NOT much has changed in the looks and functions of musical instruments such as the piano or the violin over the past few decades.
But as technology increasingly becomes a part of our everyday life, it is now also playing a bigger role in music production and composition.
Internationally recognised IMH Academy is the first musical institution in the state to accommodate the study of digital music and music technology to train aspiring music composers, sound designers, and recording engineers.
“Music degrees are no longer tied down to teaching and performing as today’s music major graduates have a great variety of professional fields open to them,” IMH Academy digital music lecturer Marvin Jong told thesundaypost.
“Contrary to the general perception that most music graduates in the country end up becoming music teachers or performers, a music graduate can be a composer/song writer, music publisher, music journalist, music therapist, artist manager and so on in the music industry.”
The impact of digital technology on music, he said, could not be overstated.
“Digital music technology is applied not only in the music, film and television industries but also in the production of sound for live music at concerts and so on.”
At the academy, students are taught to sequence music digitally as well as to come up with their own music arrangement.
“The digital music programme allows students to express their creativity in music through multimedia applications and equips them with industry level knowledge,”Jong said.
Meanwhile, the music technology programme takes students to a higher level and emphasises on the integration of musical and technical skills.
“Music technology maintains a close alliance with performance and composition, encouraging collaborations that explore new relationships between experimental and traditional approaches to music.
“With more budding singers and musicians now hooked up on Youtube and Myspace to showcase their talents, this programme also teaches them the proper approach towards home studio recording,” he said.
“A lot of our students from the classical music stream have also branched into this specialisation as it covers arrangement and theoretical of music while at the same time, gives them the freedom to be creative,” Jong said of the two degree programmes offered at the academy, which focus not only on the sound technology aspects but also guide the students to be industrious through music business modules.
To accommodate the students in this stream, the academy’s facilities include computer music labs and a fully-equipped recording studio.
Students are able to take advantage of the recording studio helmed by professional music producer Chris Servey, who recently joined the academy, having moved here from the UK.
“I have been recording and producing under the name Rox Box Productions before joining IMH Academy and my emphasis has always been on making professional recordings rather than so-called demo standard recordings and as a result, the artistes I have produced have all reached the point with their music that they want more,” Servey said.
So far, Servey, who is also a vocal coach at the academy, has produced more than 25 artistes and recorded five albums.
Among the local talents he produced, Crashing Butterflies, Sharon Lugun, Gabriel Louis and sound circus have since created a name for themselves through television appearances and national radio airplay.
“Sound circus also won silver for Best Hip Hop song with ‘Jamalao’ at the Malaysian Music Awards in Kuala Lumpur and was the only group to be nominated from the Sarawak region,” he revealed.
Apart from students, Servey disclosed that aspiring singers and bands wishing to record their albums could do so at the academy with assurance that the album would be of high quality.
On the prerequisites of the programmes, Jong pointed out that they were not limited to those with music qualifications.
“As long as they have a high level of interest in music, they are welcome to apply.”
Students undertaking the three-year programme have the option to choose either to study two years at the academy and one year at University of Glamorgan in the UK.
Other options they can opt for include twinning with Australian universities such as University of Southern Queensland or James Cook University as well as local universities like Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sabah, which has one of the largest technology music departments in East Malaysia.
IMH Academy prides itself as a music institution that offers only the best in its music programmes, and by combining technological expertise and creativity along with business acumen, these will go a long way to ensure that our Sarawakian talents can thrive in this exciting and often competitive world of the music industry.