FEMALE students at the Zimbabwe Music College (ZMC) and the Zimbabwe Academy of Music have expressed their reservations over venturing into music full-time, given the negative attitude society portrays towards them, forcing them to opt for the relative safety of teaching than practising music.
BY PRECIOUS CHIDA
In various interviews with NewsDay, the students said they are more comfortable with teaching music than practising it, in an industry where many females were perceived to be women of easy virtue.
ZCM student, Tanaka Chivasa said female musicians remained isolated or ended up toning down their music and performances, while others quit.
“As an aspiring female musician, the challenges I face include lack of support from my immediate family members. They see music as a waste of time and as something done by uneducated people, so telling them that my passion is on the performing side, I end up being seen as a prostitute hence the only way I can run away from these stereotypes and still do what I like to do is to be a music teacher, when I finish my degree,” she said.
Theresa Gotora, another student, said her responsibilities as a mother have also forced her to aim to be a music teacher.
“Becoming a professional musician means I have to spend a lot of time away from my family, so as a mother I don’t think I can put my career first before my family,” she said.
“The music industry in Zimbabwe could be successful if people who are educated in music could take their talents to the stage, however, bubble gum music is being produced due to lack of experts in the sector.”
ZCM music lecturer, Tadzorerwa Moyo, said most of the female students face bleak prospects unless, if they decided to go against the grain.
“The girl child has fear of the unknown. They start thinking what if their music is not appreciated by people? Some of our students think of marriage. A few men appreciate women in music so, to women, teaching becomes the only thing that they can do without being judged,” she said.
ZCM has produced some great musicians including mbira maestro, Hope Masike, and has tried crafted programmes aimed at empowering women, as band leaders and lead vocalists than just dancers and backing vocalists.