3.3    Guidelines for Applied Major Study and Student Exchange Programme

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Scheduling Applied Major Study Lessons

A student should give a copy of his/her class schedule to the teacher when arranging Applied Major Study lessons. Students should give priority to arranging applied major study lessons with their teachers prior to scheduling chamber ensemble rehearsals. Lesson times should not conflict with scheduled classes.

Whenever possible, individual Applied Major Study lessons should be held on the same day every week during the semester. All lessons, including make-up lessons, should be scheduled on weekdays whenever possible.

Students must not receive tuition in relation to their major study from any other source unless their major study teacher has agreed to this.

It is not recommended for Applied Major Study teachers to schedule regular lessons on Sundays.

Change of Applied Major Study and Major Teacher

Students requesting for a change of Applied Major Study must submit a request to the Director through the Conservatory Student Affairs Office and qualify through auditions with the appropriate faculty.

Students may request their preference for a teacher at the the beginning of their course of study and may be assigned to their teacher of choice wherever possible. However, if the preferred teacher’s studio is full, or if the preferred teacher cannot accept the student, the student will be assigned to other available teaching studios.

If a student has compelling reasons to change to another Applied Major Study teacher during the course of study, the student should discuss the intention  with the major study teacher and the respective Head of Department first before seeking the permission with the Conservatory Director, through the Conservatory Student Affairs Office.

Accompanying Policy

The Conservatory provides faculty accompanists for Conservatory sanctioned events, major lessons, studio classes, Noon Recitals, SoundBites, Junior and Senior Recitals, Concerto Competitions, master classes and Juries on a limited basis. Arrangements must be made through the student’s Applied Major Study teacher with a member of the Conservatory accompanying staff.

While student pianists are encouraged to work with their fellow students in duo contexts, they must receive permission from their piano teacher prior to making a commitment to accompany any student.

Students must notify the accompanists well in advance of any performances in which services of the accompanists are needed.

Students have to provide the accompanists with piano scores at least one month before the first rehearsal.

Before each rehearsal, students are required to know their individual parts as well as the piano and/or orchestral parts. Unprepared students will be dismissed from rehearsals.

Students are required to maintain a professional demeanour and attitude with the accompanists at all times. Punctuality is mandatory.

Failure to comply with the above policies will result in cancellation of the rehearsal. If, due to unforeseen circumstances, students were to be late or rehearsals needed to be cancelled, accompanists must be informed immediately. A student forgetting to attend a rehearsal will be reported to the respective major teachers as well as to the Head of Department.

Any activity not related to the Conservatory (such as international competitions, outside performances, auditions, and recordings for personal usage) must be approved by the respective major teachers, and in compliance with Conservatory policy. Any services rendered by accompanists for such events will be charged accordingly. Recordings of all sorts will be charged accordingly as well.

Jury Requirements

Students who are registered for Applied Major Study must perform a jury for the departmental faculty. First year students will perform the jury at the end of each academic year, while the 4th year students will perform their senior recitals at the end of each academic year. For second year students,  they will perform the jury at the end of the first semester of each academic year. Likewise, third year students will perform their junior recitals at the end of the first semester of each academic year. Young Artists who are not registered for Applied Major Study to receive credits must also perform a jury at the end of each academic year. There are specific requirements for jury examinations set by the individual studio teachers. All students are expected to know the requirements for their departmental juries and to check for updates with their teachers. Jury grades will be counted towards the overall assessment for the Applied Major Study for the semester.

Students who are not able to perform juries due to illness, injury, or approved absence will have to take a make-up jury during the first week of the following semester. The Academic Affairs Office must be contacted prior to examination week.


Recitals are a vital part of the performance-based degree programme at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory.

Third-year students would normally undertake a Junior Recital: in exceptional circumstances, they may be allowed to perform an end-of-year jury subject to the approval of the relevant Head of Department and on the recommendation of the Applied Major Study teacher. The length of the Junior Recital must be 25-30 minutes of playing time with no intermission.

Fourth-year students must perform a Senior Recital to fulfill the graduation requirements. The Senior Recital must be 50-55 minutes of playing time, with the total duration of the Senior Recital including intermission not to exceed 65 minutes.

Each student may have a one-hour (Juniors) / two-hour (Seniors) dress rehearsal on the Concert Hall stage. The Concerts & Events Office schedules the dress rehearsal on a first-come, first-served basis.

Heads of Department are responsible for the selection of jury members, which will include a full-time Conservatory faculty member. The comments from the panel members will be released to the student about three days following the recital. Heads of Departments are responsible for ensuring the quality of student performances in all recitals.


Students must attain a minimum C grade for Senior and Graduate Recitals to pass. Students who fail to attain the minimum grade must reschedule the recital.

Repertoire Requirement

There is no specific repertoire requirement except that works should be selected from what is generally regarded as recital repertoire (i.e. music for solo instrument or with piano). Arrangements, particularly concertos, should only be performed where the instrument concerned has a limited range of recital possibilities. The memory requirements for recitals are the same as would be expected in a professional context. Instrumental performances, particularly in wind and brass would benefit from the added projection and communication in a performance with the absence of a music stand. Students are encouraged to memorise the music and should plan their Senior Recital repertoire at an early stage to give time for proper preparation. When a performer begins to play from memory after using music, the stand should be moved well away and turned away from the audience.

