Last year, we had a very satisfying 9 months training up a new generation of songwriters, I’m proud to share that the feedback has been great and so were the results with some of our trainees selling songs, having songs on hold by various overseas record companies, working on other music related projects and one releasing his full length self composed album debut in Asia very soon!
With that, I’m excited to announce.
Due to popular demand, the MDA-WDA Grant scheme with FM Pop Music School is here again!
If you’ve missed it the first time round, here is your chance again to come and learn under Asia’s renowned songwriters/producers Eric Ng (黃韻仁) and Jim Lim (林倛玉) and award-winning lyricist Xiaohan (小寒)!
Send us your best 2 demos or lyrics (to the songs stated in the Hit Lyrics Songwriting), which will be assessed by our instructors.
For the successful applicant, The MDA-WDA grant scheme provides up to 90% reimbursement for the aspiring professional songwriter! (open to all Singaporean/Singaporean PR music professionals, media freelancers and newbies).
Apply now for your chance to learn under music industry experts and you will be more than one step closer to your dream of being a Hit-Songwriter!
So what are you waiting for? (details below)
Career in Hit Melodies Songwriting
“Learn to compose catchy melodies with the pros”
If you’ve been writing songs and have no clue on what’s the next step, this is your opportunity to turn your passion for songwriting into a fulfilling career! Join us on this journey with chart topping songwriters, as they share with you priceless real world experiences and the necessary skills on composing songs as a professional songwriter.
This is course will be conducted by renowned songwriters/music producers Eric Ng (黃韻仁) and Jim Lim (林倛玉).
Course Duration: 9 months
Course Frequency: Once a week (1.5hours per session)
Course Fees: $4,185 (course fees before the grant)
Registration fee: $20
Some topics that will be covered in the course:
• Various ways of entering the music industry
• What the industry looks for in a songwriter
• Real world experience and tips for writing on demand
• Understanding the industry’s workings and knowledge of your copyright
• Advanced Chord Theory
• Aural training on listening to chords of a song
• How to develop the melody of your song and create a “hook” that leaves a lasting impression on the listener
• Demo arrangement skills
• Weekly song writing assignments and review of assignments by course instructors
• Works accessed by your mentors
• Having hands on experience in composing songs for the industry
Pre-requisite for Career in Hit Melodies Songwriting
Applicants need to have songwriting experience, basic knowledge of a musical instrument and able to present their songs through a basic demo recording with vocals. We will require applicants to send in 2 of their best works (Demos) in mp3 format for assessment by our instructors.
How to submit
Start date for submissions: 27th February 2014
Send in your completed works to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details:
2) Contact Number
6) Current employer (if any)
Deadline for submission for HIT LYRICS SONGWRITING: 22nd March 2014
Deadline for submission for HIT MELODIES SONGWRITING: 5th April 2014
Hurry and submit your best works to us!
The instructors will assess the demos or lyrics. After which all applicants will be notified either via email or phone whether they have been shortlisted for the grant or not.
Shortlisted applicants will have to submit their grant application to Six Degrees’.
For more info:
Kindly note that all applications for Talent Assistance and Training Allowance grants will be subjected to Six Degrees’ approval.
Over the weekend, FM Pop Music School had our open house and it was a day for the curious public to pop their heads in to have a understanding of what we teach over here.
It’s always nice to meet new faces who are interested in learning songwriting, and I’m sure there are more out there. So let me share these 5 points I always mention when I meet newcomers interested to have fun or aspire to make a living out of songwriting.
1. Your 1st song will (most probably) suck
I know mine did for sure. That shouldn’t stop us, as songwriting is something that is seen as a creative process, there is no exact hard and fast rule to get started. And that’s the reason why most people are afraid to get started on it as they have the fear that it will suck.
We all have to start somewhere, get past that psychological hurdle.
Once you’re done with your 1st song, share your joy. If someone is honest enough to say it sucks, take it well, however you should ask them why it sucks. Take that feedback and deal with it with your own judgement. Absorb what you think is right, ignore what you think is wrong. You don’t have to follow what everyone says coz what you deem as right or wrong ultimately forms up your style.
The more the merrier, don’t get caught up in one song. The number of songs you generate, the actual frequency that you practice writing is actually more precious than the number of years you’ve put into it. With the right guidance and commitment, someone who write songs weekly will find themselves more in control than the guy who spends a year writing one song.
