Introducing NICA – A Stronger Voice for Band Directors

In its recent Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Band Directors’ Association of Singapore (BDAS) saw the formation of a new committee for the term 2020-2022 under re-elected president Adrian Chiang.

“I am truly privileged to be granted another term to serve the community. The Association pledges to continue to work hard on providing more meaningful engagements in areas of performance opportunities and quality music programmes for directors and students.”

Serving as a professional body for band directors who are directing/teaching bands in local schools, tertiary institutions and respective community groups, the association organizes regular events for its members and the band community, in order to continue the development of the band movement in Singapore.

Today, members of BDAS can become part of the National Instructors and Coaches Association (NICA), which seeks to represent instructors and coaches in the fields of sports, outdoor learning and adventure, fitness and wellness, and visual and performing arts.

Set up by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) in January 2019, NICA provides a collective voice to freelancers/self-employed persons who were previously unrepresented in workplace matters and to uplift competencies. It also aims to progressively enhance professional standards by working closely with key stakeholders and various agencies.

“By encouraging our BDAS members to sign up for the NICA membership, it will benefit them, as well as the band industry as a whole. Apart from the NTUC lifestyle benefits, NICA members can also enjoy course subsidy through the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) and preferential insurance rates for Prolonged Medical Leave Insurance.”

“More importantly, we will be actively seeking to engage fellow band directors in terms of upgrading of skills and increasing employ-ability. This will be an ongoing process where we will be working with NICA to identify the specific areas and types of resources we can get to support our members in staying competitive in this fast-changing landscape. We also hope to be working closer with various stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education (MOE) and National Arts Council (NAC) to explore how we can further develop programmes to increase engagement levels with a wider audience.”

Through NICA, it is in the BDAS committee’s hopes that they will have a bigger and stronger voice to effect change and support to instructors. Adrian believes that the support from NICA will allow BDAS to be better represented, and for their concerns to be heard; which in turn increases the credibility of the association.

“While NICA represents collective aspirations of instructors, getting the messages across effectively can prove to be a challenging endeavor and we can only achieve greater success in numbers. Only through strong membership can NICA’s collective voice to represent instructors be stronger. ”

“Additionally, getting plugged into the NTUC network also allows BDAS to connect stakeholders that can help to profile our industry which may be lesser known to the public at large. This may potentially bring about exciting opportunities for collaborations or cross partnerships to help make our wind band scene more vibrant. In fact, when it comes to elevating the wind band scene, BDAS is taking a step further by working on a research project to look into the various aspects of uplifting the wind band scene, hoping that the insights obtained will benefit the musicians of generations to come.”

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