Sparking Regional Synergies 2019 SEADOM Congress

Chenter Foundation supported the YST conservatory for its students’ attendance at the 2019 SEADOM Congress as part of a gift towards our community outreach.

Article by:
Ilysia Tan Jiayng (Year 2, Composition – front row, fifth from left)
Nigel Foo Shi Rong (Year 2, Harp – back row, sixth from left)

Photo credits:
Southeast Asian Directors of Music (SEADOM) Congress and attendees

From 11-16 March, we took part in the 2019 Southeast Asian Directors of Music (SEADOM) Congress at the Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) Yogyakarta. This Congress was a great opportunity for us to broaden our musical exposure, and network with students, educators and music institution leaders from the region and beyond.

During the first three days, we took part in the Gamelan Project, where we learned and practised Javanese gamelan under our teacher Pak Anon Suneko, alongside students from Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. While we were already familiar with playing the gamelan from world music classes at YST, we learned a traditional Javanese form called the lancaran, and were challenged to compose a new piece based on this form within just five minutes! This was an especially wild experience for Ilysia, who would usually compose a piece over several weeks as part of her Major studies. Crazy as the task seemed, everyone contributed their ideas and we were able to create a new piece along with lyrics, which we titled the ‘Lancaran SEADOM’.

Aside from composing the ‘Lancaran SEADOM’, we learned three new pieces, which we performed on our fourth day for the rest of the Congress participants, and visited the Borobudur Temple. It was a great experience bonding and playing with newly-found friends, and the audience enjoyed our performance as well! Similarly, Muhamad Haris bin Arifin, a student from the Faculty of Music, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Malaysia, shared, “It really impacted and motivated me to know that I was sharing my knowledge among friends.”

On the fifth and sixth days, we participated in the SEADOM Congress presentations and discussions alongside educators and institutional leaders, where we shared and openly debated on topics in quality assurance and professional music training, alongside others including leadership, communication and advocacy, quality in teaching and learning, and Southeast Asian music traditions.

Participating these discussions truly allowed us to understand a different part of the music landscape in Southeast Asia, and to see how educators and institutional leaders are looking into these issues so as to improve our school systems. Jacquelyn Koh, a student from the Sydney Conservatorium, Australia, reflected, “I learned about current concerns and issues faced by educators and musicians in Southeast Asia. At the same time, I was very glad that we were able to contribute our thoughts, ideas and personal experiences as student representatives in the discussions.”

As a final note, we would like to express our sincere thanks to YST for this learning opportunity, and to the Chenter Foundation for kindly supporting our trip. We hope that more people can learn about SEADOM and how it is impacting higher music education in Southeast Asia, and have certainly learned a lot from this experience!

All Congress attendees in a group photo.