Wed | Oct 20, 2021

March for Music Education: Making a difference for young musicians at Alpha Institute

Published:Friday | March 15, 2019 | 12:00 AM

The March for Music Education (MME) has engaged the global music industry and fans in support of one of the world’s most treasured music institutions, the Alpha Institute School of Music.

MME is a non-profit campaign for musicians, record labels, management companies, and fans to join in support of Alpha and its mission to develop the next generation of music makers coming out of the legendary school at 26 South Camp Road in Kingston.

The MME campaign seeks to fund 20 music student scholarships for returning and deserving Alpha music students during the 2019-2020 academic year.

“We are so appreciative of the efforts of the artistes, labels, and companies supporting the work being done at Alpha and, in particular, for the opportunity it affords to Alpha students,” said Margaret Little Wilson, administrator of the Alpha Institute.

“Youth music education has proven to contribute to community, professional and personal development. Alpha is looking forward to making connections and building relationships with music and education supporters around the world through the March for Music Education scholarship and instruction drive,” Little Wilson said.

The campaign begins with a challenge in which MME invites music fans, artistes, bands and brands as well as the public to take action by making a contribution to the campaign in the name of music education or a musical inspiration.

Second, the campaign asks participants to share their commitment to music education publicly with an #ISupportAlpha post on social media, using MME original social media content.

Over the coming weeks, MME will be signing up global partners, regional and local artistes, labels, and industry organisations to focus support on the next generation of Jamaican music creators, singers and players of instruments.

From bands to brands that have been touched by Jamaican music, the music community can make a clear statement that music education, counselling and social assistance is necessary for those in Jamaica who need it most.

Second chance

“Alpha gave me a second chance to life. When there was no other choice, Alpha was there,” said Sajay Watson, Alpha Institute class of 2017, and now a full-time studio technician for Radio Jamaica, a member of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group.

“Alpha is a family setting for me because it made me appreciate the value of working with others. Alpha is important to me, personally and professionally, because of the special music performance and technology training I received, which allowed me to pursue a career path I had always dreamed of,” Watson said.

MME, in support of the Alpha Institute School of Music, has already attracted notable partners, including Easy Star and VP Records.

“The Alpha Institute has been instrumental in building the global phenomenon that is Jamaican popular music,” said Pat Chin, co-founder of VP Records. “VP Records, which celebrates 40 years this year, would not have been as successful had not it been for the work of the Sisters of Mercy who run the school, the teachers and music staff at Alpha,” Chin said.

To make the campaign even more exciting, the March for Music Education is offering a chance to experience Kingston to everyone who donates to the campaign.

Everyone who makes a gift will be entered to win a mountainside stay at Strawberry Hill, owned by the equally legendary founder of Island Records, Chris Blackwell, or the urban bohemian hangout called Jamnesia, where reggae and surf culture become one.

Donations are accepted via PayPal on the website, using the ‘Take Action’ buttons. Donations may also be made via wire transfer and by cheque.