International College of Music (ICOM): Shaping The Future Generation Of Qualified Musicians

By Irene Savaree, President and CEO
Irene Savaree,President and CEO

Irene Savaree

President and CEO

With people now seeing music as a prospective career that offers a plethora of growth opportunities, higher education institutes have started offering programs to develop musicians that can carve out a path for themselves. Leading the music education strata in South East Asia is the International College of Music (ICOM). In the 1980s, a handful of accomplished musicians went to the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA (USA) and returned home to pioneer the development of the professional music industry in Malaysia. However, there was a void for a similar school of contemporary music locally to feed the music industry with educated musicians trained in the areas of songwriting, arranging, music production and engineering and film scoring. The International College of Music (ICOM) was established in Malaysia in 1996 with the mission to discover and develop musicians that can achieve fruitful careers in the professional music industry.

Offering Class-Leading Music Education
ICOM's vision is to be the music education hub in Asia, offering innovative programs that lead to music enterprise. The institute is the only private college of contemporary music in Malaysia to offer a professional music education at diploma and degree level. Owing to the fact that ICOM was established by musicians for musicians, the entire structure and curriculum of the institute is different from other music courses offered by traditional institutions. "We strive to offer contemporary music education and our commitment is backed by our investment of over RM 40 million in the college's facilities which include a recording studio, a surround sound production suite, acoustically treated practice rooms and ensemble rooms, classrooms, a music library and a performance hall that seats 150 people. Currently, we have tertiary level full-time programs, after school music programs for secondary school musicians, school holiday music programs for young musicians from 8 to 18 years old, corporate training programs and teacher training programs. Our programs
are custom designed and developed to ensure maximum growth opportunities for our students", said Irene Savaree, President and CEO, ICOM.

"Owing to the fact that ICOM was established by musicians for musicians, the entire structure and curriculum of the institute is different from other music courses offered by traditional institutions"

Tertiary level programs include the 2-year Diplomas in Music and Sound Production and a Bachelor of Music (Hons) in Professional Music with four specializations in music performance, arranging, music production and music business. The music degree program is four years in duration with one year of music foundation followed by three years of degree-level education. Students who complete the one-year music foundation may opt to continue their music degree at the Berklee College of Music or continue at ICOM on the 3-year degree which is developed by ICOM and validated by the University of Wolverhampton (UK). Both degree options are unique as they are internationally recognized degree programs and graduates are able to secure employment globally or pursue an education at a graduate level anywhere in the world.

The ICOM After School (IAS) program is a noble nation-building initiative to discover and develop musicians who are studying at secondary schools across public, private and international schools and offer them a platform where they can hone their skills. Leveraging on ICOM's exclusive partnership with Apple and Avid Technology, short course offerings of the institute also include Pro Tools 101, Pro Tools 110, Logic 101 and Sibelius software training with certification. These programs benefit practicing musicians, audio engineers and music producers to master their knowledge and skills in operating industry-standard software to compose and produce music.

Hitting the Right Chords
Since its inception, ICOM is the sole Berklee Global Partner institution in South East Asia. ICOM's curriculum articulation agreement with Berklee paves the way for students across Asia to transfer credits to Berklee upon completion of the Foundation in Music program. Catering to the needs of a global audience, ICOM has also an international student's office which caters to the needs and
services of international students from visa processing and renewals, airport pickup and assistance with housing, setting up bank accounts and registering for utilities. All this ensures that at ICOM, students are comfortable with both the campus and its surroundings.

In addition to a holistic academic experience, there are a wide variety of extra-curricular music activities available both on-campus and off-campus for students to engage in to get a 360-degree experience, such as participation in the annual ICOM album production in the areas of song composition, arranging, performance, studio engineering, marketing and promotions, participation in the ICOM Celebration Series Concert program in the areas of arranging, performance, music direction, live sound engineering, concert lighting, and concert promotion. Apart from this, the students at ICOM also get the opportunity to perform in professional gigs through ICOM events at 4-star and 5-star hotels and be a part of various international music or songwriting competitions. To realize their aim of becoming the flag-bearer in the sector, ICOM is home to serious musicians with aspirations for a professional career in the international music industry and the teaching and learning at the institute are rigorous, yet engaging. For aspiring students, ICOM promises that you will experience world-class education in music and audio production which will help you in the journey to become the next big thing in the field of music.

Irene Savaree, President and CEO
Irene Savaree initiated the establishment of the International College of Music (ICOM) in Kuala Lumpur, and she oversees the institutional governance, curriculum development and institutional research and assessment. Ms. Savaree enjoyed an illustrious career as a recording artist in the 1980's, releasing three albums with EMI (Malaysia), under the group 'Cenderawasih' and toured across Malaysia, Singapore, Europe and the United States. Ms Savaree holds a Master of Science in Higher Education degree from the Drexel University (USA) and a Bachelor of Music in Commercial Arranging degree from the Berklee College of Music (USA).