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RELEVANCE OF MUSIC TO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

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RELEVANCE OF MUSIC TO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

Abstract

This paper centres on the role of music in the growth and development of individuals. It critically describes the various arms of musical scholarships engaged by students that help facilitate their development. Data collection for the work was basically through interviews and interactions with some students of the Department of Music, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka. Related literatures were also reviewed. Findings showed that music can positively address or enhance human development through various media of instructions, scholarships and practical demonstrations as recorded from student's performances at various levels of musical scholarship for a period of five years. The paper therefore argues that music is imperatively an integral factor for human development and human relations, and suggests that it should be given a pride of place in the training of younger people so as to ensure its full utilization and sustenance in our society.
RELEVANCE OF MUSIC TO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT: THE CASE OF THE STUDENTS
OF DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA.
By
Ibekwe, Eunice U.
Abstract
This paper centres on the role of music in the growth and development of individuals. It
critically describes the various arms of musical scholarships engaged by students that help
facilitate their development. Data collection for the work was basically through interviews
and interactions with some students of the Department of Music, Nnamdi Azikiwe University
Awka. Related literatures were also reviewed. Findings showed that music can positively
address or enhance human development through various media of instructions, scholarships
and practical demonstrations as recorded from student’s performances at various levels of
musical scholarship for a period of five years. The paper therefore argues that music is
imperatively an integral factor for human development and human relations, and suggests
that it should be given a pride of place in the training of younger people so as to ensure its
full utilization and sustenance in our society.
Introduction
Whenever the concept- human is mentioned what comes to mind is a reflection of an
existential being capable of intellectual reasoning and thoughtful expressions, as opposed to
animals or other inanimate beings that are lacking in such level of coding and moral
sensibility. It therefore implies something pertaining to man or have characteristics of man.
From human then comes humanity. According to Okere, (2016) ‘to talk of humanity is to
enter into an etymological journey that starts with the latin word homo”- man, its adjective
humanus -a- um, human, humane and its abstract noun humanitas–being human’ (1). He
goes further to establish that, ‘in these days of incessant wars and their interminable lines of
desperate refugees, in various degrees of inhuman and dehumanizing distress, the word
“humanitarian” is frequently heard designating that instinct to sympathize and care for our
suffering fellow humankind’. Stressing that, ‘it is from here that we derive the “human act”
on the moral level, to define that act of man only qualifying as human by being deliberate,
resulting from perfect knowledge (of the intellect) and full consent (of the will), the intellect
and the will being the most distinguishing attributes of man in creation’ (1).
Therefore, the central issue in this discussion is man- his privileged position, assumed
perfection and attitude in relation to his being human. Considering the subjects of study in
Humanities in relation to man’s need, they cover such areas as History, Literature, Arts,
Music, Theatre, Religion, Philosophy, Languages and others outside the scope of Sciences.
Each of these different aspects of studies as listed above has man at the centre of its
instructions for the production of a better being as can be elaborately unfolded as the
discussion progresses. History takes records of events of man covering the past, present and
future, Literature involves a comprehensive written or printed production of the human mind
characterized by creative expression of themes as in poetry, fiction, essay and so on. The
Theatre interprets human acts, communicates and sends messages in a dramatic platform.
Through Religion, human beings relate to God and other supernatural beings. Philosophy
captures human wisdom in relation to his environment. Last but not the least; Language is a
medium of communication and interaction for humans and so on.
