RESPECTED music teacher and choral conductor Lincoln Muchinga believes that a people’s classification of music instruments reflects not only enlightenment, but is a testimony of the development of a people’s social life and culture at large.

Muchinga recently returned from Turkey where he says he became more informed about cultural diversity, which has deepened his interest in music instruments playing and making.

Delivering a workshop lesson to teachers and primary school students at the Music Consultancy Society recently, he said classification of Western music instruments was a knowledge base that was imparted to children so that they know about the instruments surrounding them.

In a wide-ranging conversation with NewsDay Life & Style Muchinga said: “Classification of Western music instruments is a knowledge base that is imparted to children so that they know about the instruments that surround them. This in turn helps the children to maintain their own history as well keep a record in the development of African instruments as opposed to Western music instruments.

“My lesson here was just meant to make children fully aware of the instruments that come from the Western countries so that they develop more interest in learning their own African instruments such as marimba, mbira, ngoma and chigufe, among plenty others.”

Muchinga said music instruments were like furniture, likewise the beautiful melodies and harmony in music should be synonymous with their adorable character and personalities. He indicated that the effort applied in perfecting music is the medicine that treats genes and hormones for children, teachers and parents to prepare for a better and shared future.

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“I went to Turkey through an invitation of a choral group that I worked with and in the process more music teaching opportunities arose and I ended up getting popular for playing marimba and mbira. Turkish music is more modal and highly dwells on minor keys with emphasis on smoothness and sentimentality. The music has longish notes which are typical of Islamic chants.

“I brought a lot of lessons back home: I would like to announce that I am polishing a five-hour live performance show which has segments for children’s praise and worship songs, classical and contemporary gospel music,” he told NewsDay Life & Style.

Muchinga highlighted that Western music instruments are classified in categories such as strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. String instruments (chordophones) are sounded by bowing and plucking. Bowed strings include violin, viola, cello and double bass; plucked strings include harp and guitar. Musicians select music instruments according to the taste of musical sounds they would want to promote. Likewise, this also accounts for the reason why music is regarded as one of the most distinct indicators of innovations. Music is supported by various arts disciplines like theatre, dance and fashion as reflected in the genre of opera.

He explained that the difference between Western and African classification of music instruments is in the fact that Africans restore their culture by upholding that such instruments as mbira, marimba and drums are mellow rhythmic instruments because they produce melodies and rhythms. In the Western classification, any instrument that produces sound through striking its body is called a percussion instrument. More closely, a local institution has a course in body percussion instruments which to an extent authenticates the proliferation of different perceptions of music instrument classification.

Music Consultancy Society of Zimbabwe (MCSZ)’s Music Academy director, Tavonga Chipadza said following the rise in demand for teaching and training musical arts his institution was seeking permission to be engaged for facilitation of workshops in visual and performance arts (VPA).

“MCSZ Music Academy is an institution registered with the National arts Council of Zimbabwe to educate and capacitate students, artists and teachers in music, theatre, dance and visual arts. Our strength lies in our capability to run an on-line school and academy which conducts face-to-face lessons and workshops at our campus in Hatfield, Harare. Over the few years of our establishment and conferring of certificates and diplomas in VPA in four graduation ceremonies, we have impacted the school’s curriculum through providing solutions and recommendations to the effective teaching of visual and performance Arts. Our main courses are Certificate in Visual and Performance arts and Diploma in Visual and Performance Arts run on block release and on-line basis,” he said.

Chipadza also noted that they also conduct intensive workshops in visual arts subjects such as stone modelling, painting, photography and film and performance arts subjects such as dance, music, theatre. He asserted that his institution got mileage through teaching short courses in music which include and are not limited to mbira (nyunganyunga), mbira (nhare), guitar, marimba, recorder, dance, choral and voice training, piano and keyboards and drums (ngoma), among many others.