Thursday, 3 November 2011

Sammdebby… a project of change

Shina Obasola
By Omiko Awa

The Chief Consultant, Sammdebby Music Organization, Shina Obasola’s worries over lewd song produced by our local artistes led him to come up with a music concert that would not only counteract common songs, but encourage participants to be good musicians, by learning how to play musical instruments and use decent words in songs.
 Come June 18, the fifth edition of the show, Children’s Music Concert, which has     turned a talent hunt for pupils and students of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions that can play musical instruments, jazz and contemporary music will entertain guests.
  Looking at the nature of the event and the ages of the participants, one wonders why children’s musical concert.
   But the Chief Consultant says, “I conceived the idea while I was teaching music.  I discovered that children love music and are influenced by what they hear. They easily get use to the tones of music and in no time start miming them. I also found out that they enjoy singing some of the immoral songs of our local artistes, which is the order of the day. With this knowledge, I decided to stand in the gap to make a difference by using what they enjoy doing to change their focus. That is, to make them sing and play good songs in place of the immoral ones.”
   With this, have you any particular type of music in mind?
   “Yes. He continues, we shall be looking out for classical and contemporary music as well as proficiency on musical instruments.”
  Obasola, who has been losing sleep thinking of how to change the situation, decided to carry his campaign of change beyond the classroom by using the concert as a change agent.
  What informed your decision for this change?
  “Firstly, it is the interest of our children, who are tomorrow’s leaders and for the betterment of the society. Secondly, it’s to encourage the play of musical instruments and the appreciation of classical and jazz music. In fact, the desire to change the scene for good informed my decision,” he mutters.
  And the schools?
   “We are focusing on schools that teach music and also have the equipment for the pupils and students to practice,” he says.
 Though, his organisation is giving more attention to private school pupils and students, public schools participation is based on choice and schools interested on the project.
   “For public schools, we are making it more of a charity by reducing registration fees as a way to encourage participation,” he intones.
Why starting with four year olds?
  “We want them to start identifying with good music as well as playing musical instrument at an early age, so that by the time they are old enough to take decisions, they would not end up playing songs with gutter language. We want to rekindle the love of jazz music and to make tomorrow’s artistes, true musicians that can sing and play instruments, he states.
   Obashola, whose dislike for the current state of our music industry believes, the artistes are not to take all the blames for bringing out such music.
   “It is the orientation of most producers. They believe for any music to be popular and sell very well, it needs to have some kind of vulgar language in it, which is a wrong impression that has to be corrected. So, we hope to change this by instilling in the minds of the people, especially, children and the youths, what good music should look like; they will, with time grow to influence others and in turn change the situation. It’s a long time project, I know, but it’s a battle that must be won. Another reason for this, is because most of our artistes can’t play musical instruments, so they easily fall to the whims of the producers and because of their ineptitude they fizzle out after one or two CDs. We, as a result of this, hope to inculcate the desire to play musical instruments in the minds of our artistes starting with the little ones,” he asserts.
   The achieving the organisation’s goal sounds vague, but the Music Consultant is optimistic that its attainment is gradual and would surely instigate some changes in the participants
  “ It may sound unattainable in our generation because the effect will not be immediate, as it’s a long-term project that involves constant hosting of events such as the one that will come up in June 18 at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Centre, Lagos; where we intend to unify public and private schools students through music,” he assures.
  So, what’s Sammdebby organisation? The MUSON graduate discloses, It’s a musical organization set up to train children and adult to read musical notes and as well play any musical instrument. We also organise concerts for firms, schools and corporate bodies. And come June 18, we shall be organising Children’s Musical Concert for pupils and students of public and private schools in Lagos, and for any interested persons that is not above 35 years.  We also want to use the event to make the two calibres of schools to work together and produce a mass orchestra.” 
  As for challenges, he says,Some schools just don’t see any reason to teach music in their schools while some only teach the theory without exposing students to the rudiments of playing instruments. Though very few parents encourage their children to learn the subject and even go to the extent of employing private teachers to take them on home studies, many are still skeptical about music.  However, we want to change this attitude by appealing to parents to encourage their children to learn how to play at least one musical instrument, because it helps students to improve on their studies by increasing their level of concentration on anything they do, which will no doubt increase their intelligent quotient (I.Q).”    

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