Development vis-a-vis human development
In The New International Websters Comprehensive Dictionary of the English Language,
(2010, ed) development means ‘gradual evolution or completion’ (350). Talking from
biological point of view and citing from the same source, it implies, ‘series of changes by
which an individual plant or animal passes from a lower to a higher state of being’ (350). By
this second definition, passing from lower to higher state of being may be seen as a
qualitative and not necessarily a quantitative change of state. According to Okere, (2016 )
“development means the opening up, the unwrapping and the unveiling of hidden, innate
potentialities and growing them into maturity” (4). He illustrated it with ‘the gradual growth
of a seed, of corn or beans or coconut from seed to full plant. This goes contrary to what
people normally term development in their own perspectives when considering growth and
affluence of man as a yardstick. In which case, Okafor and Okafor, (2009) decries, “people
often regarded the acquisition of what they lay premium on wealth, empire, technology,
religion, hegemony, and political or military power –as development” (6). According to them
the definition lacks precision. Development as it concerns humanity offers or suggests a
different dimension of meaning. Going by the content of this discourse, Umezinwa in
OKafor, and Okafor, (2009) gives a synchronized definition when he asserts,
A new description of development has been advanced in disciplines like philosophy,
anthropology, theology and religion (music inclusive). This form of development
makes the good and destiny of the human person the central concern as well as its
guiding principles. It therefore transcends development paradigms that make mere
profits structures and material wellbeing ends in themselves…Every development be
it scientific or technological, economic or social that fails to make man a central
concern is anti-man. (8)
This lead us to Okere’s definition of human development where he opines that, “human
development must therefore entail the development to full maturity of all the faculties of man
seen comprehensively, all the potentialities of the body and all the potentialities of the mind”
(4). In addition, Ogwudire, (an educational psychologist,) in Ibekwe, (2012) describes
development as
increase in the ability of an individual to function properly at any age and in a given
situation. As a person grows and matures over the years, he is expected to exhibit
corresponding behaviours which should show more refinement and geared towards
better adjustment and more effective solution to daily problems of life (352).
By implication, human development concerns the entire or overall change in human being,
which according to Ibekwe, (2012) does not happen abruptly but rather takes a gradual
process and during each period a lot of actions take place to modify the behavioural changes
that occur.
Music scholarship in the Department of Music Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, from
2013-2018
Music studies in the Department of Music Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka (as approved by
NUC) is designed in such a way that both the theoretical and practical aspects are given due
consideration. Student’s competencies are adjudged through the understanding and mastery
of these areas of study, (that is theoretical as well as the practical aspects). For the full
realization of the above, and in accordance with the Departmental Hand Book prescriptions,
the following Courses are slated for study namely,
1- Acoustics and Music Technology
2- Music Rudiments and Theory, Harmony and Counterpoint
3- History, Form, Style and Literature of Western Music
4- Ethnomusicology, African, Nigeria, Regional, Cultural theoretical Studies
5- Practical Musicianship of Western, African, and other world Cultures
6- Specialization- stress area/elective courses
7- Other related courses (14)
These courses are further split to cover the four-year programme of studies in such a way that
suit each level at any stage of study. The courses are structured to facilitate students’ growth
and development to enable them fit in properly in society.
Description of the courses
Acoustics and Music Technology:
This implies the scientific study of sound and sound wave behaviour. It is an aspect of music
that relates to science- (Physics) which is concerned with the production, control,
transmission, reception, effect of sound and echo system. It is also concerned with
instruments construction process, its sound production mechanism and maintenance.
Music Rudiments and Theory
This is the mathematical aspect of Music. It exposes one to the basics and fundamentals of
music such as Notation, Scales, Key Signatures, Clefs, Metre and Rhythms, Expression
Marks, Harmony, Fugue and Counterpoints
History, Form, Style and Literature of Western Music
This covers different periods in Western music history from antiquity to Post Romantic. Their
Forms and Styles, Different composers of the periods, and their works and so on
Ethnomusicology –African, Nigeria, Regional, Cultural theoretical studies
Study of music of different ethnic groups, Music of other cultures of the world, Local musical
instrument classifications, Ensemble structures, Analytical perception, Technical reproduction
and writing of African Melodies, African music notation and so on
Practical Musicianship of African, Western, and Other World Cultures
This includes, Basic Music Reading/Hearing and Interpretations, Score reading, Sight
Reading/Singing, Transposition, Scoring and Orchestration, Playing of Keyboard and other
Musical Instruments –local and western etc
Specialization-Stressed Area
Stressed area is chosen from any of the following Music Composition, Ethnomusicology,
Music Education and Performance
Having all these on ground, the researcher wants to investigate the level of growth and
development that has been recorded in the Department at least for a period of five academic
sessions. (2013-2018). Summaries of student’s population and grades at their last stage of
study are presented. This includes only the students that graduated at the given academic
session within the stipulated period of investigation. Thus
Year No of Stds 1st Class 2ndCl Upp 2ndCl Lower 3rd Class Pass
2013/2014 22 2 7 7 6 Nil
2014/2015 20 3 9 7 Nil Nil
2015/2016 14 Nil 6 8 Nil Nil
2016/2017 22 2 10 7 3 Nil
2017/2018 17 Nil 10 7 Nil Nil
These graduates have shown some remarkable prowess in different areas of musicality quite
different from how they came in. The researcher’s interviews with some of the graduates
revealed different dimensions of development in various capacities. Some have come out
with the ability to compose (to an extent), others as keyboard players, stage managers and
performers of various orchestral instrument at different degrees of mastery. Most of them
have been employed to work in such areas as film industries, as studio teachers and so on,
The most interesting aspect of these achievements is that even those that found their way into
music by chance ended up developing into an enviable level in musicianship. Some of those
who did not have their parent’s approval to study music initially proved themselves creditably
beyond their parent’s expectations at the end of the programme. Here are some the students
interviewed by the researcher during her investigation and their reactions on the relevance of
music in their personal development. The selection of students was randomly done. Five
students were selected, one student each was selected to represent each of the five academic
sessions under study.
