The Guyana Music Teachers Association has done it again By Raschid Osman
Guyana Chronicle
June 13, 2004

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LAST Sunday, in the spacious Marian Academy auditorium on Carifesta Avenue, the Guyana Music Teachers Association presented Young Musicians On Stage 2004 - a satisfying showing that testified to the fact that there is still a place for good music in the Cooperative Republic.

One listens to radio and one wonders where has all the good music gone.

But never mind. All is not lost. The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Ms. Gail Teixeira was there as the young ones played the piano and sang and danced, with the confidence peculiar to their age group and a bravado that seemed to say, "There, you try and do it better."

But why is it that these young ones turned to classical music. Those of us who really listen know that it does soothe the savage breast. There is now baby music. Studies have shown that Mozart put babies in a good mood and they go off to sleep. One outlandish researcher contends that playing Mozart in a fowl house makes hens lay more eggs.

Students of Mathematics are said to do better while listening to classical music. Psychologists say that in our now generally disordered societies, the orderliness of music from the Classical Period is satisfying, a reassurance that there is still some order in our lives, very much like the sun that goes down in the west and comes up in the east. For in classical compositions all the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted, and for every 'this' there is a 'that'.

Nine-year-old Nicholas Koylass, an up-and-coming pianist at Sunday evening's concert, has discovered that good music relieves stress, and "relaxes the soul and mind".

"At home we have a Yamaha piano, made in England and I practise on it for one hour and fifteen minutes every day," he said, just before he offered a spirited rendition of Dussek's Gavotte in F on stage.

Nicholas sings in his church choir as well and his Mum plays the violin. Nicholas was awarded the Junior Music Teachers Prize for a distinction at Grade Two piano. His teacher is Ms Rosemary Henry.

And then there are the Thompson twins, Justin and Joel, 15, alike as peas in a pod, and both pianists who are likely to succeed.

Both Fifth Form students at St. Joseph's High, the twins were recently very successful at their Grade Four Exams and copped the Orin Barrow Trophy. They are pupils of Ms Pauline Mitchell

The Thompson twins say that way back they fooled around with toy pianos and from there they moved on to the real thing. Today they love the music of Beethoven, intrigued by the many moods of the composer. They delight in the sweeping grandeur of his Sonata Appassionata, as compared with the rippling, lyrical Moonlight Sonata.

The Thompsons also find classical music to be soothing, though they do not listen to music while studying, as many other musicians do. "That doesn't work for me," says Joel.

At the concert, the twins played Weber, Hummel and Godard.

Candace Barnes, 15, a Fifth former at Mae's Secondary, grew up in a home with a piano and she just gravitated to it.

"I wanted to learn to play it well and my Mum encouraged me," she says.

Chances are that these young musicians, and the many others who did well at last Sunday's concert, will move on to satisfying lives, not necessarily becoming professional musicians, but buoyed by the spiritual lift to be had from making and appreciating good music.