Top agency SM Entertainment launches K-pop school for music hopefuls

One of Korea’s most respected entertainment companies, SM Entertainment, has launched a school that will train aspirants in the art of all things K-pop. Students can choose from several different majors – including acting and dance – and each semester goes up to USD 7,600. Here’s all about it.
24 March 2023

Dubbed one of the founding fathers of K-pop, SM Entertainment is home to wildly popular acts like Super Junior, EXO, Red Velvet, and NCT. More recently, their girl group Aespa has been making headlines for their girl-boss aesthetic and catchy tunes. The company has consistently experimented with merch, music styles, and video concepts (amongst other things) within the industry – furthering the Hallyu wave and helping it transform into the global phenomenon that it is today. In line with this, it was recently announced that the agency had opened the doors to a K-pop school – SM Universe Academy – which will pick students on the basis of their audition.

SM’s K-pop school features a three-year program and five majors

Those attending the school will have to pay a tuition fee ranging from USD 6,700 to USD 7,600 per semester. The course will span three years and offers a choice of five majors – acting, production, vocal, dance, and modelling. In a video released by SM Entertainment, Hong Jong-hwa, the dean of the academy was quoted saying, “Everyone, become an artist yourself and lead the K-pop culture forward, what do you think?.” He holds a degree in music technology from New York University and is a revered figure in the industry, having trained the likes of hip-hop artist Jessi and producer Supreme Boi.

K-pop school

As per a report by Business Insider India, about 120 students are expected to be enrolled, albeit only after an audition process. Every student will be given customised training as per their level and needs by the in-house teachers. Graduation to the second semester – slated to begin in September – will also require a screen test, currently scheduled sometime between July and August. This system is only a slight conceptual departure from training academies in Korea which are known to put aspirants – aged 10 through 14 – through a gruelling coaching process – sometimes for up to 10 years.

All images: Courtesy SM Entertainment

This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia

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