Cedar High pupils fine tune their futures

Cedar High School pupils Alvino Sinclair,15, Bradwyn Adams,15, Thorne Mentor,16, Angelique Sinclair,15, Dean Mullins,17, and Zandre Johannes,15, do some fine tuning.

For Cedar High School pupils, being part of the recent Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) music and career workshops was “instrumental” in cementing their musical aspirations – and inspirational.

Pupils from across the city took part in the four-week programme, which was run on Saturdays. Cedar High, which is an arts focus school, was the only Mitchell’s Plain school to be part of the CTIJF programme.

The Grade 10 and 11 pupils got an inside scoop on some of the latest trends affecting the music and entertainment space, with sessions including theory and interactive workshops.

The participants got to hear from industry professionals first-hand, about what is happening in the industry they may well become employed in or be a part of in years to come.

Topics covered included the role technology plays in the lifecycle of a performer and how it influences performance; how to market themselves – understanding the value of their personal brand and the importance of being authentic in a world fuelled by hype and pursuit of fame and celebrity status.

They also learnt about lighting, sound and event production, for those considering working behind-the-scenes.

When Plainsman met with the pupils in their music room at school, they described the sessions as “interesting and informative”.

Grade 10 pupil Angelique Sinclair, 15, said she learnt how to conduct herself and how to be professional. “We were taught a range of things that are important in our industry. This included starting our brand, how to present ourselves, and stage management.

“I enjoyed these sessions because they were interactive and fun. These are things we can implement at school level to prepare us for our careers,” she said.

Another Grade 10 pupil who attended the workshops, Bradwyn Adams, 15, said listening to experienced performers had inspired the crew.

“They spoke to us about the industry, what to expect and motivated us. One of the things that I will remember is to work hard, to be original and to always remain humble. Matthew O’Connell from the band GoodLuck, inspired us and said that we should never be afraid to express ourselves and to persevere,” he said.

Cedar High teacher Kirsten Fortuin said it was a great learning opportunity for the school’s jazz band.

“They really enjoyed the sessions, and we encourage them to grab opportunities like this.”

CTIJF festival director, Billy Domingo, said as much as he enjoyed working with his team to compile the line-up of performers, it was the training and development programmes that really excited him.

“Our future industry is only as strong as the calibre of people entering it. The CTIJF workshops play a vital part in ensuring there is a pipeline of enthusiastic and well-equipped recruits entering the profession. We aim our efforts at the youth, helping them to make better decisions for their career choices.

“We hope they gain as much fun out of these sessions as they do knowledge, as enjoyment is an important ingredient in the learning process,” he said.

Mr Domingo said the CTIJF music and career workshops were also a place for future entertainers to network with each other – and jam together, as they did on the final Saturday.

Helping them get into their groove was Mr O’Connell who popped into share some stories and to inspire the group. Also motivating the teens to perform to their optimum were local musicians Camillo Lombard and Donveno Prins, who will also direct the schools in their performances at the live concert that will take place at the Artscape Theatre later in March.