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Feature: Be humble, enroll in MUSIGA Academy

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Entertainment of Saturday, 18 February 2017

Source: Flex Newspaper


Obour Mic WhiteObour, MUSIGA President

Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States once said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” It is dangerous if you lack knowledge about what you do. Yes! Knowledge is power.

It is in keeping with this theorem that the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) in fulfillment of its capacity building has teamed up with the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) under the supervision of the School of Performing Arts (SPA), University of Ghana, with sponsorship from the Skills Development Fund (SDF) of the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), to roll out certificate courses for musicians to develop their knowledge and skills in all aspects of the music business and artistry.

In a statement delivered by the Public Relations Officer of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) last week, “All is set for the commencement of the MUSIGA Academy Certificate Courses on March 3 at the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI). Get your e-vouchers from GCB Bank, Ecobank, HFC Bank and NAFTI Finance Department. It’s on first come first serve basis.”

Some of the courses to be taken are Using ICT for Career Development, Music Theory and Musicmanship, Music Business, Copyright and Publishing and Survey of Music in Ghana. Others include Traditional Instrument Specialization, Western Instrument Specialization, Songwriting, Composition & Arrangement, Studio Specialization and Centre Stage Grooming.

This is a good initiative to Ghana’s music industry because most of the people we call ‘musicians’ know zilch about their trade. They have exposed their foibles in various aspects of the music trade in their unwarranted attacks on people they have issues with and in the performances of their works. Any time issues about copyright come up, the level of ignorance our musicians (including the big stars) display is pathetic.

There are a lot of musicians who don’t even know how to use the microphone on stage. Most of these music ‘gods’ cannot sing their own songs live. You dole out hefty sum of money to put an artiste on stage for a show only to hear him sing off – key amidst panting like a pregnant fish. In fact, we have grown too many fake musicians for a long time. They don’t even know what keys falls within their vocal range. Sad! In the typical Ghanaian music setting, it is difficult to tell an artiste from his manager. A lot of artiste messengers are masquerading as managers. These ‘messengers’ have been albatrosses hanging around the neck of the industry. They skew every process – and this has been the reason most of our musicians are not soaring higher.

Music business is not as simple as most people have conceived of it. It is quite involved. Any artiste that needs to succeed must have a good manager, someone who knows the business of music and the also understands the music of business. This is what the MUSIGA Academy seeks to do for Ghanaian musicians. We lag behind but it is a process; it is better late than never.

With all these goodies in the offing from the stables of MUSIGA at the MUSIGA Academy, notwithstanding, I can preempt the top artistes will not avail themselves to be educated and trained. Most of them are as ignorant as the neophytes but they will ostensibly hide behind busy schedules to evade this knowledge – seeking opportunity. Some will feel too big to learn. After all they are making big money – what do they need rudiments of music for? Later, they will mount stages to mess up.

I have always said that all singers that know how to play at least one melodic instrument, sing well because they get notes etched in their memory. So as an ‘A List’ artiste who only knows how to rap, won’t you rather try to learn how to put some melodies to rhythm too or learn how to play a musical instrument to broaden your scope in music?

To the very young, up and coming artistes – you are the future of Ghana’s music industry. Take up this opportunity and tap into the knowledge of the experienced people than would be taking musicians through the various courses. I would also plead that the initiators of this academy to employ truly qualified and experienced personnel to train the musicians. The course should be made attractive enough to magnetize more people to be part.

The MUSIGA Academy can also be of a great help to people in the media, especially the entertainment writers, presenters and pundits. Most of us have shown gross ignorance on issues on music for a long time. We can also enroll and learn about what we write and report on so that when we are dealing with these musicians, we will understand them better.

This is the beginning. Financial support by government, individuals and corporate entities would push this project grow faster. MUSIGA – Together in rhythm!

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