By Leow Siwan
SHE does not know how to play any musical instrument.
But that did not prevent Ms Pradashini Subramaniam, 20, from becoming the first student without formal musical training to be accepted into the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore.
And that is not all.
She is the only student in the first intake of recording arts and sciences, which might see another five to six students accepted next year.
The programme was launched in June to train musically competent and technically trained professionals in audio-recording technology.
Through a hands-on approach, students will learn studio and recording techniques, and computer-based audio technology. They will get basic theoretical grounding in performance and composition, and will also take communication and new media modules.
Established in 2001, the conservatory offers a four-year, full-time Bachelor of Music degree course. Besides recording arts and sciences, two other majors are available - performance or composition.
Said the conservatory's director Bernard Lanskey: 'We selected Pradashini as she has the right academic credentials and good critical awareness...She also has a good balance of the arts and sciences, an important quality in audio recording personnel.'
Ms Subramaniam has a diploma in sonic arts from Republic Polytechnic (RP), where she learnt about studio techniques and sound design.
While at the polytechnic, she was selected for a summer internship programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She spent two months in the United States and worked on sound design for games.
'When I returned, RP told me about this opportunity at Yong Siew Toh. I decided to give it a try because in Singapore, I think this is the best place I can learn about audio technology,' she said.
Her passion for sound recording and technology started when she was a student at Westwood Secondary School. 'My friends wanted to dance to a medley of different songs so I went online, watched video tutorials and used computer software to combine songs...That was when I discovered my interest.'
The articulate and soft-spoken woman explained her sensitivity to sound. 'When people walk, most people hear footsteps but I can feel the rhythm and how footsteps can be in sync to form music.'
Her mother, who once worried about her job prospects when she seemed keen to pursue her studies in music, is now supportive.
Madam Letchimi Raman, 50, said: 'I had wondered if this course is practical. But now, looking at how interested she is in what she is doing, I feel happy for her.'
This article was first published in The Straits Times.