The power of creative arts in molding our young
Guyana Chronicle
June 19, 2003

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THE examiner from the London Royal School of Music who came here recently spent just a few days listening to our young people, mostly on the piano and playing the recorder.

It makes you wonder.

Time was, when examiners came and spent a full two weeks, examining piano, flute, recorder, and guitar students, singers and others.

Thatís no longer the case. But why not!

Music teachers bemoan the fact that children nowadays are so taken up with lessons outside of the classroom that their parents no longer allow them the benefit of music lessons.

Fortunately, there are a few parents who are wise enough to realize that the two go together - academic sessions to make their children fit for the world of work, and music lessons to enhance that part of the man that sets him above animals and that makes him a human being, the spirit.

Tragically, this new phenomenon which relegates music and other artistic pursuits to a level that is way down on our list of priorities, finds distinctive expression in what we offer when we do perform. On stage, on radio and in press publications, our efforts pale in comparison with what used to be.

One may be tempted to say this is not so, citing the winners of the Guyana Prize for Literature and others who have done well. But arenít these the exceptions that prove the rule?

Of course, one facet of endeavour that has survived splendidly is art, as recent exhibitions at Castellani House tell us. But they do say that art is one form that rises phoenix-like from decaying societies, becoming even more beautiful.

Not that our society is crumbling; far from it. Still, there does seem to be a marked slippage in what we sometimes put together in the name of art.

One marked symptom of the careless manner in which we handle the language can be seen in advertisements on our local television stations.

If we fail so grossly at merely advertising a product or two, we shouldnít be at all surprised at the general standard of our creative writing.

Oh for some enterprising batch of persons to get together and launch some sort of Creative Arts Forum, at which interested persons can glean insights into the benefits of pursuing the arts seriously and then move on to practicing them in an atmosphere that is conducive and supportive!

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