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Music technology programme to support creative industry developed at Evelyn Hone College
March 18, 2020 at 12:8

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The music industry has drastically changed over years. Its transformation has been mostly technology driven. Audio and music technology, which encompasses musical instruments, sound generators, studio equipment and software, audio coding, reproduction software and devices have shaped the way music is produced, performed, distributed, and consumed. The evolution of music technology enabled studios and hobbyist producers to produce good quality music.

Artists explore different ways of sound generation and sound modification to improve effects, soundscapes and to conceive new musical styles. Audio and music technology skills are hardly available. There are no trades institutes and colleges in the country where music producers can go to acquire relevant skills in audio and music technology to make the Zambian music competitive and of international quality.

To support the creative economy; TEVETA, Ballyfemot College of Further Education and Evelyn Hone are developing a training programme in audio and music technology. The programme seeks to address skills gaps in the music industry and the industry’s contribution to job and economic development. Currently, most music producers engage in music composition without appropriate audio and music skills and competences. Some acquired the skills and competences outside the country at a high cost. The skills gaps affect the quality of music and growth of the music sector to match standards in other countries.

The programme is envisaged to provide industry-standard training and recognized qualifications for young people in audio and music technology. It will support the development of the music industry and enhance audio standards across radio, television, digital media and film. It will help in job creation, especially that the music industry offers many opportunities to producers, singers, stage managers and others. Although Zambia has a rich music culture and tradition, the potential of the music industry is currently limited by lack of skilled creative sound engineers and producers. Appropriate training programmes are essential in ensuring that the music, dance and sound meet international standards for players in the music industry to benefit from the creative economy.

Vocational education is crucial in solving problems of youth under and unemployment. It is increasingly recognized pivotal in responding to the needs of the rapidly growing population of young people and challenges the population increases comes with such as mass unemployment. Vocational education enables young people benefit from opportunities stimulated by new technology and new working environments. Vocational education provides hands-on and entrepreneurial skills for people to produce goods and services enterprisingly. The audio and music technology programme will enhance production of music and improve audio standards across all media thereby creating employment and business opportunities. Audio technicians will improve public performance, film production, games and animation production and television programming. In addition to television, radio and music industries that require audio technicians, the new mobile media industry is rapidly expanding and creating an increased demand for audio skilled persons.

The growing number of indoor and outdoor venues are creating a demand for live sound engineers. Large scale music festivals staged in the country are creating potential employment to those with the necessary skillsets. Choral and church music also offers opportunities for both live sound and recording. The Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) identifies diversification of the tourism sector as a strategic priority. It specifically identifies the promotion of music and culture as key to diversify the tourism sector. Zambians that studied abroad and self-trained sound technicians are valuable resource in developing well skilled workforce that augment the growth the music industry.

The creative economy is among the fast-growing sectors of the world economy. Its significant employment and wealth creation potential and positive social benefits are many. However, it is also a highly unequal sector. A highly skilled and creative workforce is essential to reap the benefits of the creative economy. Without appropriate skills, the divide created by the digital and creative economy will continue to deepen.

Audio and music technology are connected to musical and technological creativity where new sound possibilities are created. Because technology is changing the way musicians compose and produce music, it has also changed the way recorded or live music is being delivered to audiences. Skills in audio and music technology are key in the growth of the music industry whether the music is local or contemporary.

Music is major part of the creative economy. Yet despite the abundance of creative and music talent and expression, many countries are excluded from the global music industry and from participation in the global music community due to lack of technical knowledge and skills. Zambia is rich in music and dance but the development of the industry to support sustainable livelihoods has been hampered by lack of sound engineers, music producers and audio technicians. Similarly, music and sound in radio, television and film is underdeveloped.

The audio and music technology programme aim to equip citizens with skillsets that allow them to start a career in the music industry with right skills and competences. The programme includes live sound, audio production techniques and developing multi-media content for various industries. The skilled persons in audio and technology will find employment in the media, entertainment, television, film production, theatre and music industries as sound engineers, music producers, audio editors, audio production programmers, technicians and pro-audio sales. The programme will start in 2020. It will ground learners with scientific and technological principles behind digital audio and with a well-developed artistic skillset used in music electronic devices and computer software in playback, recording, composition and performance.