Bonaire School of Guitars is a new music school recently established in Bonaire. The School is founded by Anthony Bierman, a South African immigrant whom was the son of a Dutch father and a South African mother. Born in Windhoek, Namibia, he spent most of his youth living in Pretoria, South Africa (The same hometown as famed South African Entrepreneur Elon Musk), before moving to Johannesburg, where he worked as a guitar teacher while completing his master’s degree in music at the University of Witwatersrand. After seeing gaps in Bonaire for formalized guitar lessons and other entrepreneurial avenues for professional music, he decided to take a leap and immigrated to the island.
He in turn setup Bonaire School of Guitars to provide structured Guitar, Ukulele and Bass lessons for the residents of Bonaire.
The guitar school brought in Graded Curricular from the Rockschool and Trinity music colleges (initially based in the United Kingdom). The colleges are used as a music education system in Schools and Universities across many commonwealth countries such as the UK, South Africa, Barbados and Trinidad etc. This system provides students with the opportunity to study music in a structured manner which ranges across nine different grades or levels. Grade 0-2 (Focusing on Beginner Development) Grades 3-5 (Intermediate stages) and Grades 6-8 (Advanced instrumental studies). Usually students whom study music in a school idiom would need to complete a Grade 6 level in their final year of schooling. This in turn gives them options to be able to enroll into a University music program if they were aiming for a career in music, or if they ended up doing national service, a grade 6 was a minimum requirement in order to play for either the Police or Military bands.
Bonaire School of Guitars provides options for interested students to study three different string instruments through the graded curricular; Guitar, Ukulele (An island favourite!) and Bass. The Rockschool College provides graded curriculums based on popular music styles (Rock, Pop, Blues, R ‘n B etc) for both Electric and Acoustic guitar, Bass and more recently the Ukulele has also been setup with a comprehensive curriculum.
Trinity College provides options more centered on graded Classical studies for Nylon Guitar. For the students who wish to take their studies seriously, recent developments have taken place which allows students within the Rockschool Curriculum to be able to complete exams for their grades via an online video portfolio platform. This gives Bonarians an option to submit an exam online to receive certifications from the UK based music colleges, which can be used across the commonwealth territories. For the classical students studying through Trinity's graded curriculum, options are being explored to allow Bonairians to travel to our neighboring Caribbean islands of either Barbados or Trinidad to partake in their exams for certifications.
If this all sounds very serious!! Please don’t fret!
The school is also more than welcoming to those who just wish to study for personal enjoyment or hobby purposes. From giving Bonaire’s retirees an option to pickup an old passion they weren’t able to during their working years, or an active working professional the option to have a break from work and learn to hash out a couple of their favourite songs on a guitar or ukulele on one of Bonaire’s famous Beaches.
The school is open to everyone! and for any level of interest or personal commitment.
In Anthony’s personal music playing capacity, his continuing to study and grow his own skills on both 8-string nylon classical and electric guitars. Committed to further immerse himself within the musical language of the region, he is regularly playing Jazz and Brazilian music with local musicians in the clubs of Bonaire, and has begun studying the rich tradition of Antillean Classical Music which derives from the ABC islands. In an attempt to adapt this largely piano based music, for the 8-string classical guitar, along with dabbling in vintage Caribbean Calypso music arranged for the Ukulele. He hopes to increase his music and cultural understanding of the Antilles’ music in order to share and keep the cultural and musical heritage of the islands alive with his students.
If you have any interest in learning the Guitar, Ukulele or Bass or would like more information regarding lessons at Bonaire School of Guitars you can find more information on the school’s website. Options are being explored to expand the school’s lessons to the islands of Saba and St Eustatius through the use of Skype facilities. In order to create lesson options, across the whole Caribbean Netherlands/BES Islands region.
Author : A.A Bierman