Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
BUNNY ROSE has been earning a decent living from his passion - music - since he was given the opportunity to guide Manchester's brightest musical minds.
Things could have been different for Rose, however, as along with his twin brother, he became an orphan at age eight. They became wards of the State and were taken to the Windsor Lodge Children's Home in Manchester where they lived from 1995 to 2000.
They were then taken in by foster parents, missionaries Andy and Jannel McDonald, and resided in Stoneshope in south Manchester until their adult years.
Rose developed a passion for music from a young age, especially classical music.
"I used to love to sing. Everywhere I went, I would sing. I enjoyed classical music. So in the nights when it would come on the radio, I used to be glued to it."
He went to deCarteret College (DC) and studied classical music with the school's music teacher, Kerron Tomlinson Morgan.
"I started learning classical music in fourth form," he said. "Music was natural for me. Some people like cricket, football; I liked music."
Rose was successful in the Royal School of Music grades four, five and six examinations, and has mastered playing the piano, the violin, the guitar, and the trumpet, among other instruments.
After leaving DC, he started teaching music.
"My dad registered me to do an associate degree programme. It didn't work out because I just wanted to do music," Rose said. "So I started teaching music to some persons in south Manchester. I have been teaching music since I was 16 years old."
He later moved to Mandeville and is now located at Clarks Town Road. He gives lessons in piano, violin, guitar, and voice. He is assisted by Janoy Ellis, a guitar teacher, and piano-teacher-in-training Djvaen Williams.
"Last year, we had 45 students. They are from schools around Manchester. We also have adults who come at different times. I also teach music at schools around Manchester and St Elizabeth," Rose said.
"We start with as young as three years. As long as a child can do half an hour of lessons at a time, we are good with them. Last year, I sent up nine students to take grades one, two, three in the Royal School of Music exams. We got eight passes with one merit. It was all their first time doing the exams and they will be doing higher grades this year."
Rose said music has been very good to him.
"I get to earn a living doing what I love. When I am working, it does not feel like work. It is a sense of 'this is what I want'.
"You can make a living from this. It is a viable source of income. I haven't done a degree, but I have a skill, which makes me marketable. I set up a school because of that skill. I also perform all over the island, which brings in more money."
He added: "A lot of persons just don't know this: Once you go overseas, Jamaica is known for music. The name Bob Marley is huge. The Government needs to invest more in music. It is one of the nation's strengths."