Rinelda’s Diary: Workshops are key

10 August 2018
Why is it that local artists like to complain about not getting enough free opportunities to better their craft?
Last weekend I have been in conversations with some artists moaning that they are not getting any help to better their skills. I disagree!
I have seen workshops being hosted but then only a handful of artists show up.
Some artists who I have spoken to are referring to workshops as being a total waste of time. But, for me, workshops can improve skills. I am a great believer in the saying goes; “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
I see workshops as that one activity that could benefit everyone across the nation. Workshops have the potential to improve skills, build lasting friendships and help people become more disciplined and confident in their careers.
Singing is hard work, but you can be smarter about it by learning and improving your musicianship in all areas. You have to learn to perform proper breathing exercises. You have to learn how to access different notes. You have to gain control over all of the tiny muscles of the throat, jaw and mouth. Learning these concepts will not only help you sing better, but it will also help improve your confidence when singing.
I have also heard artists moaning that workshops take up too much time. Most workshops run for an entire day, typically 9am - 4pm. Artists must rather look at these workshops as a day that was spent building up a lifetime of skills. 
I also see such platforms as opportunities to learn more about the industry and ask experts for advice.
I can still remember the 6th Windhoek Jazz Festival workshop that was held in November last year. The workshop was hosted as part of the Windhoek Jazz Festival, to give local artists an opportunity to mingle with the international headline performing artists and also to exchange ideas on how to better their careers. The workshop held was with one of the headline artists, South African musician, Ringo Madlingozid.
Only a handful of local artists showed up at that training event. The workshop was free of charge. I remember leaving the venue and questioning myself; why would someone be willing to miss such an opportunity?
For me, meeting the Sindile hit maker in real life is a big deal. Meeting him might be a career changer for a performer. Who knows what conversations of possible collaborations with him might develop?
Another low turn-out workshop that I have experienced was just about two weeks ago when disc jockeys (DJs) held at meeting at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) in Windhoek. The meeting was aimed at coming up with solutions to help better the industry for DJs. The event was poorly attended. About 50 DJ’s confirmed their presence, but less than 20 showed up.  
I believe in the importance of speaking up and wanting to find solutions to the problems that you are faced with. This is one of the reasons why I have taken some of my valuable time to write about this. I love music and I want the local musical community to grow, bigger, better and broader.
Often people do not realize the big role that music plays. Music has a bigger effect on their lives than they may think, and they would definitely care if it was to disappear. Without music, life would never be the same.
To keep music alive, students must be educated about it in schools. Those making music must be willing to learn how to better their talent.
Workshops within the artistic community should not be taken for granted.  Attend and learn something new. Otherwise, musicians out there, stop complaining all the time about your problems when you aren’t willing to step up and learn something that might help you to help yourself.

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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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