One of the country’s established artists Faith Mussa announced this week that he will be launching a guitar tutorials programme for anyone interested in learning how to play the musical instrument. He said the programme will start in Lilongwe before extending to Blantyre. Our arts editor EDITH GONDWE caught up with Mussa who starts by discussing his experiences in the just ended 2021.
Q: First let us talk about the year 2021. What were your highs and lows of the just-ended year just ending?
A: I think 2021 was a mixed bag. It had its highs and lows. Some of the highs were that we managed to do a couple of gigs. We held several successful shows, including a few international ones. I also managed to compile an album. So, I am excited because I am on the verge of finalising it so that is one of my highest wins of 2021.
Some of the lows were that we had a number of audience restrictions due to Covid-19. Everything aside, we lost some friends. Personally I lost two friends to Covid-19.
Q: Now as we settle in the New Year, you have announced guitar lessons. Tell us more about the course and who qualifies for the lessons?
A: Yes. In this New Year I have decided to offer guitar lessons.
I think it is high time as artists we started looking at what we are going to leave behind. I see that a lot of artists in Malawi have gone with their talent and skills without imparting them fully to anybody.
So, in 2021 I have embarked on these guitar teaching lessons because I really want to create a platform where people should be able to learn what they have seen me do. I need to leave information on how best young Malawian guitarists can progress. The mistakes we have made as guitarists in the past should not be repeated in future.
We do not want to reinvent the wheel. We want to make sure that we expose some of our friends to some of the things that we have learnt along the way because different artists have had different experiences.
For example, international tours that have taken us to all the places that we have been to have left us with so many things that we have learnt and this is one way of sharing such kind of knowledge with others.
Q: It is said that it is more effective to learn playing guitar from a young age. Is this true? And approximately, how long does it take to master guitar?
A: It is true that learning how to play guitar at a young age is easier, but that does not mean that you cannot learn at an older age. I would say that it becomes a little easier for adults because they handle musical instruments well.
So, with musical instruments, it is something that can be done at any age as long as the student is dedicated and committed. Approximately, within three months, an individual should be able to play some basic sound with proper guidance and dedicated guitar practice.
Q: Will this programme not affect your music performances with Mdidi Band?
A: This will not affect my performances with Mdidi Band. You know we do not perform like every week, and on top of that the piano lessons, drum lessons are incorporated in my programme. These extra lessons are being offered by the other members of the band and this is also our way of keeping busy and also generating an income for the band when we are off the stage.
Q: If anyone wants to learn another instrument like the keyboard or drums, will it be possible? A: Currently, we can offer keyboard and guitar lessons. We have announced that there will be drum lessons as well because it is a possibility depending on various factors. You know, drums are backing instruments, not many people have them, so we have indicated in our announcement that students who already have their own drum sets will make it easier for us to teach them. That is the prerequisite which is quite a difficult thing to tell someone who just wants to start. So for that one, we will say we offer, but with those conditions.