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City gives deaf learners taste of the music industry


Smiles were written on the faces of the learners from the Sizwile School for the Deaf as they were being given the lowdown on the glamorous but challenging music industry during the Geleza Kleva and Learn workshop at the Chiawelo Community Centre, Soweto, on Thursday July 28.

The workshop, an initiative of Standard Bank and the City of Johannesburg’s Community Development Department, forms part of the build-up to this year’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival. The workshop was the third and last to be held ahead of the 19th edition of the Joy of Jazz gig at the Sandton Convention Centre in September.

Nompumelelo Mayiyane, of the City’s Community Development Department, said the City decided to include learners from Sizwile School for the Deaf in Dobsonville because it wanted to make them “feel they are part and parcel of society and just as talented as everyone”.

Mayiyane said the aim was to give them the same opportunities as their counterparts and enlighten them about various careers in the music industry.

The Geleza Kleva and Learn workshops provide young artists with the tools to succeed in the tough industry and provide guidelines on how to nurture their flair. The first workshop was held in Diepsloot and the second at the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto.

Speaking through a sign language interpreter, Entrepreneur, researcher and music consultant Jonathan Shaw urged the budding artists to concentrate on good songs and use social media to promote their music and refrain from rushing to radio stations to market their music but wait for radio stations to come to them.

“You should concentrate on things you can control and leave those you can’t control. Even if times are tough you have to figure out what to do. Music never stops. The film industry always needs music.

“First make a name for yourself, then start looking for a manager. Otherwise you will be ripped off. Get yourself a steady income that will enable you to get credit. Be clever, save a lot of money while the sun shines for rainy days. Most importantly, build your brand," he said.

He advised them to register with the South African Music Rights Organisation, South African Music Performance Rights Association and Composers, Authors and Publishers Association to protect their music and copyright. He warned the artists not to allow anyone to use their music without their permission He added that they should never sign a contract without a lawyer.

Concord Nkabinde, a leading jazz guitarist and the workshops' facilitator, described the workshops as a “ground-breaking" programme to improve and empower up-and-coming artists. Nkabinde said the workshops gave budding artists immense knowledge and helped them to sustain their careers.

Joy of Jazz producer Mantoa Chinoamadi said the workshops gave the young artists a platform to establish their careers and know the business part of the music industry. Florah Mahao, a composer, said the workshops were "very effective and helpful". She said she had a learnt a lot from them and wished they could be held at least twice a year.