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Programme Overview Modules Entry Requirements Fees How to Apply
Course Overview Modules Entry Requirements Fees How to Apply

Duration: 2 Years
Mode: Full-time

Duration: 3 Years
Mode: Part-time*

The RCM-NAFA Master of Composition programme is designed to allow composers to develop their skills to a professional level. The programme offers intensive training in practical skills, complemented by a range of targeted options which reflect current vocational and professional needs. Such skills are aimed at composers who aspire to enter the profession as practitioners at the highest level.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this programme, students should be able to:

  • compose at a level expected of a professional musician in terms of technique, musical insight, imagination, interpretation and communication
  • apply personal research, analysis, reflection, listening and the application of theory to practice in the process of forming original new work
  • demonstrate a strong grasp of musical traditions, while embracing or seeking new innovations in musical styles, media, performance and practice
  • execute projects requiring written and/or verbal presentation, as well as for musical composition, in a confident and independent manner
  • work effectively as part of a team, often in a leadership role, taking spontaneous decisions and responding to the decisions of others
  • be self-motivated and disciplined, and promote projects/performances with critical self-awareness
  • demonstrate in-depth understanding of professional environments and protocols
* To apply for a Student’s Pass, international applicants must enroll into an approved full-time programme in Singapore. Part time programme is not eligible.


Please click here to view the English programme brochure.


The unique partnership between NAFA and RCM

With the seven-week International Placement at RCM, you will have the unique opportunity to experience living and studying in another environment for a period of time. You will gain exposure to artistic and cultural practices in a new environment and acquire valuable learning experiences, which will widen your perspectives towards your own musical practice and learning.

NAFA’s artistic and cultural diversity

For our Western and Chinese instrumentalists and composers, you will co-exist in a synergetic relationship, experiencing and reflecting on your cultural practices in the arts as you relate to performance and research. For our composers, this provides a rich cultural environment and collaborative opportunities.

Opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations

NAFA’s position as a multidisciplinary arts institution gives our music students the opportunities for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary collaborations with other artistic disciplines within the academy and the new University of the Arts.

Modules

Check out the range of modules to build your technical skills, enhance your exposure and boost your employability.

Full time (2 Years)

MComp 1
Module Type No. of Credits
Principal Study 75 credits
Elective Options Professional Artist Option 45 credits 15 credits
Elective Option 1 15 credits
Elective Option 2 15 credits
Overall Credits: 120 credits
120 credits are required for progression to MComp 2

MComp 2
Module Type No. of Credits
Principal Study 75 credits
Elective Options Professional Artist Option 45 credits 15 or 30 credits
Elective Option 1 15 or 30 credits
Elective Option 2 0 or 15 credits
International Placement Non-credited
Overall Credits: 120 credits
A total of 240 credits must be completed overall for the award of Master of Composition

Part time (3 Years)

MComp 1
Module Type No. of Credits Remarks
Principal Study 50 credits  
Elective Options Professional Artist Option 30 credits 15 credits  
Elective Option 1 15 credits  
Elective Option 2 0 credits 0, 15 or 30 credits to be taken in MComp 1, 2 or 3
Overall Credits: 80 credits
80 credits are required for progression to MComp 2

MComp 2
Module Type No. of Credits Remarks
Principal Study 50 credits  
Elective Options Professional Artist Option 30 credits 15 or 30 credits  
Elective Option 1 0 or 15 credits 15 or 30 credits to be taken in MComp 2 or 3
Elective Option 2 0 or 15 credits 0, 15 or 30 credits to be taken in MComp 1, 2 or 3
Overall Credits: 80 credits
80 credits are required for progression to MComp 3

MComp 3
Module Type No. of Credits Remarks
Principal Study 50 credits  
Elective Options Professional Artist Option 30 credits 0 credits  
Elective Option 1 0, 15 or 30 credits 15 or 30 credits to be taken in MComp 2 or 3
Elective Option 2 0, 15 or 30 credits 0, 15 or 30 credits to be taken in MComp 1, 2 or 3
International Placement Non-credited  
Overall Credits: 80 credits
A total of 240 credits must be completed overall for the award of Master of Composition

