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Daily Nation : January 27th 2014
2 Monday, January 11, 2010 DAILY NATION CAREER SO YOU WANT TO BE A MUSIC PRODUCER... A job for the socially brilliant Producers must be visionary enough to predict the market and what the artiste must do to meet demand BY VERAH OKEYO @VerahOkeyo firstname.lastname@example.org T he difficult circumstances in which Jacob ‘Jacky B’ Odhiambo lived forced him to spend his teenage playing the keyboard in a church. Now an award winning audio producer behind a number of gospel songs such as Size 8’s Mateke and DK and Jimmie Gait’s Furi Furi, he has carved his niche in the Kenyan gospel music scene as the “unpredictable producer”. That’s because he has no signature beat or arrangement that would make it easy to identify his productions. For each artiste, he has a new style. Orphaned in his early teens, Jacky B says he was lucky to have spent time playing instruments and singing in the choir at the Adventist Church. In 2007, Pastor Fred Geke en- rolled him in Wynton House of Music in Nairobi for a four-year diploma course in music and sound production. “Someone else had offered to take me to a beauty college,” he recalls. “In that state, I would have been eternally grateful, but I had always known deep down that music was what I was created for. That’s why I stayed in the church playing instruments as I watched my age mates go to school.” His music label, Tamu Sana Records, has worked with artistes Rosy Ohon, Daddy Owen, Holy Dave, and Eko Dydda. So, what’s the job like? To those who might imagine that producing music is as easy as the alphabet, Jacky B explains that a finished single is an “assortment of nerveracking processes”, whose execution will determine the reception the artiste gets when the music is released. The job starts with profiling an ar- tiste. The moment the artiste walks in his studios based in Kinoo, says When I notice a lack of seriousness in an artiste, I have to remind them of the importance of what they are about to do. Where there is fear, I have to reassure” Jacky B Jacky B, he does a quick audition to know the artistes vocal strengths, quality and personality. “With that information, I am able to know what genre of music would bring out what is best in the artiste and advise appropriately,” he explains. The profiling requires a great deal of social intelligence, patience and understanding. “When I notice a lack of serious- ness in an artiste, I have to remind them of the importance of what they are about to do. Where there is fear, I have to reassure,” JackB explains. Thus, producers must be very firm but careful not to push too hard to quash a potential. “Some artistes are very sensitive. I have to be careful in how I am com- VERAH OKEYO | DAILY NATION municating my disapproval so that it is a win-win situation for me as a producer when the music comes out with the quality I desired, and for the artiste to sustain his or her image in the competitive showbiz industry,” he says. In college, Jacky B learnt to play stringed instruments — the keyboard and drums. He says though that it is not just enough to play instruments well as a music producer, but also to have very sound knowledge of physics. Then one must be ready to explore widely. Every day, therefore, he listens to a wide range of music for various reasons, including to know how the beats are arranged and to get ideas of how one can fuse genres together. “Sometimes you listen to know what lyrics are appropriate for a particular style of music. The bottom line is that you have to listen to music for the purposes of growth.” He thus advises that any aspir- ing music producer needs to study practical musicianship or related courses. The person should learn how to play an instrument or two. A producer should also be able to read and write music. This involves interpreting musical notes on a stave. A producer must further know how to manipulate audio editing software like Sonar X3, Logic, Pro 2 and nuendo. These course are offered at under- graduate level at some universities, including Daystar, Maseno, and Kenyatta. There are also other private institutions like the Conservatoire college. As concerns personal attributes, respect for time is important in music production. A producer who is looking for success must be strict with deadlines. One should also be very percep- tive to be able to tell when a singer is not in the right frame of mind to sing. Producers must be visionary too so as to effectively predict the market and what the artistes should do to meet the demand. CUE told to be strict with universities SPECIAL REPORT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 professors are going to those places to teach,” he added. Prof Kaimenyi observed that the commission had not been inspecting universities as much as it should, until recently when universities were being accredited. He noted: “It is not often you do this. I know it, but I want you to hit the ground running on the inspections, including of public universities. If there is grumbling about the quality of education in any institution, rush there. When universities establish campuses and extra mural centres in the various towns, for instance, we must ensure the infrastructure is good.” The education cabinet secretary was referring to institutions set in the vicinity of establishments like bars and lodges. “It is your