Should music be emphasised in Rwanda’s education system?

As Rwandan artists strive to promote their music careers amidst  many challenges,the lack of music in school has emerged a great hindrance. Rwandans give their views about the missing music skills.

As Rwandan artists strive to promote their music careers amidst  many challenges,the lack of music in school has emerged a great hindrance. Rwandans give their views about the missing music skills.

“The lack of music education in Rwanda has greatly affected the music industry. Artists lack professionalism. We have the talents but do we have the skills? It’s important that the Ministry of Education considers including music on the national curriculum.

Last year, when artists held a conference with the Ministry of Education, we requested the ministry to emphasis music like other subjects; unfortunately the matter was given less attention.”

Miss JoJo,winner of The best female artist award-2008

“Music is a line of business therefore the government should give it value. Music should also be included on the education curriculum, in order give chance to children with vocal talents to acquire skills right from the preliminary stage.

Very many of artists, including I, acquired the skills from the Church choir.  And since we perform secular music now, we find it hard to produce quality.

Rafiki, Rwanda’s self-claimed Choga Style singer.

 “In Rwanda, we lack professional artists. We have many defined artists, and others who are upcoming, but they all lack skills to produce good music. Some of them joined the business to earn a living, while others don’t know what they are up to, exactly. People think music is something you wakeup and practice, yet it requires skills, and professionalism.”

Egide Nshyimiyimana a.k.a Mr. Lucc is a member of Luck Boys crew.

 “There is no way Rwanda’s music industry can ever develop if there are no music schools in the country. Like sports, the government should also support the music industry because it contributes to the National economic development.”

Baptiste Munyankindi, a businessman. 

“We actually have music on the syllabus, though it’s still at Primary level. However, the National Curriculum Development Centre has introduced a new curriculum, called the Extra Activity Curriculum, and we have hired an expert to train teachers to improve music. The Extra Activity Curriculum includes music and literature; it will be taught and examined at the national level. This will help children with vocal talents to develop and acquire professional skills.” 

Charles Gahima, Director General of National Curriculum Development Centre

“It’s a serious issue that there is not even a single music school in Rwanda. We [artists] have the talent but we are being affected by the fact that we don’t have proper music skills. Indeed many Rwandans have great vocals, but they lack training to become professional artists.”

Shanel is a singer and actress.

“Music should be included on the syllabus as an independent course. This will help upcoming musicians to concentrate on music and practice it as their profession. And as deejays, it will help us have a variety of local music to play in the clubs, instead of foreign music.”

DJ Cluz, plays music at La Planet discotheque and Nyanja club [Gisenyi]

“It’s very important to include music on the school syllabus as a subject right from primary school level. It will help children with vocal talents to develop them. For example, much as Alpha Rwirangira is a music genius, his talent would have gotten him no where if it wasn’t for tusker project fame. Children should be given the chance to realize their dreams.”

Joan Ingabire, Miss School Finance and Banking (SFB).

“If you look at our neighbouring countries, especially in East Africa, their music industries have evolved compared to that of Rwanda. This is because they have established music schools, and university courses, like Music Dance and Drama [MDD].

East African artists have become very rich; have their own music studios, which helps them to produce quality music.
In Rwanda, it’s not the case, music isn’t given value. Artists strive single handedly.I always realize the challenges these artists meet, when they come to the studio, in most cases we [producers], have to come up with tunes and rhymes for their songs, which is a great challenge.” 

Jean Paul Gatsinda, a.k.a Jay-P,a music producer and founder of Jay-P music studio.

“Music is among the subjects taught in Primary. Concerning the music industry in Rwanda, I guess it has improved compared to the previous years. Seeing people like, Alpha Rwirangira emerging winner of the Tusker Project Fame awards, is really a pride to the country. Many local artists are competing with the region’s giant artists.

However, more is still lacking, and it is our responsibility as Rwandans, to support local artists, and promote the music industry.

Also, parents should play a role in helping their children recognize their talents and support in developing them.”

John Rutayisire, Director of the National Examination Council.


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