology for both the abled and disabled.
However, it is not always on the stage that DMAT students can be found. At the "Music Matters" industry conference and music festival, students were hard at work to produce the audio for the 4-night event, which was then broadcast 'live' on YouTube.
All of that would not be possible without practice. Within Singapore Polytechnic, DMAT students regularly put on a series of shows – aptly named "DMAT Show" – in which every part of the show from the beginning to the end is managed and produced by the students. For their Performance module, students went beyond the campus and staged a whole evening worth of music at Hard Rock Café.
And to refresh their senses, DMAT students were taken on a trip to Bali to learn about Balinese culture, music and dance. By the end of the trip, not only were the students fully indulged and capable of playing and dancing the Balinese way, they also had much bonding time, which will surely serve as fond memories.