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Music Scholars Entreated to Prioritise Honing Their Skills

A music theorist, Emeritus Prof. Kofi Agawu has urged lecturers and students of music to prioritise developing their skills as musicians to increase their reputation in the musical arts.

Emer. Prof. Agawu said this at a day’s seminar organised by the Department of Music Education, University of Education, Winneba at the School of Creative Arts (SCA) Conference Room, Central Campus. The seminar was held under the theme “Creating Dynamic Intellectual Connections Towards Collaborative Research in the Musical Arts”.

"If you are playing an instrument, you should play it and practise it for about 12 hours a day; you should play solo and you should play ensemble. If you are composing, you should compose; you should be miserable when you are not composing. You should also explore things while composing; explore worlds and allow yourself some room for creativity. And if you are a dancer, you should dance. I just want to say honing your skills as a musician, whether composing, dancing, or doing other related things, should be of utmost importance. 


Emeritus Prof. Kofi Agawu


"You don’t learn the piano by reading books on piano; you go to the practice room and get lost in it for hours. If you don’t have that commitment to honing your skills, I honestly don’t know what it is you are studying music for," he asserted.

Emer. Prof. Agawu advised participants to read as much as they could for facts and strategies for knowledge production. “Read critically when you are in the position to do that. In other words, do not assume that the person who wrote the article knows what they are saying; be skeptical while you are reading; choose modules of excellence scholarship.”

The recipient of the 1992 Dent Medal entreated attendees to endeavour to write scholarly and publish articles in refereed journals.


Participants in a group photograph with the main speaker, Emer. Prof. Agawu after the seminar


“Writing is hard, it’s not something that comes naturally to a lot of people, I must say. You must work at it to do it right. So, write short papers, write long papers, and publish in refereed journals.

“What we call 'art music' is music that has an interrogative quality. You’re not just composing to feel good; you’re being creative. You are composing to explore, to discover things, and so if your music is lacking that interrogative quality, to me, there is a problem. You should explore the elements of music. You should give yourself that creative freedom and be crazy sometimes. All of these are acceptable because you are expressing yourself in this art of tone," he stated.


Dr. Augusta Arko-Mensah


The Head, Department of Music Education, Dr. Augusta Arko-Mensah, in welcoming participants, indicated that the prime focus of the seminar was to interact with Emer. Prof. Agawu to edify faculty members on collaborations, fellowships, and a whole lot of other opportunities available to music lecturers, graduate, and undergraduate students, as well as the university community in general.

The Vice-Dean of SCA, Dr. Evans Asante, who chaired the occasion on behalf of the Dean of SCA, Prof. Emmanuel Obed Acquah, emphasised the importance of creating dynamic intellectual connections for collaborative research.  


Dr. Evans Asante


“In as much as this is in music, it’s arts and we are all going to benefit at the end of the day whether you are in music, theatre arts, visual arts, or fashion, we are all going to draw on this collaborative benefits of research. We are all in the arts and now the world is moving towards collaborative arts, so it is wonderful to have Prof. Agawu here to provide us with more perspective this morning,” he averred.  

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