In an historical move, The Alpha School of Music invited women to join its music programme at the start of the 2022-2023 school year and Zuri Gordon jumped at the chance.
For the first time in the history of the 130-year music education programme, Alpha music training is open to female students through the Alpha School of Music Associate Degree in Music Performance. The Sisters of Mercy of Jamaica and the Alpha School of Music are pleased to welcome Zuri Gordon, a multiinstrumentalist who plays violin, guitar, recorder and sings. Ms Gordon has the distinction of being the first female student – and first student ever whose primary instrument is the violin.
“Young women are passionate about music and making music their career,” said Sister Susan, Area Administrator, Sisters of Mercy in Jamaica. “We’re excited and proud to have Zuri choose Alpha as the platform for her next step in her career. It is another milestone and I for one can’t wait for the next school performance!”
Born into a music-loving family, Zuri Gordon has always gravitated towards music and, with her family’s support, has grown increasingly committed to mastering the art form. However, only recently did she decide to take things to the next level by applying to the Alpha School of Music after learning the Alpha’s Associate Degree is open to females. Ms. Gordon researched Alpha’s unique curriculum, the only tertiary programme in Jamaica that focuses on ensemble, or group/band, performance. Her research online was enough for her to decide to apply and schedule an audition which she successfully completed using the violin. She was impressed that Alpha shows “lots of opportunities for young musicians are bursting from right here in Jamaica.”
“I like [Alpha’s] soundproof practice rooms, studios, computers, multiple instruments and modern space,” said Ms. Gordon. “I haven’t really seen anything of this calibre and technology built in Jamaica for music.”
Ms. Gordon was pleasantly surprised at the school’s willingness to accept her application with the violin as her principal instrument – an instrument which, until this year, had not been one of the instruments included in Alpha’s ensemble programme. Bandmaster, Gay Magnus, says it was not hard to make an exception for the new student.
“I could tell at the audition that Zuri has what it takes to go far in music and in life,” said Ms Magnus. “Alpha is growing and we are excited to have Zuri grow with us. She deserves a lot of credit for taking this step and I am looking forward to watching her develop. Our music staff will also have fun adding a violin to ensemble arrangements!”
Although in her first year, Ms Gordon was placed in the second pre-qualifying year due to her theory and practical abilities. Having received a warm welcome from schoolmates and enjoying the campus’ state-of-the-art musical facilities, Zuri is confident that the skills, support and connections to be gained from Alpha will, one day, equip her to release her own music and possibly even become, like many Alpha alumni before her, a pioneering Jamaican music professional.