Producers also go to school – Umuhoza

Let’s say you are watching TV or listening to the radio and a catchy commercial comes on. Soon you find yourself snapping your fingers or tapping your foot and probably wondering who makes these jingles. The answer to your question is people like Patrick Umuhoza who sit behind a combo of computer, piano and a guitar.  Collins Mwai sat down with him to demystify the profession;-
Umuhoza in his music studio. The New Times/ Collins Mwai.
Umuhoza in his music studio. The New Times/ Collins Mwai.

Let’s say you are watching TV or listening to the radio and a catchy commercial comes on. Soon you find yourself snapping your fingers or tapping your foot and probably wondering who makes these jingles. The answer to your question is people like Patrick Umuhoza who sit behind a combo of computer, piano and a guitar.  Collins Mwai sat down with him to demystify the profession;-

What tasks take up your time at the office?

My work involves making beats and jingles, recording music and voices and blending the two as well as mastering. Mastering is the process of preparing and transferring recorded audio from a source containing the audio content to a data storage device from which copies are produced.

You went to school to study this, right?


Yes I did. I studied Music Production for two years at La Musicale (a music and production college in Kigali). After completing the course, I was awarded two certificates from the Ministry of Sports and Culture. I also had a scholarship to further my studies in France.

In high school, I studied Computer Science. It came in handy since we use various computer software to do our work.

Other than the two year training, what else does one require to fit the bill?

An obvious one is passion for music and its production. Patience too is important. You require patience for you to learn and develop as it takes a lot of hours to perfect a beat or a jingle.

Creativity and imagination are traits that take you places in this line of work; you have to be able to imagine something before you create it.

Any emerging trends you might have observed over the years?


I have been at it for about five years now and there have been quite a few changes. Technology (especially software) and the equipment used are always changing and one has to keep up with them.

Is there career progression in this line of work?

Like any other job, there is progress and mastery. This is mostly by experience and practice. The 10,000 hour theory to perfecting one’s skills applies a lot in our profession. The more you produce, the better you get.

What have been your best moments at work?

It must be hearing a jingle I have made or music I have produced being played on radio or TV. Like any other profession, it gives you pleasure as a producer to know that your efforts have yielded something.

What challenges do producers face?

It must be working with undecided clients. Clients who keep changing what they initially asked for. It is also a little cumbersome working with clients who doubt your abilities.

For beginners, well equipped studios are hard to find. With a good studio, you have a chance of learning while on the job as you have access to equipment necessary for the job. Without them you could easily end up taking short-cuts which rarely end well.

How many hours do you work a day?

Six days a week I get to the office at around 8am and leave not earlier than 7pm. At times when I have clients over or pressing assignments, I may stay as late as midnight. Of course I take breaks in between.

Comment on the remuneration of producers?


The pay gets better as your skills get better; your work speaks for you. As a starter, few will recognise you but with time you have a chance to prove yourself. 

What traits would cause you to fail at work?


In our line of work, it is easy to see yourself as the best after successfully completing a task. You could easily end up with an inflated ego and stop trying as hard as you used to. You should always be open to learning and improvement.

Lack of originality and creativity too could lead to a producers fall.

If you don’t embrace changes in market and production, which are very common in the line of work, you could easily end up with no clients.

Advice to anyone interested in your line of work?


Gone are the days when music and jingles were produced by school drop-outs or just anyone. Nowadays you not only need training and certification, you require a lot of practice. Talents alone cannot stand; you need practice to make it a skill.

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News