If there was a teacher at school who you remembered for good reasons, it was probably a performer. Someone who was comfortable enough in themself to dress up as a historical character, or sing in class, or raise the awareness of the room. The ones that really stood out had a way of imparting the knowledge with humour, zest and passion.
I keep saying I want to be a musician, because I’m attracted to the idea of reading music as if its English, of hearing the melody in my head and being able to instantly play it, of having improvisational and compositional skills. Of being a performer that inspires people, that jogs them out of routine. But as I enter year 32, I am becoming aware that the door is closing on me being a young, standout star performer – or a young any type of performer! I have a feeling that my true calling has as much to do with music as education. Edutainment. In fact, it’s more than a feeling now. It’s a where-to-start moment.
Most where-to-start moments are followed by the realization that you’ve already started. I already get more excited by being able to answer questions about all this sophisticated music technology. I’ve already debased myself with a short series of facetious, thought-provoking videos (remember Is A Blah Blah?). I have already dissociated myself with the tired old image of the superstar, lights-and-make-up musical star. I mean, honestly, how boring, right? I want something new and exciting. I want to hold workshops and impart this knowledge, show how to practically apply the skills that I have learned.
If I was formulating a plan on how to go about this – and draw some kind of salary from it – it would begin with the most important question: who’s the market? In this case, I believe the market is ripe and flowering. Thanks to an already over-saturated media landscape, we have a generation of teenagers who know that they want to try their hand at making music. Specifically, electronic music, because, let’s face it, it’s the avenue with the lowest barrier to entry. That means numbers, which is all a potential sponsor or advertiser wants to hear. So focusing on how to make what Ninja Tune calls ‘the broadest beats’ (ie best beats), we have the potential to reach outwards into communities and gather willing youngsters into music workshops and training sessions with the intention of qualifying them for future achievements.
I believe something like this is percolating somewhere in South Africa, and I believe I am partly responsible for making it happen.