Music must be transformed into a productive sector – WDA boss

The music industry should be supported to become a major player in the private sector, Gerome Gasana, the Director General of Workforce Development Authority (WDA), has said.
Jacques Murigande aka Mighty Popo, the Director of Nyundo School of Art and Music addressing contestants before the presentations. (Faustin Niyigena)
Jacques Murigande aka Mighty Popo, the Director of Nyundo School of Art and Music addressing contestants before the presentations. (Faustin Niyigena)

The music industry should be supported to become a major player in the private sector, Gerome Gasana, the Director General of Workforce Development Authority (WDA), has said.

Gasana was speaking on Thursday during the final screening for students competing to be part of the 2015 intake of Nyundo Music School in Rubavu District.

The screening exercise was conducted at Petit Stade, Remera following a countrywide pre-selection exercise.

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All judges are also music teachers at Nyundo. (L-R); Janvier Murenzi, Ben Ngabo aka Kipeti, Honoré Iyakaremye, Aimable Nsabayesu and Jacques Murigande aka Mighty Popo. Faustin Niyigena

Gasana said the government is committed to reducing poverty and increasing GDP per capita income from 640 to 1,040 by 2020, and this will be made possible by embracing Vocational Education.

“We want to have at least 60 per cent of students joining Technical Vocational Education and Training  (TVET) institutions including  music by 2018,” he said, calling upon private investors to seize the opportunity and invest in teaching music.

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Ariel Uwayezu from Gasabo District is youngest one among other 29 finalists. The 14 year old is a passionate singer.

The final list for the 2015 in take at the music academy has 30 students; 19 boys and 11 girls. This is the second intake for the school.

According to the panelists, the criteria for eligibility included English proficiency, music talent, completion of  Nine-Year basic education, stage presence and self discipline, among others.

“We target young talent; those about 14 years of age because they can be shaped in many aspects, including discipline,” said Jacques Murigande, the school director.

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Some finalists are good with traditional music instruments.

He said the school will be of great benefit to students who are academically weak but possess the music talent.

The selected students pledged to fully exploit the opportunity to take their music to a higher level.

“I started singing in p5. I  was inspired by my mother who was a great singer. I am glad to have been selected to learn music professionally. I am also eager to learn playing different music instruments,” Ariel Uwayezu, 14, from Kicukiro District said.

“It is an opportunity to develop myself, my family and the whole nation.  I plan to compete internationally,” said Michel Ishimwe, 16, from Gasabo District.

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Esther Niyifasha, 16, from Gakenke district performs a gospel song. 

The first vocational public music school in the country, Nyundo Music School began last year with 30 students.

The school has five local teachers and two experts from USA. The students go through intense hands-on training in music instruments, vocal techniques, music theory, traditional music as well as music business practices to prepare them for the music industry.

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All the 30 finalists in a group photo.

According to Murigande, the curriculum involves training and connecting the students to expert teachers in other countries for exposure.

Murigande said the school has also developed a short training programme for musicians already in the industry but lacking music management skills.

The music students have  got a choice to study for one or two years to get certificates or three years to graduate with a diploma in music.

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