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Providence Brown...Grooming musicians

Published: 
Sunday, July 1, 2018
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Accomplished flutist Providence Brown doing what he loves best during a rehearsal session.

BOBIE-LEE DIXON

(bobie-lee.dixon@guardian.co.tt)

“If there's any object in human experience that's a precedent for what a computer should be like, it's a musical instrument: a device where you can explore a huge range of possibilities through an interface that connects your mind and your body, allowing you to be emotionally authentic and expressive.”

—Jaron Lanier (American computer philosophy writer, computer scientist, visual artist, and composer of classical music)

Watching someone play the guitar or the drums or even the flute, may not strike some as having an incredible skill or gift for that matter. After all, it's just a guitar, drum, and flute. But that's where musicians may disagree with you. One musician was so anxious to demonstrate just how cool instruments can be and how creative musicians can get with them, he hosted a one-day workshop titled A Musical Conversation in San Fernando on June 27, with the primary aim of educating musicians on how to creatively use their instruments.

Flutist Providence Brown was the workshop's main facilitator and he also got some help from fellow musicians, flamenco guitarist Larry Lee Luck and jazz guitarist and composer Lennox Saunders.

He tells the Sunday Guardian, “This is about getting them to think outside the box. I believe that every instrument can do something other than what it was created for.”

Brown, a self-taught flutist and certified pianist with distinctions in piano theory from the Trinity School of Music in London, said he felt it necessary to host such a workshop as musicians needed to get it right.

“Instruments don't control you, you control the instruments. You would be surprise how much you can do differently with one instrument if you took the time to,” says Brown who beat boxes and harmonises simultaneously while playing the flute.

The music teacher at Explorers Childcare Academy, who returned to T&T in 2012 from Malaysia where he spent most of his musical career playing with various bands, explained that a musician is supposed to interpret a composition. “A good composer has to consider the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm that is fitting to the lyric while the interpreter will consider the beat, the key, and the pitch. As musicians we also become improvisers—changing the rhythm, beat, and harmony while still letting the original melody be recognisable. You are speaking to your audience through your instrument, it must appeal to them.”

At the Musician's Paradise venue, participants got the opportunity to discuss the business side of music, promoting the art, and uniting musicians. Brown also emphasised there was a serious need for spaces and venues to be created for local musicians to grow and feel encouraged about choosing a career as a musician in their homeland.

He said the “seasonal movement” mentality when it comes to music in T&T had to stop as it continues to stagnate musicians.

“In Trinidad we do not hold on to our culture, and musicians are at times guilty of that too. If we continue to hold on to other people's culture how can they taste our stew pot—our authenticity?” he asked.

The former student of the Royal School of Music in London who is 75 per cent visually impaired is pretty much an all-rounder when it comes to musical instruments, playing the saxophone, steelpan, and keyboard among others. He has had the joy and benefit of playing alongside and for some of the world's esteemed musicians including American R&B and dance music singer Jocelyn

Brown and German musical group Fools Garden Band as well as internationally acclaimed Brazilian vocalist/percussionist Valtinho Anastacio.

He is hoping that last week's workshop is the start of moulding a new kind of musician. One that will take people around the world on a magical journey all while standing still.

“It can be done, if we just learn how to be creative with these beautiful instruments we have the privilege of playing,” Brown says.

For more information visit Facebook@ Providence Brown the artist or call 354-6139.

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