The introduction of western education through the coming of Christian missionaries has contributed to the development of music generally in Nigeria. Music education is relevant in that it is meant to acknowledge and send some kind of messages to people around the world and across cultures. Music Education refers to the training and learning of music.
Music Education is a field of practice, in which educators are trained for careers as elementary or secondary music teachers, school or music conservatory ensemble directors. This form of education can be traced back to Antiquity period with the teachings of the Greek Philosopher, Pythagoras (510 BC- 479 BC) and the Chinese Sage, Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC), both of whom considered music to be important. When a child plays a musical instrument, he or she is developing key brain function that not only enhances musical learning but also develop the academic and social skills, improved memory and the ability to differentiate sound and speech.
MUSIC AS A FORM OF COMMUNICATION
Music is a form of communication. As a unique form of communication, it can change the way students feel, think and act.
Music is an integral part of culture, past and present. It helps pupils understand themselves as well as relate to others. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music. What a tragedy it would be, if we had lived in a world where music was not taught to children? The relevance of music to our economy is without doubt, and the value of music in shaping individual abilities and characters are attested to in a number of places. Music program in the schools helps our kids to communicate in real and substantial ways.
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Education authorities and the society do not seem, to help the cause of music education in this country enough. Music Education is slowly gaining a firm root in the country today despite the road blocks placed on its way by economic and political developments. Government has a lot to do about Music Education in Nigeria. Music can surround us while we concentrate on other things; it can be there in the background unobtrusively. Listening to music is one of the pleasures of human existence involving communication and the expression of feelings. Music literacy encourages acceptance internationally for it is a language without barrier universally. It helps develop the Nation in terms of what we have to offer through musical advertisements called “Jingles”.
THE ROLE OF MINISTRY OF EDUCATION IN MUSIC EDUCATION
The Ministry of Education should emphasize that students be exposed to Music History, Theory and Musical instruments. This is imperative because it is the right of every child to be exposed to music, it is not a privilege. Music is an integral part of the African culture, from his cradle to the grave.
Music literacy would help expose the creativity in the in the individual and would not be handicapped by the fact that he cannot appreciate it in terms of reading or writing music.
The relevance of music as a powerful organ of communication should be emphasized. Music can make us feel happy and at peace with others, by fostering unity among people and among nations.
CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS FACING MUSIC EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
According to Stephen Olusoji‘s paper on The Relevance of Music Education to the Nigerian Educational System, the following findings showed that;
Findings from the study showed that:
- Students had problems convincing their parents about their choice of music as a career. 79% of the population said their parents disliked music as a career for their wards. It was particular visible in the responses of the female respondents whose parents felt it is a profession for men not women, while others had problems drawing lines between music as vocation and avocation.
- The findings also indicated that most respondents choose music out of frustration of not making the required grades for their first choice courses and their attempt to get admission to the university in any other available courses with a lower requirement. 65% of respondents had positive responses to the question (c) above for Category A respondents.
- The age-long stigma attached to music is still quite prevalent in contemporary times, as undergraduates still encountered derogatory remarks from the society on their choice of music as a course and profession.
- As a follow-up to the aforementioned, most of the respondents generally chose pop icons, both local and international, as their role models and would rather chart and pursue their career in popular music because of the immediate financial rewards rather than a career in classical music.
- Students showed total disappoint regarding the training, facilities, and instructors in most Nigerian institutions. A total of 65% of the respondents were of the opinion that facilities used for instruction were inadequate and obsolete; 35% opined that more competent and well-trained instructors should be employed; and 40% expressed that the curriculum should be broadened to cater for and accommodate different areas of interest of students as some would like to specialize in areas, such as, studio management, entrepreneurial or music business, music therapy, and other specializations that were not currently offered in most Nigerian institutions.
Compiled by Shosanya Babatunde Oluwaseyi, a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, is a certified Cambridge Examiner for IGCSE Music, a part-time Music Teacher at the Muson School of Music, Head of Music at British International School, Victoria Island, Lagos and presently Director of Music / Choirmaster, St. James Anglican Church, Itire, Lagos. He holds Three (3) Masters Degree in Music Education, Music Theory and Composition and lastly Masters Degree Category, Teacher Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).