Complete works should normally be selected – credit is given for a group performance only when the performance is of equivalent or higher standard compared with the rest of the programme. A weak group performance can detract from the grade. When chamber music is programmed, the recitalist must take the lead in the group and should not be overshadowed by guest musicians. Performances should not result in a party atmosphere, which is inappropriate in a Senior Recital context, as such performances inevitably have to be disregarded in assessment.

Concertos should not normally be included in Senior Recital programmes, but if included they must be played from memory unless otherwise indicated in the individual instrumental syllabus.

Recital Dates

The Academic Affairs Office, in consultation with the studio faculty schedules, will determine the recital dates. Dates will be allocated by 1 November with all recitals to be scheduled in March or April the following year.

Cancellation of Recital

Students may only seek approval from the Conservatory Director through the Academic Affairs Office to cancel a recital in cases where there is documented injury, illness, or emergency. In such situations, the recital may be cancelled without a fee. The student may reschedule the recital depending on the availability of the remaining recital dates/times.

Programme Information

The programme must be submitted to the Concerts & Events Office at least two weeks before the scheduled recital.  An Arial 12-point font size typed programme and typed programme notes (A4 size paper, maximum 2 pages) must be emailed to the Concerts & Events Office as part of the submission. The programme should fit within one side of the page and there is no need for the movement headings to be repeated in the notes. The programme notes are not graded but are a mandatory part of the recital examinations.

Stage requirements for piano, music stands and chairs should be clearly indicated in the Programme Form. Once the Programme Form has been submitted, a S$25 fee will be charged for any changes.

Programme Notes

All recital students should write concise programme notes for the works they are performing. These notes should consist of approximately 5 to 6 lines for each work, generally including the following information:

  • The composer’s dates (in the heading)
  • The arranger’s name
  • The date of the composition
  • The reason the composition was written
  • A brief description of the movements (i.e. dance style, fugal, lyrical melody, contrasts, etc.)
  • The reason for an arrangement, and who is responsible for it (if applicable)

Programme notes should not include:

  • A general biography of the composer
  • A survey of all of the composer’s works
  • An elaborate harmonic and/or formal analysis of each work
  • A description of orchestral colour
  • A thank you section to all and sundry
  • Identifying all the difficult bits of the work

The recitalist’s name should be mentioned on the inside page of the programme. Staff pianists and additional performers (e.g. a conductor, singer or unseen operator of electronics) should be credited properly. For performances that include a chamber group, all the names of the performers including the main recitalist must be included.

Students are reminded that plagiarism is an act of academic dishonesty which the University does not condone. Students should take the opportunity to produce original programme notes and materials to demonstrate an honest intention to show a personal reaction to the music.

Student Exchange Programme 

As part of the collaboration with the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, students enroled in the Bachelor of Music (Honours) Degree programme at the Conservatory have the opportunity to apply to spend one academic semester undertaking equivalent studies in Peabody.

Currently, exchange partnerships exist with the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover (Germany), Hautes écoles de musique de Genève (Switzerland), Hautes écoles de musique de Lausanne (Switzerland), Sibelius Academy (Finland), Koninklijk Conservatorium te Den Haag (Netherlands), Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Peabody Conservatory (USA), Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University (Australia) and Mahidol University (Thailand).

Beyond exchanges with higher education institutions, YST is also evolving a range of international professional development partnerships, most notably with the Shanghai Orchestra Academy, Suntory Hall Chamber Music Academy and the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra.

Students selected for the exchange programme will enrol in classes in the partner university, and receive only credit transfers towards their graduation requirements in the Conservatory.

Course Selection and Transfer of Credits

Students embarking on the Joint Degree Programme or exchange programme should map their modules before going to Peabody. Students can approach their respective faculty year mentors for advice on the modules they should take to fulfil their academic requirements. Please submit the Study Plan Form (obtainable from the Academic Affairs Office) for approval at least two weeks before departing for Peabody.

The Academic Affairs Office will advise students whether the modules they choose to take at Peabody can be mapped back to NUS.

For students on the exchange programme, only credits for all modules passed at Peabody will be transferred back to NUS. Grades will not be transferred back to NUS.

For students on the Joint Degree Programme, with the exception of major study grades and credits taken at Peabody, all other modules read at the host university will be granted credit transfer without grades at the home institutions.

Fulfilment of Electives in Partner Universities

Students going on the Joint Degree Programme and exchange programme are encouraged to choose music electives from Peabody to fulfil their unrestricted elective requirements (a minimum of 18 MCs). As far as possible, these electives will be mapped back to the Conservatory’s music electives.

Students can also choose to take Professional Development (PD) electives (a total of 2 modules, each worth 4 MCs) over at Peabody, which will also be mapped back to the Conservatory’s PD electives.

For GE requirements (a total of 5 modules, each worth 4 MCs), students are to note that approval needs to be sought by the University’s General Education Committee (GE) to map back a module as a GE module.

Details on how to apply for module mapping may be found on the website:

Students are also free to choose modules taught at The Johns Hopkins University. However, if the modules are not music-related, approval to map the modules will have to be sought from the respective faculties and departments in NUS, depending on the subject area of the module (e.g. students taking language modules will need to seek mapping approval from the Centre for Language Studies). Students should approach the Conservatory Academic Affairs Office for assistance in facilitating the mapping approval process.

  Home / NUS Bulletin AY2019/20 / Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music / Undergraduate Education / Guidelines for Applied Major Study and Student Exchange Programme