Syafiqah 'Adha Sallehin


Syafiqah 'Adha Sallehin obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Music (with Honours) in Music Composition from Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM), at National University of Singapore in 2013. She is currently a returning graduate student pursuing her Master’s degree in Music. Syafiqah is also a self-taught accordionist and an active practitioner of the Malay folk music genre with nine years of experience in the scene. She is the music director of Gendang Akustika, a Malay folk music ensemble in Singapore.


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About the Course     

Malay folk music is a type of ethnic music of the Malay culture in Southeast Asia. This unique music evolved through the amalgamation of music from other cultures as evident in its use of instruments and drum grooves. Because of this, Malay folk music has its own distinctive features that it can even be performed on any melodic instrument and hand drum percussion instrument apart from its standard instrumentation. So, why not learn something new and have a go at playing a different kind of music from what you are used to?

This free four-week online course will enable you to immerse yourself in Malay folk music as you uncover its musical materials in an engaging manner. On your own instruments, you will learn how to play four traditional drum grooves and how to stylistically play four Malay folk songs using several techniques of improvisation. By the end of this course, you will be able to play Malay folk music at a basic level and feel accomplished in having yourself familiarized with yet another kind of music that the world has to offer!



  • Capable of playing any melodic instrument (violin, flute, sitar, erhu etc.) or any kind of hand drum percussion instrument (darbouka, djembe, tabla etc.) at a technical proficiency level of at least an intermediate (eg. fluent in scales/arpeggios, keep accurate time, comfortable in playing fast speeds)  
  • Music literacy in Western notation is highly recommended, although not necessary. Otherwise, strong listening and aural skills is required. This includes having a keen sense of rhythm and tempo, and the ability to repeat a melodic/rhythmic phrase by ear after it is played.


Operational Information

  • Course runs for four weeks. Week 1 starts on 5th November 2015 and Week 4 ends on 29th November 2015.
  • Internet connection is required. This workshop is conducted through Eliademy ( You will be asked to create an account on this website once you confirm your sign-up for this course. Your email will be used for notifications.
  • You will learn by watching the videos and completing the assignments in the course site. Each week will require about 2-3 hours of your time.
  • An audio or video recording device is required for uploading of video/audio for assignments.


Goals, Objectives and Outcomes

The goal is to promote an understanding and appreciation of Malay folk music in three aspects, which are drum grooves, folk songs and improvisation.

Aspect 1: Drum Grooves

Objective 1: To teach the Inang, Joget, Zapin and Asli drum grooves

  • You will be able to listen to a Malay folk song and then name and identify the drum groove that the song is played to.
  • You will be able to demonstrate how these drum grooves sound like on your instrument. (For percussionists)

Aspect 2: Folk Songs

Objective 2: To demonstrate four Malay folk songs set to the drum grooves of Inang, Joget, Zapin and Asli

  • You will be able to recognize and name these songs.

Aspect 3: Improvisation

Objective 3: To teach the materials and techniques of improvisation in Malay folk music and how to improvise on a bare Malay folk tune with these materials and techniques

  • You will be able to listen to a Malay folk song and then identify some of the techniques of improvisation that is used in the song.
  • You will be able to correctly apply ornamentation, melodic idioms, variations and flexibility of time in your own performance of the four Malay folk songs on your instrument. (For melodic instrumentalists)



Week 1
  • Introduction to Malay folk music
  • Groove: Inang
  • Song: Selendang Mak Inang
  • Improvisation: Ornamentations
Week 2
  • Groove: Joget
  • Song: Joget Serampang Laut
  • Improvisation: Melodic Idioms
Week 3
  • Groove: Zapin
  • Song: Zapin Budi
  • Improvisation: Using the Scale and Creating Variations
Week 4
  • Groove: Asli
  • Song: Fatwa Pujangga
  • Improvisation: Flexibility of Time



Each week, you will complete a short quiz and upload a video/audio recording of yourself playing a drum groove or a Malay folk song assigned for that week. You will get a feedback from me about your performance in that video/audio. The final week involves an additional video/audio recording assignment where you will play a medley of all the four grooves and songs using a provided background track.

Upon completion of the course, you will get a final grade based on the average score of all your assignments to determine how well you have done for the course.



Course content

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