Music programme is on offer
UCCI is hoping to add a new dimension to the educational experience it offers its students with a music programme.
‘UCCI aims to provide a learning environment that encompasses all facets of life,’ says UCCI President Hassan Syed.
‘The infusion of arts, drama and culture in our programmes will allow our students to have a well-rounded personality as well as introduce diversity and cultural sensitivity in this very challenging environment.’
He says the inclusion of the new study stream was an easy decision to make, as students have been inquiring about the possibility of these kinds of programmes for some time.
‘UCCI is now in a position to respond to the needs of its learning community,’ he says.
And the rapidly-expanding college has scored a major coup by landing acclaimed concert pianist and music educator Glen Inanga to head up the new music program.
Over an illustrious career, the Cambridge- and Royal Academy of Music-educated musician has won several prestigious music competitions and has performed all over the world.
He also has an established musical connection with Grand Cayman.
As a member of a noted piano duo with Jennifer Micallef, Mr. Inanga has already made a few visits to Cayman to perform at the Cayman Festival of the Arts in 2004 and 2006 and forged links with the musical community.
‘There is a real need for getting students to make a connection with something that resonates with them emotionally,’ he says.
‘Music is a fantastic way to get people to achieve their potential by providing something creative to chew on.’
As a preliminary step to developing a one-year certificate program in music, Mr. Inanga will be teaching a seven-week music appreciation course.
It is designed not only for people who have little or no background in music, but also those who are looking to rekindle their interest.
Students can expect to come away with a well-rounded general understanding of what the different musical genres are all about.
The newness of what’s happening is tangible, and has exciting benefits: Mr Inanga got to pick out a brand-new performance-grade piano for his classes.
Aside from the sweet tones of a new instrument echoing through UCCI’s halls, the programme is expected to have a number of other benefits.
For one, Mr. Inanga has found that music education is a great way to bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together.
Music education also provides a useful framework for approaching life and higher education.
‘Music, as a discipline, offers a wonderful structure within which to work hard and strive for achievement,’ he says.
From the grin on his face, it’s evident he thinks this discipline is of the enjoyable sort.
With a focus on developing listening skills, Mr. Inanga wants to help students discover the aspects of music that they find personally relevant, and allow them to articulate what they find appealing.
He says they may be surprised to discover that what they like in a popular song may have roots that stretch back centuries.
‘From my experience in teaching, everyone has something musical to connect with. It may take a bit of time to uncover it, but when you forge that connection, music begins to have new meaning,’ he says.
‘That is where the point of learning begins, when people begin exploring for themselves.’
As enthusiastic and outgoing as he is, it’s easy to conclude Mr. Inanga is telling the truth when he describes how the classes will offer lots of fun opportunities for student participation and interaction.
‘I’ve had a lot of success in using lateral ways of learning,’ he says.
‘I’m all about experiencing things for yourself and learning in the way that works for you personally.’
Although UCCI does not have the capacity to offer instrumental instruction classes, these are definitely in the works as well.
‘It is fitting that this new programme is happening considering Cayman’s diverse musical heritage and UCCI’s mission to produce well rounded graduates,’ says Mr. Inanga.
‘Just gauging from the interest, it’s clear there is a lot of talent here, just waiting to be channelled.’