Being part of a choir allows students to learn team-building skills
The Sri Lankan Festival of Music, Dance, and Speech is an annual competition organised by the International Institute of Music, Speech, and Drama (IIMSD). The students from the La Musica Music Academy and La Musica Singers are getting ready to participate in this competition. This is an event they eagerly wait for each year. This year, it’s their junior choir that is getting ready for a group song, to be sung at this festival. Some of these students will be participating in solo items as well. In an interview with The Sunday Morning Little Stars, the students of the La Musica Music Academy and La Musica Singers said that they are happy and excited to sing in this festival. Except for Ranod and Shemaya, all the other students are learning piano and music theory at this academy. La Musica Music Academy is located in Marawila.
Shenaya (eight years old)
She loves to sing in a choir. In 2019, she won a gold medal for solo singing. She started learning music when she was six. She is to participate in a solo singing item as well.
Ranod (eight years old)
He likes to learn music because then he gets a chance to sing songs. This is his first time.
Shemaya (eight years old)
She says she is not afraid to sing at the festival. She loves music and her favourite instrument is the violin. This is her first time.
Runethya (eight years old)
She likes to sing with actions. In 2019, she won the all-island winner prize for solo singing. She is to participate in a solo singing item as well.
Joel (10 years old)
He likes music because he can learn new songs. This is his first time
Thenu (eight years old)
He likes music because he can learn to play the piano and he can learn new songs. He also likes music because he can meet new friends. This is his first time and he is participating in a solo singing item as well.
Kiyara (eight years old)
She is Joel’s sister. She likes singing very much. This is her first time and she is participating in a solo item as well.
Steve (seven years old)
He is the newest among all these students. Recently, he started learning piano and music theory as well because he likes to play the piano a lot. This is his first time.
Oneli (eight years old)
She says she likes to learn music. She has participated in this festival in 2018 and 2019. She has won one gold and one silver medal in the past two years for solo singing. This is her third time and she is to participate in solo singing items as well.
Flaminiya (eight years old)
She likes to play the piano. This is her first time. She is to participate in a solo piano item as well.
La Musica Music Academy and La Musica Singers Director Hiruni Perera, who is also a teacher at the academy, started teaching music in 2008. The institute started as a registered academy in 2013. “I really enjoy teaching music, especially to the little ones. I think learning music is really good for kids. I especially send my students for these kinds of events not only to win or be talented musicians, but to also develop their personality. Singing and playing instruments at these events helps them to develop their self-esteem,” she explained. She believes that being part of a choir allows students to learn team-building skills which are very important for their future. “Singing in a choir is a very good opportunity to learn how to work as a team. Then they learn that it’s not about trying to highlight their voices by singing loud, but it’s all about controlling their voices to harmonise well with the other voices. Learning music requires dedication.”
She also spoke of the importance of dedication. “Music is not a subject that you can learn within two hours per week. It’s all about how much you practise at home. It’s really nice to see how they practise these things at home with so much passion. I can say that all of these students who are in this photo have that passion for music, which is what is most necessary to be a good musician. I also see that they really enjoy being in this class. Their favourite part is their singing lesson. They always keep asking me: ‘Teacher, when are you going to take our singing lesson?’ They look very excited and energetic during their singing lesson,” she said. “As a teacher, I believe teaching these small ones is something therapeutic. Their parents are also very supportive and they do their best for this festival by arranging costumes and so on,” she added.
Perera further said how being in a choir helps students build their personalities and work on improving themselves. “On one of the first days of their music lessons, some of these students looked very shy and were not speaking loud enough for me to hear what they have to say. But now they can sing on a stage in front of a big audience. That’s how they have developed their self-esteem through music and it’s really nice to see how they enjoy music. In today’s world, most of these parents complain that their children are addicted to the mobile phone and television. But when they have learnt something like music, dancing, painting, or some aesthetic subject, the kids learn to enjoy their lives through them. Therefore, I think it’s very important for children to learn some aesthetic subjects.”