The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has taken another step in ensuring that Caribbean Culture remains an integral part of its syllabus. On November 4 the Council signed a contract with the British High Commission that will see a musical piece composed to commemorate the Bicentenary anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in 2007, added to its syllabus.
Composer Michael Burnett will train Caribbean teachers to teach the work, “Let These Things be Written Down.” The piece was first performed by a 60 voice choir on October 6, 2007, at the University Chapel in Kingston. It combines traditional Jamaican melodies, lyrics and rhythms, and makes use of texts by Jamaican and Caribbean British writers, such as Dennis Scott, Derek Walcott, Una Marsden, and Louise Bennett-Coverley. Music teachers will be trained in 11 countries. A letter of agreement was also signed at the function between the High Commission and the Institute of Jamaica, for the reproduction and distribution of copies of the compact disc and vocal score.
Pro Registrar Glenroy Cumberbatch said that the CXC views music as an essential subject to study and that, “in some areas we believe that music is a core subject, just as important as English, mathematics, science, and those areas, in that it helps to improve the human being.” He is suggesting that music be made a compulsory part of the curriculum in all Caribbean secondary schools.
Photo of composer/conductor Michael Burnett (by Oliver Wright) from http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20071008/ent/ent1.html