Project Launched with CDB, SSDF Backing.
BUDDING musicians across the island have something to be excited about after a new initiative was launched on Wednesday morning, with the all round intentions of opening the floodgates and allowing fresh new talent to be nurtured and groomed as the future of St. Lucian music.
The Cultural Development Foundation (CDF), in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the St. Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF) launched the “Sound Waves – Transforming Youth At Risk Through Music” Project which features a holistic approach towards the betterment of the island’s music industry.
The project is being funded fully by the CDB and the CDF was tasked with the job of identifying 50 young persons in need of training, as well as the allocation of a fully equipped studio that will be used to teach all that needs to be learnt about the industry.
The objectives of the programme are:
1. To improve the music skills of youth at risk.
2. To improve the prospect of income earning for them.
3. To create opportunities for them to network with other colleagues in that field.
4. To improve the social relationships among the participants
5. To create employment opportunities.
Participants will receive Caribbean Vocational Qualifications Levels 1 and 2 certificate following completion of the 18 month programme.
CDF’s Senior Business Developmental Marketing Officer, Jimmy Clavier told The VOICE that the persons being targeted all have musical backgrounds but were never fortunate enough to nurture their passion for music and become more marketable in the long run..
The project involves life skills training (which is overseen by the NSDC), music training, theoretical aspects where students will learn to read and write music. They will also learn to play instruments on stage (they will be taught by the School of Music), and finally, ICT training will also be taught. This involves the development of websites and will be taught by the National ICT Center, focusing on elements of website development, understanding music arrangements and using various electronics.
Addressing the launching Minister for Culture and the Creative Industries, Fortuna Belrose said she wants the programme to work as a template to be used at schools and target children at a younger age.
Belrose said: “There has been much debate on the relevance of our school curriculums in today’s current environ. There are many gaps and we know that not everyone who enters the formal education system completes it and is ready to face the challenges of living in the world, and I say the world because we never know where we will end up… we all have families abroad who may want to send for us and give us an opportunity, but how many of us are really prepared to take on these opportunities when they come to us?”
She said the initiative will allow budding musicians the opportunity to be a part of the national database in a meaningful way that serves to transform the music industry in St. Lucia if maintained properly.
The minister stated that the local industry can achieve the successes of the likes of Jamaica and the USA whose music industries contribute a sizable chunk of their economic gains if targets are set and pursued in a systematic and sustained way.
She said: “We do have the potential but we must work to develop that talent so that we can derive the economic benefits that our country can be proud of.”
Belrose said a report on the state of music and the arts in St. Lucia suggested that the local music industry lacks visibility and support, with no awards, little to no airplay of local music and a crop of musicians scampering for work but can’t find much.
She said: “There is still much work to be done on our mindsets to enable our people to move away from that dependency syndrome and selfishness that plagues our society and I remain convinced that we can achieve that through the arts. Through music we can lead that transformation in our society.”
Executive Director of SSDF, Allison Mathurin explained why this initiative was of major importance. She said studies had shown that early musical training significantly helps to develop the part of the brain that manages language and reasoning that continues throughout the years as we get older.
He stated that this was why teachers in the past would use song to teach subjects like maths explaining that students tended to think more creatively and solve problems by imagining various solutions.