BACK TO THE BASICS IS THE ONLY WAY OUT.


Kenya has an abundance of untapped music and dance talents that need to be nurtured and developed for the country to increase its contribution to the global music repertoire and penetrate the world market.   The recent collapse of music education in both formal and technical institutions has adversely contributed to the deterioration of standards of music products.  Whereas there are several independent private music schools, there is no government institution that exclusively caters for the wholesome and comprehensive training of musicians. In addition, there is no effective system of monitoring and evaluating   the quality and content of the education provided by these schools to ensure globally acceptable standards.

 “if  the government through its  ministry of culture and presidential music  commission would develop a policy on music and  the role of music in society and the need to grow  the sector by making sure certain genres of music  are played on radio consistently then the industry  would grow. This would create demand for quality to improve and more Kenyan music on our airwaves”.- Tedd Josiah 

The decision to make music non-examinable in the primary school has   produced a rippling effect that has affected all levels of the education system in our country. The decline in music education started with the declaration of music as one of the non-examinable subjects in primary schools. While on paper, music is still in the curriculum in primary schools, it is in reality barely taught. Many of the secondary schools that used to offer music as an academic subject have now dropped it. Serving music teachers are at times forced to teach other subjects due to the decline of music as a subject. At the Universities, fewer students opt to take the subject due to limited opportunities in the labour market.
teddTedd Josiah, a well known music producer and  one of the pioneers in the industry Kenyan music    industry Says “if  the government through its  ministry of culture and presidential music  commission would develop a policy on music and  the role of music in society and the need to grow  the sector by making sure certain genres of music  are played on radio consistently then the industry  would grow. This would create demand for quality to improve and more Kenyan music on our airwaves”.

He continues to say “Serious investments in the record labels – It is an open fact that most people with bedroom studios and two bits of info on how to record are calling themselves record labels.
They know little about production and almost zero on marketing sales and distribution which is what a label should be doing”.
Josiah also blames the media saying  Kenyan media should stop taking bribes for airplay and start playing music thats good and only then we will make headway.
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Dan “Chizi” Aceda a renowned Benga artists says ” First of all there in no such thing as “global” african act, we are far from achieving that, If you just google “global music sales” then you will see my point. About the Kenyan Music, we have some issues to deal with and the major one is Music Education, Young musicians in kenya hardly know anything about the Kenyan music history so they struggle to further the cause because they have no idea where we came from. South Africa and DRC do better with this. the know there township music well in enough to be able to take it the next level”

There are therefore fundamental problems with regard to the provision of music education in schools.  Very little practical music making goes on to facilitate learning and nurture creativity at both primary and secondary school levels. This is occasioned by exorbitant costs of music instruments and equipment. Music learning is therefore heavily theoretical.  This results in graduates who are barely skilled in music making and are not able to meet the market demands or service the Music Industry. Despite these setbacks music still thrives in post primary institutions. Learning is however characterized by a curriculum that is heavily biased towards western content, material and delivery, making formal music education culturally alienating to the Kenyan child.

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Several public and private universities have established music departments while teacher training colleges offer music as a subject.  However, even at this level, learning is still characterized by a theoretical approach. Lack of goodwill at all levels and appreciation of the value of music also contribute to the apathy that surrounds the teaching and learning of music.  In addition, there is insufficient understanding amongst stakeholders in the Industry with regard to the functioning of the Industry, labour relations, contracts and music business opportunities.  This inhibits the industry players, limiting their performance and resulting in low output.

Issues of intellectual property rights are either ignored or unknown.  There is no systematic attempt to educate artists and managers on copyright matters and management of music business.

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