Code Title Semester Credits
MU5714

Principal Study (Composition) Level 7 (I) 50 credits

(applicable to part time studies only)
The Principal Study is a central part of your learning experience at NAFA. It involves advanced exploration and development of musical and technical skills to prepare you for your chosen field at a professional level. The module includes one-to-one tuition, performance classes, workshops, masterclasses, lessons from visiting professors, ensemble activities, seminars, and relevant lecture series.
1 & 2 50
MU5715

Principal Study (Composition) Level 7 (II) 50 credits

(applicable to part time studies only)
The Principal Study is a central part of your learning experience at NAFA. It involves advanced exploration and development of musical and technical skills to prepare you for your chosen field at a professional level. The module includes one-to-one tuition, performance classes, workshops, masterclasses, lessons from visiting professors, ensemble activities, seminars, and relevant lecture series.
1 & 2 50
MU5716

Principal Study (Composition) Level 7 (III) 50 credits

(applicable to part time studies only)
The Principal Study is a central part of your learning experience at NAFA. It involves advanced exploration and development of musical and technical skills to prepare you for your chosen field at a professional level. The module includes one-to-one tuition, performance classes, workshops, masterclasses, lessons from visiting professors, ensemble activities, seminars, and relevant lecture series.
1 & 2 50
MU5719

Principal Study (Composition) Level 7 (I)

The Principal Study is a central part of your learning experience at NAFA. It involves advanced exploration and development of musical and technical skills to prepare you for your chosen field at a professional level. The module includes one-to-one tuition, performance classes, workshops, masterclasses, lessons from visiting professors, ensemble activities, seminars, and relevant lecture series.
1 & 2 75
MU5730

Advanced Schenkerian Analysis Level 7*

The module focuses on applied musical analysis in performance, aiming to deepen students' understanding of analytical principles from a practitioner-led perspective. It explores alternative expressive possibilities and the broader use of Schenkerian concepts in various musical contexts. Students would be required to have a mastery in Schenkerian Analysis at Level 6.
1 & 2 15
MU5733

Composition Supporting Studies Year 1 Level 7

(required for MComp students)
This module is designed to help composers develop their professional practice. It covers diverse topics, such as the composer as performer, approaches to electronic music and field recording, interdisciplinary composition and collaboration, and contemporary approaches to composition. Interspersed with these will be a series of talks by visiting composers and artists, practical workshops, and presentations by composers on their own work.
1 & 2 15
MU5734 This module offers the opportunity to develop advanced skills in transcribing music from one instrumental medium (e.g., piano) to another, larger one (e.g., orchestra). You will be introduced to a variety of approaches and techniques that may be effective in undertaking this task, before going on to formulate and complete a varied portfolio of orchestrations, in which you will be able to put into practice what you have learnt. 1 & 2 15
MU5735

Orchestration for Chinese Orchestra Level 7*

This module explores relevant models of Chinese orchestral/instrumental transcription, other Chinese orchestral repertoire, as well as how to write effectively for Chinese orchestra and other ensembles. Students learn to use Chinese instrumentation to define and articulate compositional ideas.
1 & 2 15
MU5736

Teaching Music Level 7*

This module enables students to engage with the concept of music teaching as a sociocultural practice, developing skills relating to lesson planning and delivery, and exploring modes of assessment and progression in music education.
1 & 2 15
MU5737

Practical Teaching Portfolio*

This module draws on practical teaching situations whilst enhancing awareness of learning by introducing a range of pedagogical methods and approaches through workshops delivered by expert practitioners.
- 15
MU5740

International Placement (Masters)

This module provides the opportunity to study in a foreign environment, both as a musical and personal experience. Students will receive Principal Study tuition and attend Faculty and Performance Classes at the partner institution. Students may have the opportunity to take part in the orchestra and/or ensembles at the partner institution, on the premise of audition, and the availability of positions in diverse ensembles.
1 & 2 -
MU5743

Conducting Level 7*

An introduction to conducting skills, and the art of decision making as needed for conductors, specifically on how to make musical (i.e. interpretative) decisions and then put them into practice through gesture and rehearsal. The course will follow a rolling programme of practical sessions in which you will be required to conduct the group of your classmates towards your own interpretative ideas.
1 & 2 15
MU5751