Researcher- Student interactions: The researcher wants to find out how music has affected
the development of each of the respondent
1. Name of student- Okos, Mathew Ikenna (currently a post graduate student of the
Department of Music Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka)
Year of Graduation -2013/2014
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Studying music also has availed me the opportunity to meet with important
personalities both home and abroad and performing for a wider audience, a fate that
does not await anybody who studied anything less. I have the privilege to perform
for these important persons and at various occasions.
The first public addresses of the fifth (5th) Substantive Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi
Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Joseph. E. Ahaneku (FAS) to the University
community in November 2014
The Election and Inauguration of South-east zonal Governor of Rotary Club District
9140, in February 2015 at White Castle Hotel, Neni.
Faculty of Management Sciences Send-off ceremony in honor of the fourth (4th) out
gone Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Prof. B.C.E. Egboka
(FAS) in November, 2014.
Faculty of Arts Send-off ceremony in honor of the fourth (4th) out gone Vice
Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Prof. B.C.E. Egboka (FAS) and
lots more.
All these have not only increased my financial resources but also added to my repute
and exposure. Music no doubt, has added more value to my personality. (Okos
Mathew 2018, oral interview).
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2. Name of student: Eze, Gerald M.
Year of graduation -2014/2015 Session (but currently a Post Graduate student of the same
University)
His responses on how music has affected his development are presented thus
Music has made enormous impacts on my personal development. Those imbued with
musical talents stand the advantage of being recognized specially and as such they
stand out in the crowd. This has been the case with me since my secondary school
days. It has also created a sense of self-independence, confidence, and sense of
responsibility in me. This is because most of my family members, nuclear and
extended, did not find the idea of studying music viable. Hence, I had to rely more
on myself for moral support. I am however grateful that all the financial
A
requirements for my studies were provided by my family. But I was not satisfied
with that because their major fear was “if I will make a living out of music.” So I
focused on building up my ideas to be self-reliant. Hence this spurred
entrepreneurial ideas on me. I therefore learnt various instruments so as to earn
money from effective teaching and performance. Music thus proved to be a lucrative
venture.
The study of music also helped me develop leadership skills, because one ought to
be a good leader to be able to direct musical groups. Hence, overtime, I had
mastered the art of leadership to a commendable extent. I therefore was not only a
Departmental President; I was also the student leader of Umuchu Student
Association, UNIZIK Chapter. As an undergraduate student of Music Department,
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, I was consulted severally by the SUG (Student
Union Government) Officials and the Faculty EXCOS for ideas or to lead some
committees. I am convinced that my leadership skills were harnessed because of the
leadership roles I played in the ensemble performances and my private entertainment
group.
Studying music also enhanced my spirituality, since music itself enhances religious
worship. I found deeper meanings in the songs used in the Catholic Church for
worship. Sometimes, during private prayers, I play some Igbo traditional chants of
the Catholic Church with my Oja (The Igbo Flute). This enhances my meditation.
The study of music also enabled me to be social, socially responsible to my
environment, hence I find in music, the tool for societal change. I therefore assemble
folklores as compositional and pedagogical materials, not to merely make music for
the sake of music, but to build the society as a social entrepreneur. As a social
entrepreneur, I make social commentaries, enriching my environment with cultural
initiatives which will enable us grow properly.
