14-YEAR-OLD Magnifique Kazutete dreams of becoming a renowned guitarist one day. Her passion for music sparked interest in the instrument, pushing her to ask her parents to enroll her for guitar classes. The teenager, who hails from Kicukiro, dreams of making acoustic music one day.
“Children learn so much more when parents take interest in some of the things they are passionate about. It is easier to do better if you have parents motivating you. Music is my passion and I’m glad that I have my parent’s support,” Kazutete says.
A student at David’s Temple Music School, Kazutete is one of the 40 youngsters learning how to play various music instruments. The music school is dedicated to nurturing future artistes and deals with children aged 6-18 only. According to its founder, Peter Ntigurirwa, the school is equipped with 8 pianos, 12 guitars, and drums among other things.
Kazutete is in Year 2 at Fawe Girls School, but she spends her holidays at the music school, working on what she calls her future career.
“Though I have other courses, music enhances my brain, especially the guitar. It pushes my abilities. Every time I listen to a guitar’s melody, the joy pushes my will and makes me work even harder. I will keep going till I become a professional,” she says.
Kazutete says that she is lucky because she was encouraged by her parents Emmanuel Habyarimana and Solange Uzamushaka.
Denzel Rizinde, a 14-year-old in Year 3 at Nu-Vision High School, is learning how to play the piano. He explains that his father’s approval of his passion for music is a major step towards realising his dreams.
Rizinde draws inspiration from American artiste Tyga, however, the latter is a rapper and Ruzinde feels that rap accompanied with piano skills would be great talent.
“Though many people in society link bad behaviour to rapper artistes, it is not the case. Parents should raise their children well and let them follow their dreams,” he says.
Rizinde adds: “My father, Dadu Bete, understands the importance of music. He is a pianist. That’s why he didn’t stop me from learning it. It enhances the brain and your imagination. In fact, it helps me succeed in other studies.”
In society, parents serve as major influence in their children’s lives. Some people look at music as a non-profitable career. But for Rizinde, he believes you can be successful in whatever you do if you have the passion for it and the support required.
18-year-old Stephanie Devasanta Muragijimana studies acoustic guitar at the same institution. She says that the issue of children’s fear to take on what they are interested in stems from parents who are not fully acquainted with their children’s comfort and don’t take time to engage them.
“If parents talk to their children often, the children will feel open to express their wants. It is a challenge if a child is not comfortable enough to talk to his/her parents. My parents will beat me; let me do it in secret, are some of the things children have to deal with,” Muragijimana says.
For 16-year-old Pamela Umutoni, drums are something she has always been fascinated by.She says that when children can express themselves, whichever way works for them, be it through music or any other channel, it has a positive impact on society.
What do parents think?
It is very important that any spark of talent in children is nurtured from the get-go to mould it into an exceptional ability that won’t only benefit the child, the small unit of family but also the community. The role of parents in empowering their children to try their strengths is indispensable.
Drocelle Munganyinka, a mother of three living in Nyamirambo, says that many children become what they aspired to be through their own passion and of course, the support of their parents or guardians. She adds that artistic education, especially music, enhances creative thinking.
“It is important to let children do something they like, especially if it is of no harm. If children are forced to do what they don’t really want to, they hardly become productive.
“When parents shun their children’s interests, it has a negative impact on their lives. That is when they find ways to do it in secret which could pose a threat. In music’s case, I feel like some musicians educate society and so I would let my children take it on if it is what they are interested in,” she says, adding that parents should respect their children’s choices, as in many cases, children do not always follow the same career or academic path that the parent followed.
It is important to allow children free expression and space for them to experiment with whatever they show interest in. Once a parent takes keen note of what interests their children they can expose them to more opportunities for them to grow and express themselves better.
Judith Mukashema, a teacher at Gashonga Primary School, says that children need to be heard and taken seriously because they too have something to bring to the table.
“As a teacher, I’ve noticed that a child’s success in the classroom stems from doing something else they love.
“Parents should nurture a child’s aspirations. Music is just as great a career as anything else, there are several artistes who have made positive change in society, such as the ImpalaBand,” Mukashema says, adding that parents should take the initiative to ask their children what they are interested in.
15-year-old Samuel Ntakobagira, a Year 6 student at Intwali Primary School, says that through music, one can entertain people and achieve greatness at the same time.
According to him, parents shouldn’t limit their children to basic education, but motivate and enable them to do whatever they set their minds to and of course, have passion for. Music is one of the most common interests in children.
Mary Uwizeyimana, an a 11-year-old Year 5 student at Gitega Primary School, believes thatletting children take on their interests gives them a secure mind. She is of the view that itenables children to think in broader ways and that itis of great importance to their future. In fact, she says, it helps them navigate the route to success.
Andrew Mika, a 16-year-old student at Marie Merci Secondary School in Kibeho, says that when parents are more liberal concerning their children’s talents, nothing can stand in the way of success. He believes that society should drop the idea that children shouldn’t be encouraged to sing or dance because it will not build them.
Dr. Jean Damascene Iyamuremye, Director of Psychiatric Care Unit at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, says that children behave and make choices based on the way that their parents raised them, especially in early childhood.
“Basically, the way children behave is the way they lived. Parents should care for children in different ways and in different age settings. A very young child has many things chosen for him/her, elder teenagers choose for themselves, which fortifies their brains and increases self-confidence,” the doctor explains.
Dr. Thomas Muyombo, also known as Tom Close, who also happens to be a Rwandan secular music artiste and children’s books author, says that when it comes to choices, society has many children who are victims of their parents’ traditional influence.
“A parent should monitor how children behave, but not limit what they can do. If a child is passionate about writing, then a parent should not force them to solely focus on what the school teaches them but, encourage them to build on it.With this kind of dictatorship parenting, a child will lack motivation to do anything else,” he says.
Are we doing enough to encourage young talent?
Talent is not receiving enough support because if it was, we would be seeing more centres around the country reaching out to children to help develop their capacity. Instead of sitting around and watching TV, they should join music or dance classes, but for this to happen, society should invest more and create recreational centres where these children can discover their talents
Aisha Uwimana, musician
“ There are many people who suffer as adults because they didn’t get to chase their dreams,” says Dr.Muyombo, adding that children’s talent, whatever it might be, needs to be encouraged. Otherwise we will all miss out.
More needs to be done to boost young talent because this way, young people are given a chance to explore all their capabilities, if they excel at academics well and good, and if its music, it’s good too. But they shouldn’t be limited to academics because people excel in different areas and this can be discovered if they are provided with the support they need.
Rodgers Munyaneza, banker
I think young talent is supported more today compared to years back. Before it was more of academics but today, children are given space to develop their talent which is good because letting them explore it will help them do what they are passionate about.
Claudette Irere, manager - FabLab Rwanda
I think we need to do more and for this to happen. Society, or even parents, should not be obsessed with careers like medicine or law, among others. A child can pursue what they like and be successful.
Yves Ujeneza, entrepreneur