Chamber Music Level 7*

In this module you will develop the skills required to work effectively as a professional chamber musician. Working closely with the other members of your group, you will rehearse regularly together and receive specialist coaching. Your group will work together to curate and rehearse a short programme for examination at the end of the spring term.
1 & 2 15
MU5754

Music, Culture, and Society Level 7*

This module explores the interdisciplinary nature of ethnomusicology, particularly its relationship with anthropology, diaspora, gender, language, politics, race, and religion. The module introduces the key texts and various approaches to ethnomusicology. Through selected readings and discussion sessions, students will learn about the relationship between music and society.
1 & 2 15
MU5763

Professional Musician Level 7*

This module prepares you for a healthy, proactive, and sustainable career in music through individual career coaching, cross-faculty group workshops, and industry knowledge and insights. Through these activities, you will explore a range of ideas and practices in the classical music profession today. On the completion of this module, you will have a deeper understanding of your artistic identity and areas for professional growth. 
1 & 2 15
MU5764

Professional Project Level 7*

In this module, you will develop and deliver a self-directed project with a professional focus. Your project must include an external-facing element. Examples could include: curating and presenting a concert in an external venue or festival; collaborating with an external artist to develop a new work; developing and pitching a business proposal; or undertaking a research project based on an extended work placement. With the support of a supervisor, you will develop an innovative project that builds on your musical strengths, interests, and professional aspirations. 
1 & 2 15
MU6719

Principal Study (Composition) Level 7 (II)

The Principal Study is a central part of your learning experience at NAFA. It involves advanced exploration and development of musical and technical skills to prepare you for your chosen field at a professional level. The module includes one-to-one tuition, performance classes, workshops, masterclasses, lessons from visiting professors, ensemble activities, seminars, and relevant lecture series.
1 & 2 75
MU6733

Composition Supporting Studies Year 2 Level 7

(required for MComp students)
This module is designed to help composers develop their professional practice. It covers diverse topics, such as the composer as performer, approaches to electronic music and field recording, interdisciplinary composition and collaboration, and contemporary approaches to composition. Interspersed with these will be a series of talks by visiting composers and artists, practical workshops, and presentations by composers on their own work.
1 & 2 15
MU6734

Orchestration Project Level 7*

This module offers the opportunity to undertake a more ambitious and extended challenge in orchestral transcription. You will formulate and complete an orchestration project which allows you to demonstrate imagination, range and ambition. To guide and inspire you, you will study innovative examples from 20th and 21st-century orchestral repertoire.
Pre-requisites: MU5734 Orchestration Portfolio Level 7
1 & 2 15
MU6751

Chamber Project Level 7 (15 credits)*

In this module you will continue to develop the skills required to work effectively as a professional chamber musician. Working closely with the other members of your group, you will rehearse regularly together and receive specialist coaching. Your group will work together to curate and rehearse a short programme assessed in Semester 2. Composers are also eligible to take this module in collaboration with an ensemble.
Pre-requisites: MU5751 Chamber Music Level 7
1 & 2 15
MU6752

Chamber Project Level 7 (30 credits)*

Designed for highly committed chamber groups, this module provides extended support and opportunities for your group to develop to a professional level. Working closely with the other members of your group, you will rehearse regularly together and receive specialist coaching. Your group will work together to curate and rehearse a full concert programme for public performance. .
Pre-requisites: MU5751 Chamber Music Level 7
1 & 2 30

*Electives

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entry requirements

NAFA hopes to attract applicants with the potential to become excellent arts practitioners. Applicants are selected by merit, based on the following criteria:

  • Potential in Artistic Talent and Creativity
  • Educational Qualifications
  • Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning (APEL)
  • English Language Proficiency
  • Age Requirement

Selection is competitive and is subject to the availability of places. However, the Academy may give consideration to talented applicants who excel in Artistic Talent and Creativity, but have not fully met the education qualification stated.


In order to be considered for enrolment into the Master of Composition programme, all prospective students should meet both the educational and audition requirements.

Audition: Portfolio Submission and Interview

Audition date for AY2023/24 (August) intake is scheduled for Saturday, 29 April 2023 at NAFA, Singapore.

  • All applicants are to submit a portfolio of at least two, but no more than five, contrasting examples of their compositions.

  • All applicants are required to submit their portfolio to the Students Admissions Office at least 3 weeks in advance of their scheduled audition.

