ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – Stephen Olusoji
This week’s artiste is not the type of Musician you see on stage, neither is he the type that makes the headlines. This is the Musician at the background, the type of Musician that moulds a Musician.
Stephen Oluibukun Olusoji was born in Lagos to a Clergyman. Surrounded by music and musical instruments, the motivation came to take music to the next cadre from the home front.
He started off as a choir boy, In the alto part, later he picked up the recorder under the tutelage of Late Rev.George Sodipo in the early seventies in a gospel church. He got his first musical training from the Late Ropo Odumosu at Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos, where he also served as the school’s Organist, before proceeding to higher institutions.
A trained Music Teacher, fondly called “The Doctor”!! by his students, Stephen Olusoji holds an NCE in Music Technology from Ibadan Polytechnic. He was taught by well-groomed Teacher-Musicians. He also holds a B.A In Music from the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka, M.Ed (Management) L.A.S.U, M.A.(African music) University of Ibadan and PhD (Ethnomusicology) University of Ibadan. No wonder many of his past students testify that Dr. Stephen is a wonder to behold in the classroom.
As an experienced teacher who has trained quiet a number of Musicians, Dr. Stephen thinks highly of the Nigerian Music Student, but does not spare the rod in stating some grey areas in the lives of Upcoming Musicians, in a chat, he says;
“Students come from different musical backgrounds and it will be quite difficult to access their levels of musical achievements without taking into cognizance that Nigerian students are hardworking, ready to take up challenges but impatient to learn the right techniques, rather it’s a tussle to absolutely chase money and certificate (without substance)”.
It is left to be seen if the Nigerian Student will agree to this notion.
On the issue of lack of facilities and good teachers in the various Nigerian Higher Institutions here’s what he had to say;
“It is a serious problem. The entire system must be sanitized from the Instructors/Lecturers. To be employed, Lecturers must be those that can deliver, add value to the system and Mentor our future Musicologists. We are going to have problem in our music studies at the exit of Ekwueme, Vidal, Obidike, Agu, Adekunle, Akpata and Soyannwo from the stage. It is not the number of PhD holders in the system that matters, but what they can deliver. The students on their own should be more focused and shun materialism but strive for excellence – Seek for the knowledge and every other things shall be added unto you – should be their motto”.
Dr. Stephen Olusoji on his PhD graduation ceremony
Dr. Olusoji further explains that the solutions to the problems facing music education in Nigeria lies in the hands of the Government to provide enough funds to sustain the arts, according to him, art is life. He also believes that Politicization of appointment into lecturing job is another problem killing the system and calls for a review of the curriculum, so as to meet contemporary needs.
Dr. Stephen Olusoji has attended conferences at home and abroad to improve himself in the area of Music education which he holds dear. He also holds a Cambridge certification for Secondary School Music Education. A very good composer, having studied under Meki Nzewi at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Dr. Olusoji has composed several Choral and Sacred works one of which include “Oyigiyigi” and several other Fuji, Highlife and Apala Music by notable Nigerian Musicians, rearranged for the Piano.
A very vibrant and exciting Dr. Stephen Olusoji in class.
Ladies and gentlemen, a stand in goon ovation for this Teacher, Pianist, Composer and Music Educator;
Dr. Stephen Olusoji
I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY!
Ifediora, Obinna Maurice
Musical Society of Nigeria
8/9 Marina, Onikan Lagos.