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First ever gdf music course graduates 11

Eleven soldiers, all members of the GDF Band Corps, successfully completed the historic first Grade Three Music Course to be conducted by the Force.

Graduating Best Student was 19806 Corporal Patrick Bristol with 20612 Lance Corporal Brian Mitchell copping the runner-up spot. The soldiers graduated from the course at a simple graduating ceremony held at Base Camp Ayanganna on Monday last.

The Course, an initiative of Chief-of-Staff Commodore Gary Best, allowed the soldiers to study for the first time, Introductory Music Theory and Practical at the Grade Three level of the Royal Schools of Music curriculum, in a systematic and structured manner. The soldiers completed written and practical assessments on various wind and percussion instruments that are used in the Force.

According to the Course’s principal instructor, and former Ministry of Education music teacher Mr. Oliver Basdeo, the course was designed to make better musicians of the soldiers in the Band Corps. He said that in the past the Unit’s soldiers learned their craft through lots of informal training and rigorous practice. This course, he explained, was just the beginning of several others. “Another Grade III Course is to be conducted in February of 2011 and with the Grade Two course to be conducted in July of that year also. The soldiers, who graduated on Monday, will be the ones to pursue the Grade Two.” Basdeo was ably assisted by former GDF Corporal Philip Cummings and GDF Director of Music Captain Robert Burns.

Captain Burns, who is also the Officer Commanding, Band Corps, explained that, by instituting a structured format for music education in the Force, it is more than likely that there will be much continuity in terms of what the soldiers learn and an enhanced link between what they learn and what they do. Band Corps members are also going to be in a better position to teach others who are willing to learn. One of the long-term goals is to raise the soldiers’ musical awareness, enhance their theoretical and practical proficiency through the pursuit of external examinations from the Royal Schools of Music, and guarantee a cadre of military musicians who will continue to do the GDF and Guyana proud.  

Congratulations are extended by the COS and all Officers and ranks of the force to the graduates of the Course.