  • Written scores may be submitted as PDF files. Do not send Sibelius files unless they are accompanied by PDF files of the same material. Recordings should be in a file format that can be read in VLC or Windows Media Player.

  • Individual works should be clearly indexed on the accompanying documentation. All recordings should be clearly labelled with your name and the title of the piece.

  • On the day of the audition, you may submit your work as written scores, recordings or a combination of the two. Please ensure that written music is clear and legible with full information of instrumentation, scoring and performance details.

  • Additionally, all applicants will be required to submit a personal statement (250 – 350 words) to support their application for the Master of Composition programme. The personal statement should be based on the following questions:
    • Why are you applying for the Master of Composition programme, based on your ambitions and interests?
    • What skills do you possess that make you suitable for the rigorous demands of the programme?

  • Applicants will require two professional references emailed directly to NAFA Admissions.

  • Applicants whose portfolios demonstrate potential will be invited to an admission interview. The interview will include a series of simple aural tests.

  • All applicants will be asked about their intentions and expectations of the programme, as well as how the Master of Composition programme will be useful to their future plans.

  • Typical questions you may be asked during your interview include:
    • Why do you want to study at NAFA?
    • What are your musical interests?
    • What do you think you need to do most to improve your writing?

  • The panel will be looking for evidence of both a talent for composition and the ability to realise effectively your ideas in a variety of forms and media.

  • Though live auditions are preferred, an online interview may be arranged by the Student Admissions Office for applicants who are unable to attend a live audition.
Audition Date
4 to 8 December 2023
26 to 29 February 2024
22 to 25 April 2024

Note: You will be notified of the outcome of your application 4 to 6 weeks after your portfolio interview or audition. Some application outcomes may take longer than expected.

Applicants are required to have at least:

  • A relevant undergraduate degree from RCM-NAFA or a recognised institution, usually in Music
  • Degree transcripts must indicate passing grades in equivalent RCM-NAFA Bachelor of Music modules
Applicants whose qualifications do not conform to the above requirements (such as those with relevant experience or prior learning) may be considered on a case-by-case basis. In such cases, approval by the Royal College of Music will be required prior to final acceptance into the programme.

 

Applicants whose qualifications do not conform to the above requirements (such as those with relevant experience or prior learning) may be considered on a case-by-case basis. In such cases, approval by the Royal College of Music will be required prior to final acceptance into the programme.

The minimum entry requirement for English language proficiency is IELTS Academic Band 5.5 or equivalent.*

*Waived for NAFA applicants who have successfully completed NAFA's Bachelor of Music. Non-NAFA applicants who have successfully completed a recognised and approved Diploma qualification or higher, where the language of instruction was English, may be given a waiver on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants should be 20 years of age or older in the year of admission to the Master of Composition programme.


How to Apply

Take the leap! Begin the journey to becoming a world-class musician.

Apply online

Apply online here.

Keep the Application Acknowledgement for your reference and submit the required documents

Keep the Application Acknowledgement for your reference and submit the required documents for verification within five working days from the application date at:

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
Campus 1 (Admissions counter at level 1)
80 Bencoolen Street
Singapore 189655

Operating Hours
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
Closed on Saturday, Sunday, and Public Holidays

Alternatively, you can email a copy of the required documents to [email protected].

Required documents for verification:
  • NRIC for Singapore Citizens (SC) or Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR), passport and valid Student’s Pass card (if applicable) for international students

  • English proficiency qualifications (e.g. IELTS/TOEFL iBT), if applicable

  • Academic certificates and transcripts:
    • If you are currently in your final semester, please submit all your academic transcripts up to the latest available semester result. Subsequently, please submit your Educational certificate and full academic transcript (all semesters) within 5 working days from the official release date

Make payment of the Application Fee at the cashier counter in NAFA or online

Make a payment of the Application Fee at the cashier counter at the NAFA Campus or online at https://payment.nafa.edu.sg/Students. Applicants who are paying online will be required to upload the above documents to the application portal or email them to [email protected].

Receive a letter by email

You will receive an email from the Student Admissions Office on the details of your portfolio interview upon receipt of all required documents and portfolio.

Application outcome

Receive the outcome of your application via email within 4 – 6 weeks after your Portfolio Submission/Interview/Audition or Admission Test.