While praising music teachers for the tremendous job they have been doing in schools with limited resources available to them, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw is saying it is time music be placed as a priority on the curriculum.
Bradshaw said it is impossible to change attitudes towards music, or to build a vibrant local music industry, if education is not included in the process.
Speaking at the media launch of The School’s Music Festival, at the Ministry’s Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road Office this morning, Bradshaw said it is time a conversation is started about how important the arts are within education. She said some Barbadians have been fortunate to attain success in the entertainment industry, however, at the same time, she firmly believes that there was significant room and need for more persons to make a living out of entertainment.
“I don’t want to underscore the role education plays in so many different facets of everyday life. But particularly relation to the creative arts, we have to start with the foundation.
“And the foundation is when students go into primary school, and they play a recorder, we have to make sure that the teachers are skilled, that they are trained, that they understand the basics and the fundamentals of music. It is there that it starts in terms of being able to create a vibrant music industry,” Bradshaw said.
The Minister said she agreed that students who are upcoming musicians must be prepared for competition, but should also be taught a certain level of confidence that would enable them to hone their craft.
“It doesn’t make them feel as though one person is better than the other. But rather that they develop a certain camaraderie to be able to come back on another occasion. That is the spirit with which I believe education has to move forward in relation to the arts. We have to be able to overcome some of the challenges in terms of resources,” she said.
The Schools’ Music Festival was established to provide participants at both the primary and secondary level, with the opportunity to develop their musical performance environment. While the festival climaxes with two distinct primary and secondary showcase events, the aim is to provide structures for the ongoing development of outstanding and promising participants, while also exposing them to the business elements of the music industry.
This year, the two audition rounds scheduled to be held on February 21 and 22, at the Prince Cave Hall, District ‘A’ Police Station, would be closed. The Grand showcase events would be held on Saturday, March 23 for the primary schools, and Sunday, March 24 for the secondary students, at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium.
Deputy Chief Education Officer (Planning) Dr Roderick Rudder said one of the fundamental changes that underpins this year’s music festival is that there would be no competition, just a showcase. Dr Rudder said the decision to move away from the competitive element was made to ensure that students have the opportunity to demonstrate their true potential without having to face the fear of competing.
“Now, one of the fundamental changes that we really want to drive home this year, is the collaborative partnership between the teachers in our schools, the students who would be performing, and the practitioners from the industry who would be assisting with the development of the skills and the talents to be identified by the panel that will be assessing talented students who would be participating in this year’s Schools Music Festival. Additionally, there would also be the provision of a framework for ongoing artiste development in the long term,” he said.