First intake at Nyundo School of music graduates

The Ministry of Education through WDA held the first graduation of 29 pioneer students at Nyundo School of Music on Friday. This first vocational public music school in Rwanda was established on March 10th, 2014 in Rubavu district (western province).
Graduands include 5 females and 24 males who completed a 3-year school program many music fields. They acquired skills in Music Theory, production, Music instrument fundamentals, vocals technics, music instruments craftsmanship, entrepreneurship/Music business, music recording techniques, live music sound and lighting engineering, and music copyright laws
Music students performing during the graduation ceremony. Since 2014 the school has been enrolling 30 students per intake.
(L-R)Dr James Vuningoma, the executive secretary of the Rwandan Academy of Language and Culture (RALC) & John Bonds Bideri WDA's Chairman BoD .
While presiding over the graduation ceremony, Dr James Vuningoma, the executive secretary of the Rwandan Academy of Language and Culture (RALC) commended the idea of establishing a school that promotes Rwandan music. He encouraged music graduates to become business oriented in making music industry one the income generating sectors of Rwanda’s economy.
(L-R) Director of Ecole d’Art de Nyundo and Jerome Gasana the Director General of WDA.
After a successful Music study tour in Canada in 2015, students have become the number one sought after Artists in the country. According to the director of Nyundo school of music Jacques Murigande, all the 29 graduates are now working and making an average ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 Rwandan francs a Month.
Jacques Murigande (R) sharing a moment with one of the graduates.
Students are recruited by way of auditions across the Country. The school highly recommends this process as it has shown them where most interest and music talents are in the Country. Murigande said that the process gives students from the far provinces a chance to enroll onto this program.The music Program has a School manager, 3 Instructors and 4 more are about to be hired.
Another graduate Mutesi Neema Rehema, proud about many skills she acquired at Nyundo school of Music.

One of the graduands Mutesi Neema Rehema expressed how she got more than what was expected during her course of studies. “ My expectation was to learn vocals technics but at the end am happy that we were taught production and how to make business out of music”, Mutesi said.

The School has been receiving visiting Instructors from the USA, Canada, Belgium, France, the Ivory Coast, Finland and Burundi. Some instructors have stayed for 3 months, some have conducted master classes for a day and some spent 3 days to a week teaching.

Students’ shining performances

Rwanda Development Board, Office of the President , the Private sector Federation Ministry of sports and culuture, Bralirwa, East African Promoters (EAP) and the Canadian High Commission have all used Nyundo Music students to perform at their high standing Events such as Rwanda Day in San Francisco, the A.U summit in Kigali, Kwita Izina ceremony, the Golden circle Gala, the East African annual Party and many more.

The International Connection

WDA signed an M.O.U with Selkirk College Nelson, BC Canada that will facilitate exchange programs for students and teachers.  The ultimate goal is to have a harmonized curriculum that will enable Rwandan music students graduate with equivalent accreditations as those from Selkirk College in Canada. 

In the summer of 2016, John Lewis Blake from Berkley College in Boston, USA spent three months training Nyundo music students in Choral approaches, vocal techniques and band performance. Both sides are midst brainstorm session on how to interest Berkley College to open its satellite branch in Rwanda and use Nyundo School of music as a stepping-stone.

Super star “ Kiesza” also came to visit Nyundo School through their partnership with Selkirk College.  She recorded two singles with the School choir under a major music Label ISLAND records/Universal.

Students had another major breakthrough when they backed up successfully Grammy award winner “Skyler Jett” from California during the KigaliUp music festival 2016.

Jerome Gasana the Director General of WDA said that the potential for this partnership is huge as it could give graduating students a direct move to higher learning in Music. He also added that this has a potential to attract foreign students especially from the region to come and study in Rwanda.

Both trianers and administrators beleive that students will have a sense of individual and collective identity in their respecive career paths.  All of this will enable every graduate to project and further the development of the Rwandan Music industry.

More photos from the event: 
Graduates ready to perform