BBC Podcast With Chi- CHI Nwanoku OBE-Music
I was fortunate to listen to a BBC podcast featuring an Interview with Musician Chi- Chi Nwanoku.
It is an interview that every leader or official involved in education should listen to.
Chi Chi is a double bass player and founder of Europe’s first professional majority ethnic orchestra,- Chineke.
There is so much wisdom and understanding in just a few words in the interview that speaks volumes the world and Education authorities should engrave in their brains and act accordingly.
Fate determined Chi Chi’s musical career; she was an Olympic hopeful in the making, but an injury during a football match ended her career.
The first comment that caught my attention immediately was about fast -twitch muscles in relation to sprinting; I too was a sprinter and did not take it seriously; one of my cousins went on to be an Olympic gold medalist.
Sprinting seems to be in the family; but my thoughts were on the combination of physical activities and music, a combination that is often neglected in State schools.
As stated by Chi- Chi “Double base saved her life”
Her insight on the reasons why minorities are not visible on the classical music stage was direct and spot on but it is not just minorities is from the working class all over the world.
She pinpointed financial constraints as the number one reason, she continued by saying that music education was shrinking away from state schools.
The visionary and most valuable part of her interview is the following-
“What you garner from learning a musical instrument, the study of reading the music
It is the only thing that you study where you are using both sides of the brain the left is the creative, the empathetic the emotional –all of those things that every person has as oppose to the right side of the brain which is all the order, organization and reasoning and that technical side of the brain, they serve each other.
Listening Not only to yourself but listening to each other that is the skill that the whole world can do with a bit more.
Minorities and Music Programs
Her reasons for forming the Chineke Orchestra was the-
lack of access, opportunity, and visibility to talent among people like herself; -from a minority background.
Chineke-The spirit of all good creation
I am almost tempted to say that it is a conspiracy to place distance and distinction between the working classes and minorities.
Take swimming for example, the reason we do not see more minority swimmers is also financial, access to swimming pools compounded by poor leadership from the minority communities.
That is beginning to change, but not fast enough
There was another comment that bore mentioning-
‘You cannot be what you cannot see”
That comment alone sums up the argument for lack of visibility of minorities in classical music, swimming, and ballet.
The importance of learning music to creativity cannot be overstated; all schools should make music as important as reading, writing and arithmetic.
Take note of the El Sistema social program in Venezuela, The Simon Boliva Youth Orchestra ; and the Inner London cities program, inspired by the Caracas (Venezuala) experience and spearheaded by Internationally renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.
Tribute To My Father
On a personal note I must be thankful for my deceased father for teaching me how to read music and play the flute from age 4 until his immigration to the UK some years later.
I do not know where he learnt his music; he did not attend high school, he was a farmer and later a factory worker in the UK.
However he taught students how to read music, and play the flute; he was a choirmaster for four different gospel churches; because he was the only one in the village that could read music and a Christian. He might have been the only one in the village that read music.