BOOST FOR MUSIC - Marley Foundation gives big to Alpha Institute

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July 06, 2016
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Music lessons at the Alpha Institute are about to become more enjoyable. Students have been practising in places which are less than desirable at the vocational school in Kingston.

According to special projects director at Alpha, Joshua Chamberlain, students have been practising in places such as the assembly hall and in the cafeteria, and have even been taking classes in sheds and under trees.

"We don't really have proper space to do everything that we want to do, so this will allow us to do more and to do what we are doing better," he told THE STAR.

With the Bob Marley Foundation gifting Alpha Institute US$10,000 or approximately J$1.3 million towards the completion of its ensemble room, Chamberlain said major transformation is under way.

more activities

"It's going to set a whole new tone to music education at Alpha. Right now, education takes place in places that weren't really designed for music," he told The STAR.

"We expect students to be more settled because they are in a proper space and we expect more activities to take place," Chamberlin said.

The improved facility will provide one teacher and up to 20 students in one sitting, a suitable space for instruction and practice. The room will boast sound absorption capacity among other amenities.

The ensemble room, which is named after Reggae legend Bob Marley will also facilitate workshops, master classes and service learning opportunities. "The Foundation is very impressed with the current music technology course which is geared towards better facilitating the transition from school to working the 21st century, which is coupled with the contemporary teaching tools and strategies,"Alicia Williams of the Bob Marley Foundation said.

recruiting students

From the 1890s, the Alpha Institute has produced some of the world's most respected and skilled musicians, like pioneers Don Drummond, Lester Sterling, Tommy McCook and Cedric Brooks, founding members of the Skatalites Leroy Smart and drummer Leroy Wallace, among many others. The Alpha Institute is currently recruiting students aged 16 to 18, for training in music education, recording and production and basic studio techniques.

"We have the right teachers, the right students, right curriculum, and now the Bob Marley Foundation is giving us the right space," Chamberlain said.

"Alpha Institute is honoured for the support from the Bob Marley Foundation. Music education at Alpha is a critical piece of Alpha's vision for social development and youth employment," he said.

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