job to make sure that the environments in which these universities are established are conducive to learning and suitable for the general welfare of our students,” he told the commissioners. The commission is required to undertake regular inspections, monitoring and evaluation of universities to ensure compliance with set standards and guidelines to safeguard quality and relevance. It will also undertake course accreditation and quality audits. According to Prof Kaimenyi, CUE should also push universities to engage in quality research and innovation. “We expect all universities, especially private universities, which have not been doing research the way we expect them to, to take note. They must improve their commitment to research and ensure that the studies culminate into scholarly books so that our children don’t have to keep on buying books by authors from other countries,” he advised. The new CUE chairman, Prof Thairu, promised that the commission would burn the midnight oil to first ensure that it dealt with the backlog of work that had gone unattended for the period there had been a vacuum. CORRECTION Our main story last week gave the impression that the Flexi-Biogas unit, the subject of the article, was a creation of Dr Rewe Thomas of Pwani University. We have since established that the designer, inventor and patent holder of Flexi-Biogas is Mr Dominic Wanjihia, the CEO of Biogas International, which is based in Nairobi. Pwani University is only experimenting on a large scale use of the technology at the institution. DAILY NATION Monday January 27, 2014 SMART MOVES Like it or not, induction always opens the eye BY JULIAH KARIMI email@example.com Some new employees don’t take job orientation or induction seriously. Those who have gone through it with deserving seriousness, however, will generally agree that it was beneficial. It does not matter whether it was well done or poorly coordinated. A well crafted induction plan tells you something about the organisation and its people, just as much as a bad one does. You can say its the best eye opener. In small firms, induction might be a simple introduction to the rest of the team, in the director’s office, after which you are shown your desk. In larger and well structured organisations, you are likely to be taken through a more rigorous and well thought out orientation. The common format is to have a department-bydepartment plan, in which as a new employee, you are taken through each department for introductions and in-depth explanation about the section. By the time you have gone round, you will be well informed about the organisation, with a clearer understanding of how the departments relate with one another. When going through orientation, bear these in mind: What you want to know at the end of this process. Are you looking forward to knowing the reporting structure, for instance? What are the departmental roles? What about performance? How is it measured? Usually, a well structured induction will first give you a general view of the organisation and what each department does and how your role fits in. It will then narrow down to the job specific acclimatisation, where you are taken through details about your job and the roles that you are expected to play or take over. Orientation can be difficult even for the most sea- soned professional. If you happen to have a friend or acquaintance at the organisation, ask that they play a part in your orientation. If the orientation involves two or more of you as new employees, make friends as you go through the process. It will enable you to compare notes and get the chance to discuss your observations. Create friendship with the person taking you round too. As they warm up to you, they will tell you the different types of people you will encounter and how to respond to them. In any organisation, you will meet different types of people and characters. You will encounter roadblocks. Having a trusted friend early enough will help you to avoid offending some people or stepping on their toes unknowingly. Ordinarily, the key benefit of orientation or induc- tion is increased understanding of the job and the organisation. Expectations are always high after you passed the interview and got selected. Everyone expects you to demonstrate all those beneficial skills you spoke about at the interviews. It is thus important that note down the things you learn or discover during the orientation, with the intention of figuring out how you will best fit in and adapt to the new culture. Remember that you are likely to encounter challenges as you settle in your job, even after a thorough orientation. How you deal with them will increase your chances of being confirmed in your new job. You must also remember to respect everyone regardless of their capabilities, shortcoming or status in the organisation. Use your communication skills or work to improve in that area. Good communication can easily break the barriers that often exist in a new workplace. Some of your workmates may not warm up to you easily. They could hesitate to share crucial information. With good communication skills, you can win them over. And you must do so because you will need their support to align your task to the department’s and organisation’s goals and vision. This is of the utmost importance if you wish to be confirmed in the job.
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