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The International College of Music (ICOM) was founded in November 1995 by Tan Sri Dato’ Seri A. P. Arumugam, a prominent Malaysian industrialist. Tan Sri’s love for music and his vision to raise the level of musicianship in Malaysia mooted the establishment of this specialist music institution, to be a one stop center for education, practice and promotion of music making at a professional level.

The institutional partnership with the world-renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (USA) at the onset of the development stages of ICOM in 1994 was a significant milestone to raise awareness, recognition and credibility for the then brand new ‘one of a kind’ music college in Malaysia. Berklee was very supportive of the partnership and helped guide and nurture all efforts in curriculum development, faculty development and operations management through the assistance of senior management staff such as Robert Myers, Tom Riley, Curtis Warner and the late Ron Bentley.

Starting off with our very first enrollment of 16 students in January 1996, ICOM has since gone on to nurture the successful music careers of over 1200 graduates to date. ICOM alumni include popular artists such as Vince Chong, Noryn Aziz, Najwa Mahiaddin, Jedidiah Wong of Pop Shuvit and Rithan of Dejavoodoo Spells among hoards of others who work as music entrepreneurs, audio engineers and music directors in music production studios, broadcast stations and of live concerts and musicals across Asia.

The College was launched a year later by YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on 20th October 1997 and the ceremony witnessed the signing of two key institutional partnerships – one with the Berklee College of Music and the other with the University of Westminster (UK). The induction of ICOM into the Berklee International Network sealed the deal for a long-term institutional relationship with Berklee and with fourteen other music schools within the network across the world, all specializing in contemporary music education. The curriculum articulation agreement between ICOM and Berklee provided a tremendous benefit to students, enabling them to complete the first two years of the Berklee core courses at ICOM and transferring them to Berklee through the course for course articulation.

The partnership with the University of Westminster introduced one of the first “3+0” music undergraduate degrees in Malaysia. The Bachelor of Music in Professional Music with specialisms in Music Arranging and Music Production & Technology was a much sought after answer to local demands for an affordable music degree right here at home. The program was developed and taught by ICOM faculty and validated by the University, paving the way for students to earn a UK degree in Malaysia without going overseas. Through the years, due to policy changes introduced both at the ministry and at the University, the “3+0” institutional partnership was later changed to be with the University of Wolverhampton in 2008. This partnership was initiated by Dato’ Ravimaran Savari of ICOM and Dr. John Pymm of the University. One of the core strengths of ICOM is curriculum development and this is one of the key attractant that continues to bring students from all across Asia to study at ICOM. From our inception in 1996 through to 1998, the ICOM 3-year Diploma with four specialist majors in performance, arranging, music synthesis and music production & engineering opened the minds of students and parents alike on the width and range of career options available for the contemporary musician.

The course offerings introduced opportunities for academics and music industry professionals to connect and network closely in order to pave the path for young musicians to get a job in the music industry. Malaysian music industry giants such as Freddie Fernandez, Michael Veerapen, Mac Chew, Jenny Chin, Helen Yap, Ahmad Izham Omar, Boon Tan, the late Farid Ali, Louis Pragasam and Aubrey Suwito played key roles as clinicians, faculty members, external examiners and consultants to open the doors of the regional music industry to ICOM graduates. Today, the name ICOM opens many doors in the regional music industry, thanks in part to the strong industry network continuously developed through our faculty, students and alumni.

Quality Assurance
As a private higher education institution, it is imperative for us to ensure the highest quality assurance standards both in the administration of the College and in the teaching and learning practices. To this effect, ICOM employs the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Systems in all areas of operations to meet student needs and expectations.

All academic programs are approved by the Ministry of Education (Malaysia) and accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). This assures that graduates of the programs are automatically eligible for employment with the government sectors.

ICOM also clinched the much sought after, Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) status for music technology education in 2005, and was awarded the Brand Laureate SME Chapter Awards in Asia Pacific for Best Brand in Music Education in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

Quality Policy
At the International College of Music (ICOM) we strive to offer innovative programs that produce employable graduates in an environment that fosters diversity and rewards excellence.

The Quality Policy provides the framework for, and includes the establishment and review of the following Quality Objectives to ensure continuous improvement and compliance to standards in higher education in music:

  • Offer programs that promote innovation and enterprise
  • Produce graduates who are technically and creatively adept for professional employment
  • Provide an environment that welcomes and respects diversity
  • Pursue excellence as a code of conduct among all college citizens

A Quality Manual has been prepared, which contains procedures conforming to ISO 9001:2008, and the effectiveness of our Quality Management System is reviewed periodically to meet the educational expectations of students.

The Quality Policy supports the Quality Objectives and is understood, implemented and maintained at all levels within the College, has been issued to all employees signed by the President & CEO, and is reviewed for continuing suitability at each Management Review Meeting.

Corporate Social Responsibility
The College is committed to supporting need-based initiatives and programs to promote contemporary music education through educational training programs, concert programs and fund raising activities.

  • Developed, conducted and hosted the Music Education Seminar for School Music Teachers since 1997
  • Developed, conducted and hosted the Professional Music Seminar for Malaysian Music Industry Professionals in 2013
  • Conducted a nationwide music competition across Malaysian public universities and sponsored RM800,000 in support of the government’s GEGAR-U program, a national initiative to moot unity among university students in 2007
  • Conducted a Fund Raising National Music Concert at the Bukit Jalil Stadium and raised RM500,000 for the Asian Tsunami Fund in 2005
  • Conceptualized, conducted and funded the nation’s first ever, The ICOM Patriotic Songwriting Competition in 2001 to evoke patriotism among Malaysian youth and to introduce new patriotic songs that resonated with today’s youth. A total cash award of RM100,000 was given away to the winners of competition, the first prize cash award of RM50,000 was clinched by Shahnon Shah, a talented pianist from Kedah, Malaysia

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