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Grenada's Model Music Programme


Danielle Miller

December 5, 2019

Teacher Godson Browne instructing a student in steel pan

Music in Grenada

Grenada pulsates to the beat of soca music - you’ll hear it in the rum shops, on the buses and of course at Carnival. And in 2019, our very own Mr Killa made the country proud, winning the International Soca Monarch Competition in Trinidad & Tobago. Rhythm is clearly in our blood, and yet there are very few opportunities for Grenada’s young people to develop musical skills and talents.

Student Hope Mitchell (Music video shoot, photo courtesy BSS Music Club)

Model Music Programme Sponsored by Netherlands Insurance

In 2014, Netherlands Insurance, one of the island’s biggest general insurance companies, set about to change that. Headed by Richard Stachan, himself a gifted musician, the company is a proud sponsor of the arts in Grenada. Netherlands Insurance collaborated with Phil Beaman, President of the National Music Teachers Association in Grenada, who created the Secondary School Model Music Programme.

Music at Boca Secondary School

The programme was rolled out at Boca Secondary School (BSS) in St George, with Netherlands Insurance donating over $25,000 for band instruments, student assistance and music teacher training.

BSS now has Grenada’s most comprehensive school music programme as part of the curriculum, delivered by Godson Browne, their dedicated and talented music teacher. Students can try their hands at a wide range of instruments in the well-resourced music room including piano, drums, flute, electric and acoustic guitar, xylophone, saxophone, steel pan and more.

BSS Music Club practise in the music room at Boca Secondary School

Skilled Based Approach to Education

The programme currently prepares students for the UK’s Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM) theory and practical exams in piano and percussion. In the last five years, there have been 27 entries, with 25 passes.

In 2016, the programme was revised to increase the focus on Caribbean and pop music, while keeping the technical foundation encouraged by the ABRSM syllabus. This move supports the school’s aim to offer skills-based education, with an emphasis on reading chords, and playing in various keys, meters and styles that are popular in soca, reggae and pop music.

BSS Music Club performing at a wedding (photo courtesy BSS Music Club)

Boca Secondary School Music Club

Mr Browne also runs the popular BSS Music Club - allowing students to further explore music through their instruments, and learn about the performance and technical sides of the music industry. The music club band has played at graduations, weddings, the Pure Grenada Music Festival, prestigious Rotary Carols by Candlelight concert, and more. They have even appeared in a DASH music video (Grenada’s four time Groovy Soca Monarch).

BSS Musician Isaiah Henry playing the keyboard

Meet a BSS Musician

Isaiah Henry is 17 years old and plays the piano and snare drum. He’s played with the BSS Music Club for over four years, and hopes to pursue a career as a professional musician. He passed the ABRSM Piano Grade 3 exam while only in Form 4, and has a bright musical future ahead of him!