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Children's brains develop faster with music training

Children's brains develop faster with music training

By Osa Amadi, Arts Editor

Almost at the same time, the late Sylva Eleanya of Vanguard newspaper paid me another visit. The Weekend Editor, Chuks Ugwoke, had sent him to come and find out whether I had another manuscript.

The thinking was that the brain which produced BURN AGAIN was capable of producing another book like it. I told Sylva that I had no other manuscript and he said “start writing another one now. After all you are jobless.” Sylva was good at ‘yabbing’ (i.e. taunting) people. He did not know I had just got a job as a music teacher in a highbrow secondary school.

After he left I went into a deep meditation that lasted for days. During that communing I plotted Rivers of Tears. A week later when Sylva came back I had written the first chapter of Rivers of Tears. He took the chapter away ignoring my protests. I was apprehensive that I might run out of inspiration and pack-up after the first episode had been published. He took the papers on a Wednesday.

By Saturday that week the first episode of Rivers of Tears appeared on Weekend VANGUARD. I became alarmed, and at the same time, moved by that kind of confidence the Editor and Sylva Eleanya reposed in me. I made up my mind that it would be better for me to die than to let Chuks and Sylva down. I kept writing. Every Wednesday Sylva came to Awofodu to collect what I had written for publication on Saturday. By God’s grace I never missed the deadline or disappointed those who trusted me until I finished Rivers of Tears.

Because of the way I wrote the novel, today I do not have the original manuscript of Rivers of Tears. Sylva took each hand written episode to Vanguard where it was typeset and most likely disc arded. I had to retype part of the book from newspaper copies and through the help of Moses Nosike retrieved some parts in soft copies from Vanguard computers.

How did I do it? I went to school in the morning and wrote later in the evening when I returned from school.

As I have said before, I composed the St Gloria’s College Anthem, a hugely emotional song which always drew tears of joy from the eyes of teachers, and students sang it with spirit. I am told that they still sing the same anthem till today without knowing the person that composed it. Perhaps the composer is anonymous, as they say.

I did well as a music teacher until Mrs. Aiyebusi, the proprietress, bought an old upright piano for the school, and then, my handicap as an instrumentalist began to manifest. Those who have been following The Piano Teacher know how I came to study music; that in fact, I was not a good music student â€" at least instrumentally. But boy, I was, and I am still good at the ory of music.

I had learned it the hard way, as far as 1992, that playing from music scores of crotchets and quavers is different from accompanying a singer on stage, extempore, i.e., impromptu, without preparation. It requires good musical ears (more than 80 percent of the world population is musically deaf. If you don’t have a sense of tonal center, it does not matter whether you are the best singer in the world or a great lover of music: you are musically deaf).Extempore accompaniment also requires broad knowledge of chord progressions; and then, a keen sense of rhythmic patterns.

There are many who have developed these musical skills without going to any music school. You see them in the churches or night clubs or secular dance bands. What many of them, if not all, cannot do, however, is to read and write music, and this is what music education is all about: reading and writing music. If you cannot read and write music you are a musical illiterate, even if you ar e a professor in some other academic discipline. Some educated people take offence when you tell them they are music illiterates, but that what they are, so long as they cannot read or write music.

In civilized societies, basic knowledge of music literacy and skill at playing at least one musical instrument is generally regarded as a mark of civilization. That is why the grand and upright pianos are to a Western world home, what television sets are to third world homes. That also explains why more than 98 percent of my students in Nigeria here are white expatriates. Most Africans, no matter how rich they may be, do not value music literacy. If they ever desire to play any musical instrument, it is for religious purposes, and they want to learn it by rote.

Besides being a mark of civilization, several scientific researches have shown that “children’s brains develop faster with music training” â€" music literacy and skills at musical instruments (see https://news.u Indians have also latched in on this finding, but would not like to pay commensurate fees for music lessons as other expatriates do. But music literacy is absolutely of no value to many Nigerians and Africans, not because they cannot afford the fees, but because they attach little or no value to it.

Most highbrow schools in Nigeria, however, strive to offer music education in their schools, even though many of them are unserious over it and would not want to pay the teacher what it is worth.

And so, I dished out my knowledge of theory of music at the newly established St Gloria’s College, Maryland, which was mainly the requisite for music education in primary and secondary school.

As soon as the proprietress bought one battered old piano, the students and teachers became expectant, and then my troubles began.

The battered upright piano was setup in a mini hall we used as Assembly Ground. The mini hall, therefore, became my office. When I did no t have a class I sat on the piano, practicing. I knew my weakness and I was determined to overcome it before anyone got hint of it.

I played the hymns and other songs from the books and also drilled myself on chord progressions. Children naturally love music. They followed me up and down the school and always trooped to my office during break periods. The proprietress noticed and loved it. Soon, other teachers became jealous. They ganged up against me and started working very hard to pull me down.


Source: Google News Music

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