4. You don’t need to be a concert standard instrumentalist
I find that songwriting requires a different creative ‘muscle’ from playing an instrument or a music arranger. I’ve met many great instrumentalists or music arrangers who just can’t bring themselves to write great simple pop songs. So for the aspiring songwriter, if you want to write a melody, I’d say all you need is the passion to drive it. I’ve met songwriters who can only play an instrument in one key, or can’t even play any instrument. Of course along the way, basic knowledge of an instrument will help in writing and hence the importance of your passion to get you started interested to learn the 2 most popular instruments for pop songwriting – Guitar and Piano/Keyboard.
Though I am a session guitar player/arranger and songwriter, however I find myself in different states of mind I’m in when I’m performing the different tasks. To me, songwriting is the most enjoyable out of the 3 as it’s sort of like ‘picking from air’ a set of notes and phrases which I then start to form into something that I want to glue into your ear It’s fun working out of nothing.
5. So, you’ve written many songs! And you’re stuck…
Seek feedback from the people around you, mix around with other like minded people, find partners to compliment your strengths and weaknesses. There are many songwriters/music arrangers/singers willing to try out singing original material out there. You can listen to songs that you enjoy and try to analyse the difference between your song and those that others write. Why are they more catchy? Why are they more satisfying?
OR if pop music’s your thing, you can check out http://www.fmpopmusicschool.com.sg or email email@example.com to find out more about the songwriting courses we conduct, where we help you hone your lyrics or melodies into songs catered to the pop world:) Other than learning from experienced lecturers, I always find more importantly, you start to meet like minded friends to form your own ‘teams’ and ‘musical cliques’, for what other way to enjoy your improve yourself than in the company of good friends?
To find out more about our courses and what our trainees have to say.
Pics of my last stop for CNY. Sydney!
Sydney was more fun this time round coz my cousin stays there!
So what’s there to do in Sydney, and he says, how about going to the beach?
or another beach?
or yet another beach? (We went to 3 beaches in one afternoon)
Other than that, I couldn’t really remember much of Sydney except for Darling Harbour, China Town and the Star Casino we were staying at.
With my cousin around, there was much pubbing involved as well.
And on the 2nd last day of the trip, I had a surprise visitor from Inner Mongolia who came to watch our show at the casino! Great singer, great catching up.
And then naturally…
After which I said, yeah that’s it, I’ve been to Sydney!
So my CNY continues at Melbourne, this has been an extremely chill CNY. I think this is the 1st time in years that I experienced a CNY where I really could take a short break.
and allowing myself some spare time to walk around aimlessly.
of course this wouldn’t have been possible if not for our generous sponsors UGG…who also gave me some nice furry shoes I can wear this winter in China.
I also went to check out Basement Discs, one of the very few CD shops in Melbourne(or in the world?) It was a great show with nicely decorated and with a great collection.
However I’m sad to say that even to me, the CD shop seems to feel like an antique shop now.
The next day, I had a chance to catch up with Sanny of Empra (prev local band heroes, Bored Phucks/The Suns) of Empra. In the early 2000s, I did a gig with the Suns at the Esplanade replacing Mr Sanny on guitar as he broke his hand while jumping down a guitar amp during an earlier show. It was definitely by far one of my most memorable local band gigs ever, playing with the tight as hell rhythm section of Justin and Wayne(R.I.P).
I managed to catch Sanny’s 2 year old outfit, Empra where they were doing an acoustic gig at the ESPY, a great venue where we spent almost 6 hours standing watching Sanny and 3 other bands that night!
When I hear acoustic gigs of rock songs, they are usually watered down versions and lose the punch of their full band versions. Kudos to Sanny and Matt for their well arranged renditions, to keep their material catchy and most still punchy!!
What a great night!
Had a healthy breakfast (at 130pm) with Sanny before his gig and we were talking about life as musicians. This guy has been going at it in Melbourne for 12 years and is still full of enthusiasm about the exciting possibilities of breaking down new doors to rock heaven. They opened for Fall out boy last year, and was sent to America, representing Australia in an international band competition and won 1st prize. We were talking about the new comers, the aspiring people who want to give this a shot and of coz the need of that giving it all you got even if you start at rock bottom mentality that I find not always present in the many hopefuls.
