Guitarist on why he chose to interest children in music as a career

Every child has natural abilities of one sort or another. However, it is not every child that gets the opportunity to unearth these innate endowments which may result in under- development because these talents remained latent and never saw the light of day.
Peter Ntigurirwa started a school to help children to explore and maximise their talents.   / Diane Mushimiyimana.
Peter Ntigurirwa started a school to help children to explore and maximise their talents. / Diane Mushimiyimana.

Every child has natural abilities of one sort or another. However, it is not every child that gets the opportunity to unearth these innate endowments which may result in under- development because these talents remained latent and never saw the light of day. Experts argue that the best period to groom talent is at an early age. While the talent development industry remains largely underdeveloped in the country, Peter Ntigurirwa, who is both a guitarist and pianist, took the lead to revamp the music industry and started David’s Temple Music School to help young children develop their talents and grow to become professional musicians. Education Times’ Diane Mushimiyimana had a chat with him to learn more about the school.

What inspired you to start a music school?

Basically, I took time to observe our music industry and realised that there is a huge gap of people who are able to play musical instruments. The majority of our local singers relied on expatriates to facilitate their live performances. I thought I could do something about it by shaping a new generation of professional musicians who can sing and play musical instruments. In 2015, I decided to start David’s Temple Music School to give holiday music courses to children.

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David’s Temple  Music School students pose  for a photo with their trainers.  / Diane Mushimiyimana.

What category of children do you receive?

The school accepts children aged three to 18 years. I believe that in this age range a child’s mind is really fresh and are able to explore their potential fully. At this age, they can learn fast and master anything you teach them and grow up with the skills gained to use for a life time.

What are the special aspects of your trainings?

We offer world-class musical training. The school uses the same curriculum as the one used at international music schools. The school is equipped with eight pianos, 12 guitars and drums, among others.

We also have professional teachers who train children individually depending on their areas of interest. The courses are divided in six modules. The music courses do not stop our students from pursuing formal learning as we only operate during the long holiday.

Each long holiday (October- January) they are trained in two modules and continue to finish other modules the following holidays. We also offer them internship opportunities to practise what they learnt.

How many children have you trained so far?

In three years of our operation, we have been able to train 110 children and now they are practising in their respective churches and some can even perform at concerts. Now we have an intake of 80 children, but the school has the capacity to accommodate more. We call upon every parent to get their children registered as well.

Can music help a child to be more productive as an adult?

Generally, arts are one of the highest paying careers one can think of. In countries where entertainment is well developed industry, musicians earn a lot of money and that’s what we want to happen here in Rwanda. Even today, the artists we have earn more than many people in office jobs.

We believe that the majority of children we are training now will be among the super music stars that will be no longer relying on limited job opportunities but use their talents to earn a living.

What role should parents play in helping their children identify their talents and nurturing them?

The role of parents in empowering their children to exercise their strengths is indispensable. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the opportunity to explore their potential without limiting them only to formal education.

We always encourage parents to talk to their children often to be able to pursue areas of their interest. Parents can also understand their children’s special talents from observing them. And once a parent takes keen note of what interests their children, they should go an extra-mile to nurture this potential.

Parents should respect their children’s choices as children do not have to always follow the career choices or academic paths dictated by their parents.

Some parents fear that the music career can compromise their children’s morals. What’s your take on this?

I think music is not to blame for misbehaviour of some music stars. As the Kinyarwanda saying goes, ‘umwana apfa mu iterura’, which literary means ‘an adult’s poor discipline depends on how they were raised’. Here at David’s Temple Music School we compliment parents by including ethical lessons to make sure the children we train grow up disciplined. We also invite prominent local musicians with good reputation to give the children guidance on how to they shot to fame without indulging in unlawful acts and we encourage the kids to take them as their role models.

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