Paul M Baker – Principal

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Principal’s Message

Why study at BAPA?

Tuition v Education.

There are many music tuition centres all over Malaysia where a 30 minute piano lesson will cost little more than lunch at a food stall. There will always be a market for such tuition but at The British Academy of Performing Arts we don’t offer music tuition, we provide “Performing Arts Education”. An education which is based on the 4 pillars of a British or western performing arts education system and the reason why the UK is still regarded as one of the finest education systems in the world. These pillars are:

  1.  Quality
  2. Environment
  3. Discipline
  4. Performance

Quality is the main benchmark for most Malaysians and at BAPA we ensure quality through a rigorous selection procedure for our tutors and coaches. ALL have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in their chosen subject with many having studied at Masters level in the UK, Australia or the US in world renowned conservatories or performing arts schools. Furthermore, every single one of our tutors is a seasoned and highly skilled performer in their own right. During their studies, our tutors have been taught correct teaching techniques as well as performance skills. That’s why we don’t employ tutors who have only gained a Grade 8 or even a Diploma in their studies. The quality of our teaching staff is also the main reason why our fees are somewhat higher than most other performing arts schools locally. Most of our teachers started having fee paying lessons at a very early age, went on to study at conservatories and universities, continued with postgraduate studies and as a result, have probably spent considerably more on their education than a medical student has by the time he or she graduates as a doctor.

“ALL have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in their chosen subject with many having studied at Masters level in the UK, Australia or the US in world renowned conservatories or performing arts schools.”

Environment plays a huge part in a western education. If you study music, acting or dance in London, Birmingham, Paris, New York or Melbourne, you have the opportunity on any given evening or weekend to choose from hundreds of plays, musicals, concerts, ballets and so on to attend. Plus as a performer you get the opportunity to perform in pubs, clubs, recital halls, theatres or amateur groups. In Malaysia we know we can’t offer that diversity and choice….yet. But we can ensure that BAPA becomes a hub for the performing arts with concerts, recitals and presentations taking place every week as well as acting as a centre for community performing arts. Our weekly activities and twice yearly major productions and concerts will give our students the best opportunity to literally “wallow” in creativity thus enhancing their all-round performing arts education and experience.

“(…) we can ensure that BAPA becomes a hub for the performing arts with concerts, recitals and presentations taking place every week as well as acting as a centre for community performing arts.”

Discipline is at the very centre of life itself and even more so for an aspiring performing artist. As a musician, actor or dancer you simply can’t turn up “late” for a performance or rehearsal. If you do, not only will you lose your job you may well not be invited to work again for quite a while. “It’s so jammed lah!” simply won’t be accepted as an excuse. At BAPA we place great emphasis on attendance and punctuality as being an essential part of your performing arts education to the extent that late-comers to group classes will not be admitted to that class for the day. This might seem heavy handed to those used to the Malaysian way of life but once self-discipline becomes an integral part of your life it will impact positively on whatever you do in the future; performing arts or otherwise.

“As a musician, actor or dancer you simply can’t turn up “late” for a performance or rehearsal.”

Performance is central to everything we do and strive for. Our first goal for a student of any age and in any discipline who comes to us as a beginner is “How soon can we prepare them for their first performance, however simple?” and NOT “How soon can we prepare them for their first exam!” Whilst examinations can often be appropriate for students as a means of measuring progress and stretching their skills (and our academic panel will meet twice yearly to recommend which students should be entered or not), they should never be the focus. Many younger students simply give up music after a few short years due to them being forced to face the same pressures of achieving good exam results as they are at school. What is supposed to be an outlet for creativity, developing technical, social skills and character building becomes just another academic target in a life revolving around fulfilling parental expectations. Performance on the other hand revolves around working as a team, honing presentation skills and most important of all, learning how to communicate the emotions and power of music, dance and drama to a watching or listening audience. Learning how the trio of performer/s, the piece being performed and the audience become bound together in a shared moment of time is a truly life changing experience. This is quite simply why our primary motto is “Bringing Performance to LIFE!”

“(…) our primary motto is “Bringing Performance to LIFE!” “

So the 4 pillars; Quality, Environment, Discipline and Performance and our commitment to ensuring these pillars are 100% embedded in our Academy are what makes BAPA not only unique in Malaysia but allow us to set a new benchmark in excellence in performing arts education.

We believe that professionalism is an attitude of mind, NOT income and that building that mindset can be embarked on at any age. In fact the earlier the better.

So join us on a journey of fulfilment and excellence through our 4 pillars. We are confident you won’t find a finer institution anywhere that can bring Performance to YOUR Life!

Paul M Baker MBA, BMus(Hons), LRAM, LTCL
Principal & CEO – British Academy of Performing Arts