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After the Jazz on the Lake razzmatazz, the City of Johannesburg encouraged musicians to conduct workshops as part of the International Arts Alive Programme.  

The Madre Tierra Band conducted a workshop at Isaac Morris Music School in Region D, Soweto, targeting music students.

​The workshop focused mainly of the use of saxophone and how it create different rhythms irrespective of the musical genre.

As the band played on, student were tuned to listen to the frequency and the tempo. The instructor, Mr Vernador, stopped here and there to open a discussion about the different rhythms. He did that tactfully, choosing which note to play and the frequency. He emphasised that understanding how to change the timing when playing an instrument is key. 

Music student and Soweto resident Gift Nwokorie said: “Music is my calling. I grew up listening to sounds. I was just called to music. It is the language that I understand. So I went to music school because I have a song but struggled with the techniques. I knew I have a gift and I was willing to learn.  

“What was outstanding was hearing what we were taught at school being practiced. I was able to relate to the music played. This assured me that I can go to Cuba, play music and still be heard. Music is universal,” said Nwokorie. 

Interaction between the band and students affirmed that these workshops are necessary.

Mr Vernador stressed that playing a musical instrument requires ambition, a willingness to persevere, tenacity, determined and persistence in developing your own style.
This answered Miala Tabala when he asked: “What actually makes a great musician.” 

He did not just stop there. Tabala wanted to know the influence of the African rhythm in Cuban music.  The answer was music does not have boundaries. Afro-Cuban music could be easily related to the cha-cha-chá, informally called cha-cha, a dance of Cuban origin. 

When the workshop ended, students were stuck to their chairs for a couple of minutes wishing that this could go on and on. Unfortunately nothing really lasts forever.