Raffles Institution

Music Elective Programme Frequently Asked Questions


    1. What is RI MEP?

    As the name suggests, this is an elective programme for RI students who have been identified to have special music abilities and are willing to further their interest in this area. The main objective of RI MEP would be to enable the students to acquire and consolidate a broad range of musical skills, via activities of listening, performing and the study of harmony and analysis. As well in line with objectives laid down by Ministry of Education, RI MEP would assist students to develop a perceptive and critical response to the styles of music around the world.
    MEP lessons at Year 1 and 2 are conducted during curriculum time. In Years 3 and 4, MEP lessons are conducted every Tuesday after school, from 2.30pm to 5.30pm. All Year 1-4 MEP students are also involved in a one-hour contemporary chamber music programme every Thursday, between 2.45-5.45pm.

    2. Is RI MEP the same as the MEP in other schools?

    The curriculum content coverage is similar however as RI MEP is part of the Raffles Programme, RIMEP is structured by the framework (i.e. Values, Mission and Goals, Approaches to Learning, Curriculum Organisers) of the Raffles Programme. The RI MEP teachers are fully aware of the tremendous potential in each and every RI MEP student and are committed to furthering their musical talents and interests.

    3. How is RI MEP different from the practical/theory music examinations set by ABRSM/Trinity School of Music?

    RIMEP should not be understood as yet another music examination. It is a comprehensive programme that prepares the students to be equipped in a broad range of musical skills, including performing, composing and academic writing and research. While the contents of the programme by these two different institutions are not mutually exclusive of one another, one must appreciate the differences in terms of the objectives of the respective programme.

    4. How will MEP fit with the rest of the subjects at Year One?

    MEP will be an examinable subject like the other core subjects (i.e. the final score could be used to compute the final average). Based on past years’ results, it is expected that RI MEP students will fare very well in the examination and as mentioned in question 3, you should not be unduly worried about this.

    5. Can my son take up MEP as well as a 3rd Language / Malay Special Programme (MSP)?

    Due to the workload and time commitment involved in elective programmes, students are strongly advised to take up only ONE elective subject.

    6. Will my son be allowed to drop MEP if he is unable to cope with the subject?

    MEP is a 4-year commitment from Year 1. Students will be advised to withdraw from the programme upon advice from the school in relation to his subject GP and GPA.

    7. Can my son take up MEP at Year 2 or Year 3?

    Yes, however admission to MEP at Year 2 or 3 is based on a written and practical test and would be highly dependent on the level and rigour of music lesson he has been receiving outside school. The music training he is receiving outside is quite different from the music lesson in RIMEP. (refer question 3)


    8. Do RI MEP students pay subsidized school fees?

    Yes, RI MEP students at Year 1-4 (Singapore citizens, PR and foreigners) enjoy subsidy for the school fees, under the MEP Independent School Fee Subsidy. This fee subsidy takes precedence over any other scholarships (eg. EESIS) that a student may be eligible for. At Year 5-6, only students taking MEP at Higher 3 (H3) level receive subsidy for their school fees. Students taking MEP at Higher 2 (H2) level in Year 5 & 6 do not receive subsidy for their school fees unless they are awarded the EESIS or other scholarships.

    9. What will happen to my son’s MEP subsidy if he withdraws from the Programme?

    If your son was awarded the EESIS, the EESIS will kick in once he withdraws from MEP. If your son does not have any other scholarship, he will have to pay the full independent school fees after withdrawing from the Music Elective Programme.

    10. Does my son need to continue with his instrumental lessons outside school?

    Yes, all MEP students are to carry on his instrumental tuition with his own music teacher, because the latter will be in a better position to advise him with regards to the solo performance of his chosen instrument specialisation. The music teachers in RI will be covering broad areas of musical studies including performance, composing, analytical listening and world music.

    11. Do I have to pay for my son’s private instrumental lessons outside school?

    Yes. With the school fees subsidised as an MEP student, it is hoped that parents will be able to afford to pay for their sons’ private instrumental lessons.

    12. How can my son go about learning a 2nd instrument and/or playing in an ensemble (duet, trio, quartet, quintet, etc.) in RI?

    As all RI MEP students are required to take up a Music CCA in RI, every MEP student will either learn a 2nd instrument through their CCA (from Year 1) or play in a small ensemble with their CCA (from Year 2). Pianists (in MEP) in a music CCA will definitely learn a 2nd instrument (eg. wind, brass or percussion instruments in the Band; Chinese string, wind, percussion instruments or Western cello and double bass in the Chinese Orchestra; classical guitar in the Guitar Ensemble; viola, cello or double bass in the String Ensemble; or Voice in Raffles Voices). All MEP violinists are encouraged to join the String Ensemble, with some given the golden opportunity to learn the viola as well. Violinists are also encouraged to learn the erhu (a Chinese bowed string instrument) as a 2nd instrument in the Chinese Orchestra, or with a private instructor.

    The Chamber Music Programme in RI provides professional coaching, learning and performing opportunities for MEP and musically-talented pupils in the Music CCA to enjoy making and performing music with a small group of friends. It promotes musical, cognitive, social and emotional development in students as well as allows them to apply what is learnt in the classroom. It is hoped that students in various chamber groups will forge very close ties and bonds among themselves that will last a lifetime of music making.

    13. Will my son take the GCE ‘O’ Level Music Exam at the end of Year 4?

    No. RI (and RGS) MEP students do not sit for the GCE ‘O’ Level music exam at the end of Year 4. Instead, they will take the internal Raffles Programme MEP exam, just like all the other subjects.

    MEP at Year 5/6

    14. If my son is already in the MEP programme at Year 1-4, is he automatically eligible for MEP programme at Year 5-6?

    No. Enrollment at year 5-6 is based on a separate round of audition and diagnostic test. This is to make sure that students who are interested can manage the workload and do well for ‘A’ Level music. We may recommend some students to do ‘A’ Level music only, instead of being part of the MEP programme.

    15. What is the difference between only doing ‘A’ Level music at year 5-6 and being part of the MEP programme?

    Music as ‘A’ Level subject is offered at two different levels. For students who wish to be part of the MEP programme, they have to enroll in BOTH H2 and H3 music. Their enrolment in the MEP program will have an effect on their school fee (which will be subsidized), and opportunities offered by MOE (e.g. MEP scholarship, MEP concert, workshop etc.). For students who do not wish to take H3 music, they will NOT be considered for the subsidy and opportunities offered by MOE, although there are equal opportunities opened to them in our Raffles Music Program, year 5-6.

    16. What is the requirement for music at H3 level?

    For music at H3 level, each student has to do an independent research based on a topic of his/her choice. For details related to ‘A’ Level syllabus, please see MOE website