AWRIGHT DEN!: Students vs residents
BARBADOS HAS PRODUCED many excellent musicians, some of whom are graduates of the music programme at the Barbados Community College (BCC).
As a past student of the college, I always enjoyed whenever the students of the music programme from Morningside would perform for staff and us. I was generally impressed with their skill and creativity.
Many students within our public schools are benefiting from music teachers, many of whom would have attained their Associate degree in music from the BCC.
We see these music teachers at the forefront with their students at NIFCA, inter-school singing competitions, school pageants, school concerts, and with school choirs, orchestras and bands.
Being a musician myself, I know the importance of personal practice, rehearsal and performance. Musicians make a lot of noise, but this noise is essential since all instruments make a sound. It is impossible for any musician to develop and excel without practice, and once there is practice, there will be noise.
On Tuesday afternoon, while sitting with a music teacher and former student of the programme, I was made aware of a letter on many Facebook pages with regard to the “playing of music in and around the performance hall at Morningside”.
The letter reads: “Students are asked to observe the times for the playing of music in and around the performing hall and must desist from playing outside of those times.
“The performing hall is located in close proximity to a residential district and the college is cognizant of its responsibility of being a good neighbour and corporate citizen.
“The times for playing music in the performing hall are Mondays to Fridays: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.”
The letter is signed by Gladstone A. Best, PhD, principal, and dated March 19, 2012.
This letter has generated discussion on Facebook and I have decided to join the discussion, but through this article.
This situation has been going on at BCC for quite some time, where residents from time to time would complain about noise from the music students. One could argue that those who came and found the college already there shouldn’t complain.
Someone else might argue that since the school closes at 9 p.m., all music should stop at 9 p.m.
Students might argue that sometimes the only time they get to practise and rehearse is after school closes.
Other students might argue that an official letter should be sent to those residents who play loud music and disturb students who are studying.
I am sure there are many more arguments that could be put forward, and though all of them have value, none would solve the problem.
I can vividly remember the first time I journeyed to Morningside and visited the area in which the music programme is conducted. I was shocked to see how cramped and small it was.
There are about 50 students doing music and they share the small building with all the theatre arts students. Both theatre arts and music students share the tiny hall, the two practice rooms and the small computer lab that contains two or three computers. This forces some of the music students to practise in the road, the car park or under a tree.
I see this situation between the school, students and residents as an opportunity for development and a catalyst for change.
The time has come for the Ministry of Education to give the music and theatre arts programme their own spaces away from the college itself. I am suggesting that both programmes be held at the same location but in different buildings.
Hospitality students at BCC have their own space and it is serving them well. Musicians will always make noise, and we need to give them their own space to do that.
Representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, the student body, teachers, past music students and musicians need to sit down and discuss this situation.
This is an election year, and politicians must understand that the students of our tertiary institutions are a massive and valuable constituency.
• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador.