Monday, February 19, 2018

Music for life, living and love


Behind the music: Founder/coordinator of Angelic Sounds Music Centre, musician Gideon Ovid.

Mark Fraser


Practising together: A music-training session in progress.

Mark Fraser

Angelic Sounds Music Centre (ASMC) is committed to transforming lives through music. ASMC founder and coordinator, Gideon Ovid, opened the music centre located at 139 Eastern Main Road in Arouca, in 2012 with an aim to offer the benefits of music education easily accessible to those wanting to learn various instrument as a hobby or to develop as professional musicians. ASMC has grown since its launch due in part to the tremendous need in the community, with special programmes for people of all backgrounds including children, the elderly, university students and housewives.

Research acknowledges that music lessons at any stage in ones life may provide lifelong boost in brain functioning, which has long-term positive effects even for those who no longer play instruments. Ovid told the Express that ASMC is a place where community and music education come together in a welcoming and joyful environment. The music centre, he explained, provides lessons on a wide range of instruments offering inspiration, camaraderie and collaboration to musicians of all ages and abilities. Ovid is fully aware of the spectrum of benefits his music programme offers. 

The music centre deals with four components – reading, writing, playing and listening. Ovid explained, “What we also do is we also train participants who are not interested in learning to read and write formal music but are simply interested training to play an instrument for their church or as a hobby. Therefore we facilitate anybody who is willing to be a part of the ASMC and willing to learn. We specifically don’t use the term “music school” because we are not an academic institution although we facilitate the training and preparing of children and adults to write exams by the Royal School of Music in London and the Trinity College of Music in London,” Ovid said.

 “Throughout the world in poverty-stricken cities music has been used as a drive to convert gangs to orchestras and that is the mandate that we have been given. This is one of the driving forces behind our music centre. This is why we don’t charge exorbitant fees. We have participants from different classes, churches and backgrounds. They find a home here without prejudice or discrimination and once you find a home here we will teach you. We opened at the end of 2012 and we have already had many success stories. We have testimonials from parents whose children have shown great improvement in their school. The benefits are quite diverse. For younger children music helps to develop brain coordination as well as discipline, so as a result you find children who play music tend to get better grades,” Ovid said. 

Ovid is hoping more parents will see the benefits of adding music as their children’s extra-curricular activities. Ovid went on, “There is a correlation seen in many studies between music and the playing of music and academic performance in children. Music forms an excellent platform in which they can build and their creative aspects develop as they continue to grow. Even those who appear hyperactive find a sense of calm and purpose as they play music – not just in isolation as soloists but also when they play as part of bigger groups.”

“People come to ASMC for many reasons. We have children of all ages, the oldest student is 79. Youths enjoy being at the centre even long after their sessions have finished; not just to be idle and hang around but they form friendships and develop bonds with their peers. We have retirees involved with our programme who are also enjoying the social networks they have formed. We have churches and organisations that send people to train because they are interested in developing and enhancing their worship teams,” Ovid said.” 

Ovid said the music centre has seen an increase in student intake. He said people are free to explore more than one instrument. While it is not mandatory for participants to have their own instrument, they are encouraged to eventually get their own. An interesting aspect of the music centre is its workshop sessions where students come together to hone their skills. “The workshop is a forum which allows students to interact with tutors as well as other participants. It’s a forum where everybody learn from each other and help each other,” He said.

Ovid noted that while his music centre currently offers piano, keyboard, guitar, violin, drums and vocals. There are plans to offer more instruments. There are plans to offer wood wind and brass instruments such as clarinet, saxophone, and trumpet and trombone etcetera. 

ASMC also offers flexible hours – classes are conducted Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Each session is facilitated by qualified music tutors. Following on the heels of last year’s memorable recital which was free to the public, ASMC is preparing for its second recital on November 24 at the Arima Church of the Nazarene. Ovid describes the event as a grand musical display. “It’s a free event. We want people to come out and enjoy our recital. This year is going to be grand. Our motto is talent, skill and mastery. It will be a grand musical display. It’s free; we are asking however that the public walk with nonperishable food items which will be distributed to the needy in the community. 

The son of a pastor, Gideon Ovid has already travelled to Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, the United States of America and many of the other Caribbean islands, singing and playing music. Receiving tuition for the piano and recorder since the age of four, Gideon has continued to develop his music year after year. The steelpan then became part of his musical artillery as he continued to grow. Almost as a by-product of his passion, he has trained and directed church choirs as well as been the lead musician at his church for many years, responsible for the music department. Due to this and many other responsibilities, he has a very sharp musical ear and his analytical abilities. 

As a teenager, he went on to pursue classical training in piano and music theory via the Royal School of Music in London from which he has many certificates. Additionally, he joined the Department of Performing Arts at the College of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education where he studied music with a double major in piano and vocals. While studying at COSTAATT, he started to play the alto saxophone and drums, managing to simultaneously graduate from the University of the West Indies with a management degree with a minor in international relations. Since that time, he has continued to play mainly at churches, learning, teaching and sharing his love for music. As founder/owner of the Angelic Sounds Music Centre, he still operates in the capacity of piano/keyboard tutor with an emphasis on music theory. His creativity, modern approaches to tuition and motivational insights are invaluable, impacting and highly digestible with an emphasis on excellence, potential and creativity.

For enrollment information or any further information contact the ASMC at email