• Friday, June 14, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Vital Edge Academy: Inspiring the next generation of musicians

Vital Edge Academy: Inspiring the next generation of musicians

The Nigerian music industry is vibrant, growing rapidly, and a significant contributor to the country’s economy. According to a study by Statista, the industry’s revenue increased from $26 million in 2014 to $34 million in 2018, with a projected growth to $44 million by 2023. These figures highlight the industry’s potential to support youth employment and generate substantial revenue.

Vital Edge Global Academy’s Saxophone Hub, a renowned music academy specializing in saxophone education, plays a vital role in the industry’s influence on the economy. The academy is dedicated to empowering young talents by providing exceptional education and mentorship to excel in the music industry. Through innovative programs, they aim to inspire and nurture the next generation of musicians.

In an exciting development, the academy recently announced a partnership with Backcountry Jazz in the United States for a scholarship program. This opportunity will grant exceptional students the chance to receive music training in the US and visit the prestigious Berkeley College of Music. The Backcountry Jazz scholarship program aims to identify and support outstanding talent within the industry, allowing deserving students to immerse themselves in the rich jazz culture and expand their musical horizons.

“Our mandate is to help to give hope to the seemingly bleak future of a lot of young musicians because a lot of us don’t really have a solid foundation when it comes to music,” said Afolabi Oke, Director, Vital Edge Academy.

“The opportunity is for us to create an enabling environment for our young people to dive. Our vision is to lay a solid foundation for the youths of our country. So that’s why we are again throwing this open to let everyone know if you join the Vital Edge Saxophone Hub movement, you might be opportune to be part of the scholarship program that we’re talking about,” he said.

Last year, several students from Vital Edge Global Academy’s Saxophone Hub had the privilege, of participating in the scholarship program. They embarked on an unforgettable journey to the United States, where they received invaluable training from renowned jazz musicians and experienced the vibrant jazz scene firsthand. These talented individuals returned to their communities with newfound knowledge, skills, and a burning passion to make a positive impact in the music industry.

Read also: Government urged to adopt pragmatic approach in curbing medical tourism

“Our criteria in selecting academy students who will participate in the scholarship is basically on merit. For this kind of opportunity, we have to put our best foot forward. So we had to look for our strong hand, people who could represent us in USA and who could also challenge the other kids; because kids get challenged by themselves,” said Jerry Omole, MD/CEO, CEO of VitalEdge Global Academy’s Saxophone Hub.

“One good thing about Vital Edge is that apart from just teaching the kids, we also created a platform to showcase the kids. We have a band called ‘The Brighter Crew’ and most of them play in the band. Also, the crew has showcased their talents as far as them playing at the US Consulate, British High Commission, and have been booked to open the Headies Award in Atlanta for September,” he continued.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Backcountry Jazz for this incredible scholarship program. The impact of last year’s trip was profound, and we are confident that this year’s participants will have an equally amazing experience. We remain committed to empowering and uplifting young talents in the music industry,” he said

Adebayo Praise, 16 years old sax player from Vital Edge’s Saxophone Hub, said “All our teachers at the academy are very passionate, they are willing to teach, they keep on giving you what you need, the skill, the emotion, how to do better, and the academy keep giving us the opportunity to even showcase ourselves.”

“There’s an activity we do at this saxophone hub called jam session; ehether you’re an exoert, a beginner or you just picked up the sax last week, Mr. Jerry will show you the way to play it, and still encourage you even if you don’t play the right thing because he’s ready to teach you.”

Adebayo Peter, parent to Adebayo Praise said “for me, it’s not just the training that sets the Saxophone Hub apart, you have the moral the standard, the discipline, to the extent that there are a lot of parents confident to drop their kids, rest assured the kids are in able hands to gain music knowledge.”

Joshua Akinotan, a student of the academy also participating in the scholarship said “Vital Edge is a very great institution, personally, it helped me grow at a pace I never knew I could move it at. The tutors and the CEO himself has this passion for training children and to be honest, five years or 10 years from now, what kind of artists, musicians Vital Edge will be creating will be outstanding and amazing.”

Similarly, David Oke, travelling on scholarship to Berkeley College said “I have not been at Vital Edge for as long as people are but I have been there for close to a year now and I can say that I have tried other music academies before Vital Edge but there is a way that they break down different things that just help me understand better.”

Speaking further, Omole highlighted funding as the primary challenge facing the Academy. “Everything we’ve done over the years, setting up these school, organizing these trainings, impacting in these kids and all of that, we’ve done it, from what I’ll call out-of-pocket funds. We don’t have any form of sponsorship or support yet.

“The challenge is that you want to do so much, but you have to work with the reality. You’re limited, with funds, limited with partnerships, but of course, we kept going.

“Then looking at it technically, another challenge we’ve had, it’s the fast approach mentality of an average African, you know, we want everything immediately. You see a parent drop a kid today to start learning the saxophone and by next month, he is already expecting the key to start playing like someone who has been training for about six years.”

Stressing the academy’s funding challenge, Oke said “This has been 10 years of sweat without any support at all, even the trip we are going for is personally funded by the parents. So we’ve never had any corporate sponsorship, and we are again the press to help to educate them.

“There is no greater investment, and I am speaking directly to President Tinubu, to help really invest in the lives of our youth or through medium like this because in the next eight years, you will be amazed at what these kids will become but if you don’t make the investment now, what are we going to be expecting to reap?

“Also, there are many corporate institutions out there that we believe can support this initiative. We can help to change the narrative of your child if only you are able to give us a little support.”

The upcoming trip to the United States holds great promise for this year’s selected students, eight in number.

Vital Edge Global Academy’s Saxophone Hub firmly believes that the experience gained during this journey will be transformative and provide the aspiring musicians with a platform to excel in their musical careers.

The visit to Berkeley College of Music, one of the most esteemed music institutions in the United States, will undoubtedly inspire the students and broaden their perspectives.