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Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs are intended to support schools in their preparation for the 2024 Arts Presentation. Click on the question to view the answer.

Please email MOE_SYF_Secy@moe.gov.sg for general enquiries. For clarifications on category-specific matters, please contact the respective officers whose details are found in the notifications.


Who should I contact to seek copyright permission for the work(s) my school is performing? / 
What should I do if I am unsure of who owns the copyrights of a work? / 
How should I seek copyright clearance? Do I write to the copyright owner(s) ?
Schools are advised to first consult their conductor and / or instructor to find out with whom the copyrights reside (e.g., composer, arranger, publisher). Schools may also contact COMPASS (www.compass.org.sg) if in doubt. 

After identifying the copyright owner(s), schools should write to them directly to seek copyright permission. Written permission from the copyright owner(s) should be obtained for the school’s record purposes. There is no need to submit it to the SYF organiser.

How do I verify if my choice piece(s)/selected music accompaniment are copyrighted?
A work may be in public domain (i.e., there are no restrictions on how it may be used) if the composer or writer has passed on for more than 70 years. In some cases, even if the composer or writer has passed on, the copyrights may reside in the surviving kin of the composer and / or a publisher. It is therefore the school’s responsibility to ascertain if the work is indeed in public domain. 

There may be instances where a work is considered to be in public domain in one country but not in another country. Schools are advised to check the edition notes carefully to take note of country-specific copyright clauses. 

Schools may also consult their conductor and / or instructor for advice, or approach COMPASS (www.compass.org.sg) if in doubt.

Under what circumstances do I need to seek written permission from copyright owner(s)? What types of copyright permission do I need to obtain? Please refer to the table on the Copyright Information page at www.syf.gov.sg/arts-presentation/copyright-information.
What should we do if we do not receive a response from the copyright owner of a work? Schools are advised to seek copyright permission early. Should there be no response from the copyright owner(s), schools should change their selected work(s) to ones for which they have copyright permission.

Alternatively, schools may select work(s) that do not require copyright permission (e.g., works in the public domain).


Can schools perform their works for SYF AP in school events before or after the AP period? Schools may perform their works for SYF AP in school assemblies and activities where the audience comprises staff, students, parents, siblings of students, whether before or after the AP.

Copyright permission does not need to be obtained for these performances if:

  • The school has purchased/rented the original works from publishers.
  • The selected works have NOT been modified. If the selected works have been modified, consent from the copyright owner(s) is required.
  • The event will not be video-recorded. Recording of any form that can lead to the sharing of the content online will require copyright owner(s)’ consent, regardless of modification(s).
  • The activity/event is initiated by the school. If the school is invited to perform at external event(s), consent from the copyright owner(s) is required.
Can the video of the school’s performance be shared with parents through social media/ Parent’s Gateway? The copyright permission obtained for the school’s SYF AP performances applies to the SYF event only. Schools will need to contact the copyright owner(s) again to seek permission if they wish to put up the video recordings on the Internet for members of the public to access. This additional permission given may come with a cost, depending on the agreement the school reaches with the copyright owners.
When will we receive the videos and photos taken during the AP? For SYF 2024 AP, the professional videos (only if consent is given by the copyright owner, or if the school owns the copyright) and photos will be sent to the schools in June 2024.
How can schools make use of the SYF AP Benchmarking Criteria and Rubrics, Adjudicators’ Comments and Adjudicators’ Report? The SYF AP Benchmarking Criteria and Rubrics guide teachers in the planning of VPA CCA experiences that develop students’ Knowledge, Skills and Values in the art forms during the AP preparation process and beyond. Schools can use the Benchmarking Criteria and Rubrics as part of formative assessment to guide teachers and instructors in assessing student learning. Students can also use these to understand the learning outcomes and levels of performance in each criterion, and apply them in self and peer-assessment.

After the AP, the adjudicators’ comment sheets and report provide timely feedback on students’ performance outcomes and highlights the strengths and areas for improvement. Teachers should use them collectively to inform students’ learning and the future planning of their CCA programmes.


Can I use royalty free music for dances staged at AP? Is it copyright free? Royalty free music refers to a type of music licensing that allows the purchaser to pay for the music license only once and to use the music in unlimited creative projects. Royalty free music can be used for dances staged at the AP. However, depending on the source, royalty free music might or might not be free of charge, and it is not copyright free music, because anyone who creates a piece of music automatically owns the copyright for that music.

In the case of royalty free music, the copyright owner is providing a license to use his / her music for certain purposes (e.g., sharing your creative projects online). To ensure there is no copyright violation, schools using such music should observe and adhere to the terms and conditions of use as spelled out by the source where this music is obtained from.
If I am combining 2 or more music tracks into one track, do I need to seek permission from the copyright owners? / 
If I am only using part of a music track (e.g. 6 minutes of an 8 minutes music track), do I need to seek permission from the copyrighter?
MOE applies to COMPASS for the necessary copyright music permit to cover performances of copyright musical works by participating schools. Schools are NOT required to seek separate individual copyright music permits whether the music is played in part or in whole, provided there is NO alteration to the original lyrics or melody.

However, schools will need to obtain copyright permission from the publishers and record company should they wish for MOE to video-record their performance.


What are the differences between an original work and a source-based work?
TypeDescriptionAction Needed
Original WorkThe script is created collaboratively by the school.
No copyright or performance rights need to be obtained.
Source-based Work (non-print/print)
- Taken from an existing script as is
- Adapted from or based on an existing script
- Inspired by a source, such as a film, advertisement, story, etc.
The school needs to indicate the source where the script is adapted or inspired from. The permission to adapt, borrow from, and perform the script must be sought from the playwright(s) or relevant copyright owner(s) if the work is still under copyright. The school may have to pay for the relevant rights.

What are some considerations when deciding on the dramatic form(s) to be used in drama presentations? Students’ interest and abilities need to first be determined by teachers and instructors before the selection of dramatic forms that harness their strengths. As part of good practice, students should be exposed to a variety of dramatic forms during their CCA. This would give them the chance to explore and discover the form(s) of dramatic expression that would be best suited for them. Therefore, the choice of dramatic form(s) should be based on how well the students are able to convey meaning through them.
What are surtitles and why are they needed? Surtitles provide the general meaning of what the character(s) are verbally communicating. There is no need to provide a word-for-word translation. The provision of surtitles would make performances more inclusive and enhance accessibility for audiences.

A surtitle template is included in the Info Pack, and no submission is required.