Tong graduated with a Master of Arts in Music Performance from the prestigious Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in London in 2015, where she learnt from many famous flute professors such as Samuel Coles (Principal Flute of Philharmonia Orchestra), Kate Hill and Patricia Morris (Piccolo). Prior to receiving the entrance scholarship to Royal Academy of Music,Shirley graduated with a 1st class Honours for Bachelor of Music (Hons) from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD).
During her 4 years in RWCMD, she had grown musically while studying with professors such as Jonathan Burgess (Principal flute of Welsh National Opera), Nic Dowton and Sarah Newbold. She also developed a strong interest of orchestral music during this period of time. One of the most prominent orchestra concert then was with the RWCMD Chamber Orchestra where she played Principal Flute in Beethoven Symphony No. 6 ‘Pastoral’. She was also the winner of the Ken Smith Flute Prize 2010, which was sponsored by Top Wind.
Upon returning to Singapore in 2015, Shirley competed and clinched a prize in the 6th Annual Flute competition organized by the Flute Studio.
Shirley has a ABRSM Grade 8 in Piano too. She has 9 years of teaching experiences for both the piano and flute from age 6 onwards. In addition, she practices positive learning methods with her students and believes that diligence is more important than talent.