Alpha Institute hitting the right note
At an institution with a 137-year history, it is easy to get lost in seemingly endless best-of lists.
In the case of the Alpha Institute, formerly Alpha Boys' School, class superlatives extend from music to printing, to football, to boxing, and more.
Since becoming a day school for 16 to 19-year-old young men in 2014, Alpha Institute students have received national honours for their results on City & Guilds exams and have won Jamaica's Best School Band Competition.
Alpha also launched the new Sean Paul Music Technology Centre and helped over 100 young men earn comprehensive vocational training certificates in trades such as music, woodwork, landscaping, and barbering.
Alpha's music programme is much more than playing musical instruments. New music students must know the basics of at least one instrument, but Alpha also offers training on campus from experienced professionals in disc jockeying, Pro Tools recording, live mixing, radio broadcasting, and beat-making.
Class projects include music video-production, music recording, and performances. All students interested in technology also learn music theory and may sit for the Associated Boards Royal School of Music Exams.
Leroy Thompson, one of Kingston's veteran sound engineers, said, "Alpha offers a stepping stone into the technical part of the music industry. They have the facilities and the staff to help a young man who is willing to learn find a career in the music or entertainment business."
Four music graduates who only just completed the programme have earned awards to go to London, England, and San Andres, Colombia this summer for continuing education and professional networking activities.
"Alpha has prepared us for the past three years," said Jordan Moncrieffe, a member of the award-winning school band and one of the students invited to London for continuing education and networking. "We are grateful for the opportunity and want to do our best possible."