Last week one of Nigeria’s successful saxophonists, who has plied his trade alongside international greats, Olujazz, turned his attention to youngsters who are willing to learn the rudiments of mastering saxophone as an instrument. They had come from all over the country to drink deep from the well of a master and they were amply rewarded for their thirst.
Born Oluwole Alabi, the jazz musician, who had his concert last August, said there was a growing gap in the music industry, especially in the mastery of musical instruments among most musicians. With a technical instrument like saxophone it becomes even harder that it be learnt properly otherwise youngsters easily make an embarrassing mockery of it.
The motivations for the One-day Music Training with Olujazz, he said, were to make a change in the music industry by equipping young people with the right skills to practise it.He further stated, “A lot of people play without knowing what they are playing; they play phrases. We need to do it right. Some people can’t put their mouth right. You need versatility by playing your sax right. It’s going to be a trend, a movement. Some play sax and it sounds like piano. I learnt from everyone.
“Playing sax is a professional and not a just a vocational thing. Through playing it professionally you earn a living playing it big time. Also, I want to give back to society. My country has blessed me and I need to give back. I had planned to give out saxophones, but God ministered to me and said I should give knowledge instead rather than give instruments to people.
“Last, I want to help advance music in Nigeria. No matter the type of music you play, we all apply the same music rules.”Thereafter, Olujazz delved into the rudiments of music education. He taught the young musicians, male and female, starting with ‘introduction to saxophone’ and what wood wind instruments are and then to embouchure, which he emphasised is vital in the mastery of saxophone. Olujazz stressed on embouchure (how the mouth is placed on the saxophone) as the heart and soul of saxophone, noting, “We’re not really getting good sound through wrong use of embouchure because it’s a great deal. For your embouchure to be good, you have to be flexible for the resonance to come out right. For a good embouchure, the sound has to be even; make your embouchure static. For you to get a good embouchure, you mouth doesn’t move.”
Olujazz also taught ‘tone,’ ‘scales,’ and ‘mode’ and had practical moments where some trainees played, with him also playing to stress his points. Ayomide Alaba, a 17-year old, and Pelumi Gbotolorun, two youngsters, who took part in the training, were ecstatic, noting they had been impacted positively.
They said although they already played the saxophone, but that they had been further enriched with the training and would put it into practice and become better saxophonists in future.
Olujazz summed up the training thus, “Like I said, we’re trying to raise a whole community of new saxophone players in Nigeria that’d be able to compete with the whole world out there because Nigerians are kind of behind when it comes to this aspect of music. We’re trying to raise the bar so that we will be able to play in any kind of occasion, any kind of standard organization in the whole world. That’s what we’re trying to do. And we’re doing it for free because we’re giving back to the society at the same time.
“I look at it that Nigeria has blessed me a lot by God’s grace. I think it’s the right thing to do to help people as well so that we can have more jobs because there’s no job in the country. We want people to share in the blessings that we’ve got so that they would stop begging for money. Instead of begging us, we make them to be able to make their own money.“The training was open to everyone. We’ve made it that everyone has opportunity to register. They did online registration. Thank God, you can see the turn out is huge.”
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