San shared with me in his 1st year in Melbourne, where he and the Suns went to knock on every live venue they knew of to hustle for a gig so they can start the ball rolling on performing, and that they did, and played 200 shows in the 1st year.
And now with Empra, they are all ready to try to conquer America as well, all willing to start from bottom up again to experience and make their mark on the biggest music industry in the world.
With talent like that, with fire in their eyes, I’d say nothing is impossible!
Here’s a link of a song from their latest EP. Rock on guys!
This CNY has been busy but fun! We had a quick reunion dinner catch up, with Lyla having her 1st ever CNY.
And for the 1st day of CNY, I brought Ming for her 1st ever gig in Jakarta. What a great audience we had!
And the 2nd day, I’m back in Sg, and visiting continues! Guess who totally stole the show this year? =D
Finally it’s a new year and Lyla gets a new room! With cutie stickers ordered by LJ and pasted by me! =D
And right now, I’m writing this from Melbourne! So this CNY has been spent in Sg, Indo, Melbourne and moving to Sydney tomorrow!
Happy New Year to all! It’ll be a great year, most imptly, stay healthy and may all your wishes come true!
Met someone from Taiwan earlier, upon hearing that I do music for a living. She remarked, “Wow, I got a few friends back in Taiwan who’s having such a hard time to get somewhere, writing lots of songs that go nowhere and taking up part time jobs to stay alive”.
And there are musicians who are actually doing ok in homeland, taking the leap, basing themselves in USA, Australia, Europe etc trying to find a foot hold in the larger music markets over there.
And then of course, I meet so many musicians from China, wondering when can they get their foot in the music industry while their peers or juniors are making crazy loads of money doing shows, music production etc
On the other hand, I was in a studio in Malaysia and the engineer remarked, It’s funny how everyone says the music industry is shit over here but I’m so knee deep in jobs and always busy! The nice comfortable state of his studio with the equipment he can afford supports the words he say.
Right here in Singapore, I have quite a few friends based here who are doing very well in the Asian music industry.
Are you following me here?
This has been happening from the start of time of making a career out of music. No matter the golden era of recorded music or the current or future state of the industry. It’s always a choice that everyone makes for themselves, whether they find the success they want in their own homeland or out of their country, one will never know when and where it might all work out and they will reap all the sacrifices they made.
If you have the talent with the luck and persistence, that obsessive passion and hunger to make it, it really doesn’t matter where the hell you were born, it doesn’t matter what kind of environment you were raised in, or how rich or poor you are. End of day, you get out there, make that move you want and find success in your own terms.
After all, hey man, imagine spending life just doing what you absolutely love, with people appreciating it PLUS actually making a decent living from it.
Who the hell says it’s gonna be easy?
So no matter which spot of the world you are in right now.
If you got what it takes to make it, you’ll make it anywhere.
To kickstart 2014, we’ve launched Ming’s 1st full length English album this year and she has started on a series of shows around Starbucks and live venues such as Beer Market, Shuffle and Timbre. The response so far has been very encouraging, with security called into help for some of the venues due to overwhelming response!
Ming will be doing the last 4 shows before preparing for her next full length Mandarin Album. Do catch her while you can!
This past week I had a ‘blast in the past’ moment with 2 of my good friends Jaycee and 阿管 over in Sg. I’ve known these guys for more than 10 years and we haven’t met up together for quite a while. It was fun just catching up on what’s been happening around us and interesting noting how fast things change.
2014 will be 18th year since I finished my National Service, moving into my 1st and ever only “job” which is making music. I’ve seen bright sparks evolve into having a great future, I’ve also seen some of them branching out into unintended avenues(still music related) and doing much better, however sadly, mostly I’ve seen many musicians, some of them “hot, tipped to be the next big thing” talents give up to join the rat race, or still stuck at the same place, bitter and jaded.
I’m way thankful that I still can be here writing this blog as a happy full time musician. I wish for those of you aspiring musicians out there to have the same luck as me, so here’s me sharing a little something, some from my own experience and observations that we can all learn from to maybe allow us to last a little longer.
1. Learn from our mistakes
Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. I, for one, has made hell a lot of mistakes along the way, and I have seen others made mistakes too. Mistakes are great coz it will hit it in your head to learn from them and not repeat it again.