To support his claims, he quotes Bornstein & Davis (2010) who describe social
entrepreneurship as “a process by which citizens build or transform institutions to
advance solutions to social problems, such as poverty, illness, illiteracy,
environmental destruction, human rights abuses and corruption, in order to make life
better for many.” (1)
He also refers to Wyclef Jean, an American musician, who helped Haitians heal from the
damage of the earthquake that befell them in 2010, who according to him, raised
money through charity by bringing American All Stars to record Michael Jackson’s
popular song,We are The World. which generated a lot of funds that assisted in
alleviating the sufferings of the people of Haiti.
In conclusion he says, “this is a typical example of the role a musician can play in being
socially responsible to the world and I am positioned to play this role with the gift of
music”. (Eze, Gerald 2018, oral interview)
B
Good to note that Gerald won the 2015 award of excellence (as a flutist –both local and
western) organized by Christopher Kolade Foundations in Creativity and Leadership Ability
which took place in Abuja and Lagos States of Nigeria early April 2015. (A competition that
was slated for all the talented Music students in Nigeria) He also represented Nnamdi
Azikiwe University in Cultural Festival organised in China in 2016 under the sponsorship of
the Vice Chancellor Professor J.E. Ahaneku, an opportunity meant only for serious and
creative minded students. His effort and outstanding musical feats also earned him automatic
employment in the Department of Music Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, after his
graduation.
3. Name of student- Okorafor Emmanuel Kalu
Year of Graduation – 2015/2016
Emmanuel on his part says,
As a music scholar, I have gained and benefited a lot from music; it has improved
and contributed immensely to my growth, talent, career and development. I am
going to highlight few areas music has influenced and contributed to my
development and career improvement
- Opportunity for personal expression
I enjoy the opportunity to be creative, to collaborate, to express emotion and to
communicate with an audience. With the study of music and ensemble participation
including individual performances, I have learnt how to be expressive with the help of
my participation in orchestral collaboration
- Personal Fulfilment
While growing up I have always desired to be a performer without knowing how to
go about it, few years of my studying music and after, I was then nurtured, rightly
guided and prepared for the task. I felt I am fulfilled because my dream has been
actualized and that was possible because of the knowledge acquired form studying
music.
- Improvement on improvisation and extemporization
Spontaneity is a big attribute of a good musician and a performer and it is one of the
qualities I never had. Today I can boldly perform applying improvisation on the spur
of moment, all as a result of my knowledge in music study.
- Stage and maintenance and management
Ability of a performer to utilize the space he has on stage gives him an age over his
counterparts. I am very happy that I acquired this particular skill during my music
training and I am a better performer today with the help of my proper stage
management.
- Creative improvement and musical entrepreneurship
C
Studying music without learning how to make money from it is job half done. With
my knowledge in music I can make a living from music and its supporting activities.
My creative ability has also improved immensely as an actor.
Emmanuel was one of the students that truly got transformed through the study of music.
Through hard work he gradually became one of the best African Opera actors of his set.
Presently, he is now working in the Nigeria Film Industry. (precisely, one of the Nigeria
Nollywood Actors)
4. Name of student –Emebo Cyriacus Uchenna
Year of Graduation 2016/2017
Uche in his own contribution says
Certain songs and dances have been learned as a very young member of my family.
Such songs would elicit strong attachment to my brothers and sisters thus nurturing a
strong family tie (Family ties). Music and dance have been very important tools of
my childhood education (informal and formal). Most moral thought I may have
today which formed part of my childhood development, were imprinted through
music (songs, dances and instrument playing). Listening to popular artistes exposed
me to an endless world of opportunities, brought closer to me different world views
and created an internal desire for success. This has propelled my lifetime ambitions.
Later in life my learning and taking part in music taught me perseverance,
determination, ability to untie difficult knots and challenges of life. These were
picked up while learning and trying to understand music writing, learning to play the
piano in particular and singing and leading songs in the choir. My knowledge and
performance of music have also afforded me the opportunity to meet with well-
meaning individuals both in Nigeria and abroad. These people have impacted my life
positively in ways that cannot be measured. Finally, my taking up degree course in
music has offered a wider horizon by adding value that one can utilize in the last
stage of human development. (Emebo, Uche 2018, oral interview)
5. Name of student –Ifeanyi Rachael Chinaza
Year of Graduation 2017/2018
Chinaza in her own response says,
Music is life, and it aids in the development of humanity. The impact music has on
human life and its development can be found in different ways. Music is soothing to
the mind, body and soul. It has a deep therapeutic feeling, aids psychologically.
