Mono urges artistes to be educated



TOP music producer and instrumentalist Clive “Mono” Mukundu yesterday said it was important for musicians to equip themselves and enhance their professional profiles by upgrading their educational qualifications.

Mono, who is currently studying for a Music Business, Musicology and Technology degree with the Midlands State University, said the music industry was characterised with gambling and education was an effective fall-back plan.

“The music industry is a gamble. It is wise to have a back-up plan to cushion yourself and education can provide that back-up plan, since you can use the qualifications in academia, too,” he said.

The music producer was last year invited to lecture on jiti music at the University of Michigan and was able to acquaint himself well because of his educational background.

“The fact that I passed through Zimbabwe College of Music equipped me on how to academically explain what I needed to explain, and I got more invitations and offers,” he said, adding that a combination of experience and good academic qualifications was a door-opener.

Mono said the lack of requisite academic qualifications among artistes has seen much of the country’s music history documented by foreigners.

He said the lack of education has also made a lot of artistes ignorant about crucial legislation governing their industry.

In just one semester at the MSU, the author of Poor and Famous said he had amassed a wealth of knowledge.

Mono dismissed the notion that an artiste’s decision to go to college would “dilute one’s musicianship,” adding that his stint at the ZCM saw him acquire new skills, including playing mbira and marimba.

“Soon after college, a number of doors opened and my musicianship was never diluted, because I never subtracted anything from my music repertoire. I simply added more stuff,” he said.

He said a lot of musicians had asked him why he was still going to school, 30 years after establishing a viable music studio, but described himself as “a well-read artiste”.

“We must do away with the mentality that one seeks education only for the sake of looking for a better job. That’s a colonial, old-fashioned mentality. You can get a college degree to equip yourself to start your own company,” he said.

“The goal is not always to seek employment and be financially stable from the degree, but there are many benefits that can be opened up by education.”