2. Blame yourself
It’s easy to blame others if something doesn’t work out but end of day, if you don’t point the finger back to yourself to make the change from a mistake, the only one who will not be able to move along in the right direction. Is you.
3. Treat others how you want to be treated
Be careful how you treat others, especially if you already know it’s not fair or not right. What goes around, comes around.
The industry has changed. We can’t sit there ignoring them as if it’s not happening. Albums are not selling, live with it. Client’s not paying well? Screw them, find other clients.
End of the day, face it, there are only 2 ways about it. Find ways around the change or accept it. 3 ways actually, the 3rd way being accepting it and yet bitch non stop about it, which I strongly don’t advise. The choice is always yours.
5. Network smartly
I’ve met many who might think being friendly, carrying balls or boobs of their seniors or those with position of power is more useful, while ignoring their juniors. It’s naturally to want to treat those you respect better than the rest. However, in this day and age, anyone can shoot straight to the top at any time. You’ll never know that shy kid in the corner might end up being the next hot shot.
I find that useful networking also involves trying to be friendly or helping out those who are less experienced/successful than you as well. That person might return the favour one day. Whether end of the day if that person appreciates it, or not. It does’t hurt to help. Again, what goes around comes around.
6. Living it up?
Lastly, being in a biz that’s constantly changing. The days of spending like a ‘baller’, living it up as a musician/producer/artist-what-have-you are not like what it used to be.
Don’t splurge for the sake of ‘face’, ESPECIALLY if you can’t actually afford it.
So there you go, wishing all of us a long sustaining, fruitful and most importantly a satisfying happy career!
Before we could say huh? 2013 passed in a flash and it’s 2014! Happy new year! I can say 2013 has really been a crazy eventful year for me, with a kid, with great projects and stuff. Of course there were downs, so? We can choose to dwell on those, or just take what we can learn from them and move on to greater things.
I just finished reading about the life of Dave Grohl from the book ” This is a call”. It’s nothing short of inspiring, imagine if you came from Nirvana, to form Foo fighters and sell out 180 000 tickets in 2 nights in
Wembley Stadium . Reading it while noting how down to earth and grounded he was while going thru what I’d say is the BEST career I can think of for any 90s musician is crazy. I’ve been told you must be more ‘hao lian’ about your achievements if you think about making it in the West, boasting about your talents and selling yourself more overtly than our Eastern cultures. Hmm…After finishing this book, I”m even more sure that the successful guys who sustain the best careers are the most humble and grounded guys.
During his formative years, he jumped around in a lot of different bands, in it he shared frankly about how he moved from one band to another to seek greener pastures and more opportunities, the writer Paul Brannigan also interviewed some of those ex members, some who took it positively and some who resented him for it.
In a FB post last week, I also shared that this happens frequently in the music biz. Because it’s something fueled so much by passion. Some might forget along the way that it IS after all a business, no one owes you anything vice versa. We work, we try our best, we move along, together or not. Somehow in the music biz, some will end up resenting, bitching etc when things don’t work out the way they wanted it to.
After finishing this book, my own thoughts are
1. I think this whole being humble and helpful transcends all cultures
2. We should never get complacent, being aware of whatever we’ve worked so hard to achieve might just go away at any moment.
3. We can’t please everyone, we win some, we lose some.
Happy New Year! I wish all of you guys the greatest success for 2014!
Yeah, as hinted in my last post, I had a full page article on Monday written nicely by Mr Boon Chan. In it I had many of my good friends like 大哥，华建 and of coz 小寒 who took time off their busy schedule to say nice things about me. 、I totally agree with 大哥 about me not being anything great as musician, he chose to work with me due to my personality and my open mind towards trying new things. Like what I wrote in my ‘career tips’ blog a few posts ago, it’s the sum of parts that is much greater than the talent/technical ability you have as a musician being in the business.
I also had quite a lot of encouraging, congratulatory and interesting messages that day. Some of whom asked me if I could give them some advice on music as a career as they’ve read on my article that I really came up from ground zero. With almost no education and not being able to read notes till now, they felt I’m somewhat of an inspiration.
Well, if you ask me to teach guitar…I wouldn’t be able to help you out much as my technique is quite unorthodox plus I don’t know what I’m doing half the time =D However if it’s tips on my experience thru trial and error of building this to a career, that I might be able to do.
Lemme think about it, if there’s any interest, do feel free to drop me a comment too!