Comfort Zone Music
Yes, it has become an annual activity to engage the youth at the Kaiso House for 2-3 weeks during the summer holidays where Comfort Zone Music teaches the intricacies of playing drums, keyboards, guitars, bass as well as getting the youth involved in song writing and the rudiments of music theory and appreciation.
Now, Comfort Zone Music promises to be bigger and better because more instruments will be made available.
With the closure of the Kairi School of Music, for two decades now, Comfort Zone Music has embraced a number of young people in positive hands-on music programmes, referred to as functional music, for two summers now.
Esteemed practitioners and tutors such as Julie Martin, Huguette St Hilliare, Dada Lawrence, Ian Jackson, Brent Samuel, just to name a few, have acted as facilitators to over 60 students over the past two years. Both Martin and Jackson are recipients of the Golden Drum Award.
Some of these young people have gone on to play in music groups, at their churches and, at least, accompany themselves to their favorite tunes/melodies. There were some who could not even play an instrument and upon leaving they got certain basic skills in chord formation, setting of instruments, timing, keeping a beat or writing or were able to appreciate qualities in a good composition; they are now future candidates for judging of song contests.
July 13, 2016 marks the third year the activity which parents have, and should embrace, for a minimal fee, when one considers expensive instrument are available to learners, and the fact that one can be assured that their child or ward is involved in something constructive early in the summer before going overseas, or probably leaving them time to get involved other programmes, something away from the books and exams.
But the vision for Comfort Zone Music is even bigger. According to director Ian Jackson, it's about having a place where young people can come in a few times a week and on Saturdays to play, rent or learn music in a practical way. The traditions of the music tutoring establishments here have focused on reading music for the Royal School of Music exams. Comfort Zone is catering for people who want to learn the guitar, keyboard or drums by way of their ear, inspiration and God given skills or abilities and move on; in a matter of three months the students are competent at Reggae, Cadance, Bouyon, Gospel, Ballad or Calypso.
Then, the young aspiring musician can decide his future in terms of the theoretical aspect or advancing himself to a "band level" or artistic competence. Another factor is that many students and parents do not have money to sustain a programme and so they move on once they get the basic concepts. While nothing is better than having a tutor walk one through a music programme, with the availability of the Internet, and music tutorship soft-ware and tutors on the World Wide Web, many keen students have been known to move on from there with a basic foundation.
The Dominica Calypso Association has teamed up annually by making the Kaiso House available and hence shows its commitment to artistic development. CARIMAN will also be running a similar programme in the summer as they seek to curb youth violence and aggression. It is expected that compositions will be geared towards this end. Another musician, Derick "Rah" Peters, is at the helm of this one.
Certainly before the end of the summer Comfort Zone will also be having workshops in songwriting and Calypso judging. The public is reminded that there is a shortage of judges and the same 15 or so persons judge the same Calypsos at various stages of the competitions over and over and over again. It is also no secret that competence is lacking in many areas and so one should not wait till the Calypso season comes around to say "Dem fellas cannot judge" or "De judges tief". You can be part of the move to have more competence in this area and so Comfort Zone with the DCA and the coordinator of Calypso judges will be calling on you in this activity…soon.