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Students are keen to learn the ins and outs

Jahdé Dowling, Amber Douglas and Chad O'Neill Smith are all participants in a pilot programme at the Berkeley Institute which aims to teach students about the music industry. The Royal Gazette spoke with them this week.

Jahdé heard about the pilot programme through Berkeley Institute band director Christopher Darrell.

He wasn't sure what it would entail, but as a budding producer of rap beats who spends most of his spare time in the band room, he was totally up for it. He has learned the importance of teamwork through his group, King Production.

“Before joining the course, I did some research on a couple of websites [with reference to getting my beats published],” said the 18-year-old, who plans to study recording engineering at Full Sail University.

“I got signed up and by the time I started with these guys, I felt that I am meeting other artists, so if they want a track I can give it to them and say, ‘here do your thing'.”

His interest in music started while he was living in New Jersey where he attended a school for gifted and talented youngsters. Although he sang in the choir for seven years, he knew that one day he wanted to compose his own music.

Seventeen-year-old Amber Douglas

sings almost all genres of music. She has been accepted to perform with Up With People and she is also auditioning for Abingdon and Witney College in the UK. Her vocal teacher heard about the pilot programme and encouraged her to join.

“The course has given me a better insight on what I want to do,” she said.

“I really wanted to go into musical theatre on Broadway, but I still wanted to live a life of an artist. I see Disney Channel and I'm like, ‘I could do that'.

“[The course] is like business management and the course gives you more of what you have to be prepared for.”

On what she will take with her from the programme, she said: “You don't know what you are going to get into, so I'll learn everything and take it as an experience.”

Peer mediator Chad O'Neill Smith grew up in Jamaica where he was surrounded by music. After being a member of his church choir, he began writing songs and playing the drums. He spent lots of time in the music room with Mr Darrell before the programme started, and was the inspiration for the pilot programme.

The 18-year-old has since learned “the importance of punctuality, reading contracts and the small print, hiring a lawyer, and making sure you stay on the right path”.

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Published March 31, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated March 31, 2011 at 9:18 am)

Students are keen to learn the ins and outs

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