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Career as an artist (musician) in Singapore?

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Old 28-02-2019, 11:38 PM
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Default Career as an artist (musician) in Singapore?

Hi, I have an interest in music and am wondering if it might be possible to pursue a career (full-time or freelance) as a musician in Singapore. I intend to specialise in composition (creating my own musical pieces) and one of my eventual goals is to be able to be a film or video game music composer.

However, I am quite uncertain about the prospects of pursuing such a path in Singapore. I know that the arts scene is fairly good, but individual artists themselves tend not to make a lot of money and often have to have backup jobs. I'm not even sure if there's a market niche for such jobs here (perhaps overseas).

I'm also open to and quite interested in studying psychology that would at least give me more chances in getting a stable job. But I don't want to give up music. I've figured out some options for me to take for university:
  • Go to a professional music school
  • Get a double degree in Psych and Music
  • Pursue consecutive Bachelor's degrees in Psych and Music
  • Get a Bachelor's for Psych, and pursue music in my own spare time (but opportunities to branch out and work with professionals are limited)
  • [Overseas] Study at a US university which has more opportunities (liberal arts approach)

I'm leaning highly towards the fourth option as US universities will allow you to explore general subjects in your first two years, so I get more time to decide, and they might offer the possibility of a double major combination in Psych and music too. Anyone with similar aspirations as an artist has any advice to share? Thanks so much!

Some notes on me:
-> Graduated from JC in 2017, now in NS
-> I have great interest in music but not enough experience in it, I've only been learning for about 3+ years. I'd rather not go to a professional music school straight away as I feel it's too risky.

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Old 14-03-2019, 07:54 PM
Void Deck Musician
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Hey man, salute to you for wanting to start a career in the music industry.

I'm a freelance acoustic guitarist since 2010 and I can tell you that, like any other industry, it is not THAT easy to be in.

BUT it is still possible to earn a living in Singapore as a musician although I'm not sure of your targeted income per month in order to live comfortably or consider this as a full-time job. I would say that it's quite a good life. Doing what you love and getting paid at the same time.

Here are some things that I would suggest you to do.

1) Knowledge of Music
Don't ever stop learning. Keep on practicing and creating whenever time permits you. Create loads and loads of tracks, compositions, arrangements etc on your free time.

2) Portfolio
Create a Channel and upload ALL of your stuff there. Why? Here you can compile all of your works and let your potential clients check you out before they decide to hire you. Honestly, this works for me. I house all my videos on my performances on with a playlist and send clients whenever necessary.

Also, create a "Showreel" with works that you've done in the past for your clients to see when you meet them (if applicable).

3) Network
After creating your portfolio, you need to network with people. There are a ton of video agencies who are looking for jingles, compositions for film or commercial etc etc. Approach them with your portfolio and (if you're starting out), try to take however much money as they give you. Take it like an "Intern" project and put it with your portfolio.

Another way to create all these networks is by approaching Film students who are desperate for tracks. I've done this before and some of the film students eventually graduated and do their own films. Who knows? With good relationships, they might call you one day!

LASTLY

I think pursuing music and a psych degree at the same time is good as long as you know how to juggle and prioritize your time. What is your end goal? Is a psych degree the "fall back" if you don't "Succeed" in doing music full time?

I wish you all the best man!

Cheers!
Cheng

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Old 18-03-2019, 08:22 PM
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Dear Cheng,

Hey man, thanks so much for taking the time to reply! I was having doubts about going down this path, so it's really reassuring for me to see that there are others who have the same dreams as I do

Quote:
Originally Posted by Void Deck Musician View Post
I'm a freelance acoustic guitarist since 2010 and I can tell you that, like any other industry, it is not THAT easy to be in.
Oh that's interesting! So you don't have any other "stable" job besides your guitar playing? If you don't mind me asking, how much on average do you earn a month from that? And what sorts of projects and gigs do you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Void Deck Musician View Post
BUT it is still possible to earn a living in Singapore as a musician although I'm not sure of your targeted income per month in order to live comfortably or consider this as a full-time job.
I would say $3-4k is a comfortable income salary, but I don't know if I could make this level of money just from freelancing alone. I wouldn't mind getting a secondary job in teaching music/Psych though!

I think showreels are mostly for acting/directing/photography though, I'm not sure how I would create one for musical works? (It'll be very weird to create a montage of different musical works without playing the full pieces)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Void Deck Musician View Post
Is a psych degree the "fall back" if you don't "Succeed" in doing music full time?
Yeah it is, my parents aren't comfortable with me pursuing a music degree alone

Out of curiosity, is there anywhere that I can discover your works/see your playing?


Last edited by Unsurestudent; 18-03-2019 at 08:26 PM.
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