News / Africa

Free Music Lessons for Houston's Young ... and maybe Africa

Part 3 of a weekly series on Africa's Rising Stars

Garrin Chillis (above) and a friend from Ghana, Martin Kabutey Adjovu, give Houston children a love of music and school. (Courtesy Garrin Chillis)
Garrin Chillis (above) and a friend from Ghana, Martin Kabutey Adjovu, give Houston children a love of music and school. (Courtesy Garrin Chillis)
Kwame Ofori
Two friends in Texas have come together to build the music scene in Houston, Texas. Garrin Chillis and Martin Kabutey Adjovu want to strengthen the musical skills of their young students. They believe building the music skills of neighborhood young people will guarantee their educational and social growth through the community music program the two young men have developed.
 
The program they have started for the youth of the Harris County acts as an after-school program where young people in the community can attend and keep themselves occupied while developing their talent. These lessons sometimes take place in local churches or at the youths’ own homes.
 
Chillis is their teacher and a local rhythm and blues recording artist. He is known professionally as “G chillz.”
 
Music is a way to keep kids in school

“To put your kids through music programs like this in an after-school program like this is a lot of money,” said Martin, a friend of G chillz, the performer’s manager and his partner in the project that offers free music lessons to youth in the community. “G chillz having the love for kids and having the love for music decided to do something to help the young ones coming up.”
 
Kwame Ofori talks to the partners in Houston music education
Kwame Ofori talks to the partners in Houston music educationi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

G-chillz also speaks of how the program ultimately keeps the young participants out of trouble and focused in school. He does this through a strategy he employs which incorporates the steady growth and maintenance of good grades. This determines the young participant’s continued enrollment in the program.
 
On the issue of receiving support from the community and actually showing up for some of the shows that exhibit the young talent, G chillz emphasizes that indeed there is support for the program from the community. The community attends his stage appearances to promote his music as a sign of apprectaion for teaching their children. He believes that as he grows as an artist, the community music program will grow with him.
 
One of the challenges faced with such programs, they agreed, is the fact that many parents would prefer their kids get “real jobs” and become doctors or lawyers. Parents often see the arts or specifically music as a dead-end career.  
 
G chillz said, “That is why it’s very difficult for some kids to truly shine. Because you are not going to get a parent who is as dependable and so driven for that child to make it.
 
“So I feel, like we should have more agencies out there - or community-based agencies - to help the community out”, said G Chillz. He recounted that his mother was supportive enough to put him through San Jacinto College to study music.
 
Martin said he wants to take the program to Ghana where he is originally from - and all over Africa - to help develop the music terrain among the youth in Africa. He vowed to make that a reality.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs