Nyundo School of Music and Arts, the only music school in Rwanda, is increasingly attracting the attention of local artistes, including famous names, who are eager to grow their musical skills.
Derek Sano, a member of boy band Active Boys is the first such musician to join the institution. He is among 52 students who received scholarships following the Muhanga-based school’s nationwide talent search, held from January 13-19.
“To be honest, I was very excited about the scholarship because I really needed it. Previously, there was a perception that artistes didn’t need formal music training because they were already practicing music. But formal training is very important if you want to give people quality music,” Derek said.
Jacques Murigande, best known as Mighty Popo, the school director, said there is nothing surprising about established artistes seeking to join their school to improve their music career.
“I’ve been receiving requests from different artistes from the time we enrolled Derek,” he said. “We will soon interview another artiste who has put in their application to see if they meet the minimum standards.”
One of the requirements is an O-Level (Tronc Commun) certificate.
He encouraged more artistes to seek formal training to improve their skills, adding: “We are doing this for the best of our music industry. If they [local artists] want to hone their musical skills we are ready to help,” he added.
He said the school could soon be a pan-African music incubation hub that would also be admitting students from neighbouring countries.
Murigande said that music in Rwanda is now a profession that puts food on the table and has opened doors for many Rwandan artistes.
“We want to promote African music in general,” he noted. “We will soon get more music equipment and introduce new courses, like production and sound engineering, to improve on the quality of what we offer,” he added.
Nyundo School of Music and Arts’ currently offers such courses as music theory, entrepreneurship, language, music history, among others. Their students also learn how to use several musical instruments like drums, piano, guitar, among others.