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Music school in panyard project set to start
The Ministry of The Arts and Multiculturalism has spent $300,000 to purchase musical instruments to facilitate the Music School in the Panyard programme. This according to Auburn Wiltshire, project manager of the initiative, in answer to a query at the first Workshop for Tutors held at Theatre 2 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain, on Wednesday. Among the instruments purchased for use by students in the programme, he said, were trumpets, saxophones, clarinets and trombones. The all-day workshop, titled Semester 1, was attended by 38 tutors contracted by the ministry to implement the project scheduled to begin on Monday, and continue for four months, ending on October 13. It will consist of 112 contact hours in which students will be trained in the fundamentals of music literacy; the art of playing the steelpan, guitar, saxophone, trumpet, trombone and clarinet; beginner, intermediate and advanced playing techniques; music composition; basics of sight reading of music; care and maintenance of instruments; hand techniques and playing posture; appreciation of rhythm, tempo, various scales of music and the phrasing of music; and familiarisation with the standard terms of music.
They are expected to benefit, as well, from a brief history of the steelpan, string and wind instruments. Venues that will host the initial programme are: Casablanca Pan Theatre (Northern Region), Republic Bank Exodus, Sangre Grande Cordettes and Potential Symphony Pan Theatres (Eastern Region), Couva Joylanders (Central Region) and Junior Sammy Group Skiffle Bunch (Southern Region). Director of Culture, Ingrid Ryan Ruben, in welcoming participants to the workshop, admonished them to remember that the panyards in which they will be conducting classes are creative, musical spaces in which “the highest level of creativity was spawned from the blood of Trinbagonians.” “Always honour that space,” she said. “See the pupils who come to classes there as future geniuses, so your purpose is to help develop their growth as musicians. Be mindful of the attitude you take into the panyard. What you go there to do is help. So always honour those who have kept the panyards going throughout the years with their dedication to music.”
It was expected, she added, that in the next three years music schools would be established in all panyards across Trinidad and Tobago. The Music School in the Panyard programme also incorporates a mentorship programme titled the Artiste-in-Residence Initiative in which master artistes and icons will provide complementary service to the tutors and other staff in addressing the needs of the students in overcoming the barriers to learning in order to achieve their full potential.Icons selected for the programme are musicians Errol Ince, Dr Roy Cape, Pelham Goddard and Leston Paul. They were present at the workshop, along with Joey Rivers, to give brief accounts of their musical backgrounds, share techniques, and offer suggestions to the tutors. Guest speaker was ethnomusicologist Prof Jocelyne Guilbault of the Department of Music, University of California Berkeley in California.