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MSM’s new directions seek to deepen connections with the Methodist community

Ms Clarissa Tan, Executive Director of MSM
Ms Clarissa Tan, Executive Director of MSM

The Methodist School of Music (MSM) celebrated its 27th anniversary and held a thanksgiving service on 27 April 2024 at Bukit Panjang Methodist Church. At the service, Executive Director Ms Clarissa Tan, who assumed her role on 1 March last year, articulated MSM’s new plans in her speech.

“MSM wants to meet the worship and music ministry needs of the local churches, and support churches to build more vibrant liturgical worship services,” said Ms Tan.

Beyond the Methodist community, Ms Tan said the community music programmes would serve the purpose of outreach, providing music education in a Christian environment. In all their endeavours, Ms Tan said the main vision of MSM was to share “life-transforming music with a missional purpose” with everyone and use music to uplift the vulnerable or neglected in society, such as the elderly with dementia or those with special needs.

MSM Elementary Violin Ensemble
MSM Elementary Violin Ensemble

A music school with Methodist heritage

MSM has been structured to engage Methodist churches and pre-believers via its two main departments that oversee Worship Music and Community Music respectively. In 2024, MSM received invitations from other Methodist agencies such as Methodist Welfare Services and Methodist Missions Society to collaborate. Of significance is a new music programme at St Francis Methodist School that MSM is helping to design and execute.

While there are many secular and Christian music schools in Singapore, MSM’s uniqueness stems from its Methodist identity and deep heritage in Christian music. MSM promotes the learning of music not for its own sake, but for serving others.

“Because music comforts, music heals and music connects, MSM is heeding God’s call to use music to touch the lives of many,” Ms Tan said.

The ACJC Alumni Choir conducted by Mrs Valarie Wilson
The ACJC Alumni Choir conducted by Mrs Valarie Wilson

The work of the Christian musician

The anniversary service showcased the Methodist Festival Choir and violin students of MSM’s community music classes. Mrs Valarie Wilson, the principal of Methodist Girls’ School and an accomplished musician, was the Guest- of-Honour. Also the conductor of the ACJC Alumni Choir, which was present at the service as the guest choir, Mrs Wilson shared personally on using God’s gifts to bless others in love, and how, through the gift of music, she strives to love God and others.

“1 Corinthians 13 is a reminder that all good gifts we have come to nought if we have no love; without love, I am only— perhaps even literally—a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal,” she said.

She also spoke on “self-forgetting”, a term coined by the late Timothy Keller, as her approach to music with gospel humility.  “Gospel humility, as C S Lewis puts it, isn’t thinking less of ourselves, nor more of ourselves. It is thinking about ourselves less,” Mrs Wilson said.

Gospel humility, as C S Lewis puts it, isn’t thinking less of ourselves, nor more of ourselves. It is thinking about ourselves less
Mrs Wilson said.

The congregation was treated to three songs by the ACJC Alumni Choir, which will also be performed at their annual May concert.

Methodist Festival Choir with Dr Judith Laoyan-Mosomos
Methodist Festival Choir with Dr Judith Laoyan-Mosomos

What MSM wants to do with the Methodist community:

  • Deepen engagement with churches, schools and agencies through partnerships and collaborations
  • Increase relevant programme offerings e.g. church-based training for worship leaders and musicians

For the latest news, upcoming events and exclusive content, follow MSM at https://bit.ly/FollowMSM

Lianne Ong is the Editor of Methodist Message. / Photos courtesy of Methodist School of Music

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