Music is used to foster peace and unity in different activities such as health
awareness, political campaigns, sports, advertisement etc. All these factors help
develop humanity.
6
As a student, Music helped me become more self-aware and confident. And this has
aided me in various aspects of my life. It helped awaken an inner talent that I never
knew existed in me. It helped build up a moral system, that is music as a course
requires a certain level of discipline. That was lacking in me, but was awakened in
the course of my study. Music has helped in enlarging my freedom, expressing my
ideas and views, and conveying messages to the world through singing. In fact,
music serves as an eye opener to me in so many opportunities (as income provider).
In a wider sphere, Music serves the purpose of ethnic identification, civic efficacy;
reduce racial conflict and so on. In conclusion, music is an essential part of
humanity. "More music, more happiness"
Good to know that Rachael came to the Department of Music without knowing exactly what
to do or what talent she is made of. But with hard work, she graduated a happy student
because, she finally discovered her talent and self-worth.
Furthermore, going through some literatures give some backups to the topic of discussion.
Obviously, Music is one of the disciplines in the humanities that has the potency of ensuring
the full realization of ‘man’s’ developmental needs and that of society at large. According to
Ajewole (2011), “music aims at the economic, social, emotional, vocational, physical and
technological development with the aid of manipulation of skills in the area of vocal and
instrumental performance” (169).
However, the fact that music is integral to virtually all other disciplines in the Humanities
such as religion, history, drama, languages, philosophy and so on widens its scope and
frontiers in both forms and usages because in each of the disciplines listed music has a role to
play. According to Okafor and Okafor, (2009), “music is the most widely practiced and most
accessible of all the arts” (1). As earlier pointed out, Humanities cover all aspects of studies
outside the scope of sciences for the development of man. Interestingly, Music is such
discipline in the Humanities that moves beyond this confinement and extends its frontiers to
the areas of sciences for man’s benefit and overall development. Therefore, if music can be
reckoned with such powers and propensities to bring about the real man in man, the issue or
the discussion on its ability to ensure human development should not be viewed with
askance, rather it should be a fundamental discourse geared towards achieving a holistic
result in human growth and development.
Conclusion
From the above interactions with the students it becomes obvious that music is an instrument
of change and self-actualization. The students experienced the development in various ways
such as leadership qualities, exposures, managerial abilities, public and personal expression,
spirit of entrepreneurship, self-actualization and fulfilment, perseverance and lot more. The
development of an individual should be seen from a holistic point of view. If any aspect is
found wonting, there will be a problem or gap in the developmental chain. Music has over the
centuries been imbued with the potentials of affecting man at every stage of development.
Summarily, music builds, creates awareness and equips individuals. It does not destroy as
being portrayed by road side and younger musicians who package music as instruments of
destruction through the use of foul languages, pornographic displays and other kinds of
irresponsible acts. Ibekwe (2017) observes that this is where academic musicians stand tall
above road side musicians who employ the use of bourgeois sonic presentations that thrill the
-
audience without considering the content of the music or how much messages their music
convey in relation to human development. What this paper is contending is total commitment
on the part of musicians and music scholars to brace up with the challenges of developing and
transforming the society through music scholarship.
References
Ajewole, J. (2011). Functional role of music in nation building. In Awka Journal of
Research in Music and the Arts. 8, 169-176
Bonstein, D. & Davis S. (2010). Social Entrepreneurship, What Everyone Needs To Know.
New York: Oxford University Press
Hand Book: Department of Music, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka
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Oral Interviews
Emebo, Cyriacus Uchenna 6th Oct. 2018
Eze, Gerald Mmaduabuchukwu 4th Oct. 018
Ifeanyi, Rachael Chinaza 5th Oct. 2018
Okorafor, Emmannuel Kalu 7th Oct. 2018
Okos Mathew Ikenna 2nd Oct. 2018
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