When he was six, Mophat Odienge invented his own drum-set from cooking oil tins and at 14, he would sneak from home and pay for his piano lessons using savings from his lunch money.
His love for music never wavered as he grew older instead it morphed into a great need to teach music to people who were not given the opportunity like him.
“This is how International Maestro Centre was officially launched on 27th November 2010. It was created to cater for the growing needs of students keen to learn music and yet they did not have opportunity,” says Odienge, the director.
Earlier this month, the centre opened its first branch in Athi River. Its main branch is located in Kileleshwa.
He noticed that a growing number of young families were moving to Athi River either buying a home in the new estates or building their own. That’s why he moved to be near his students.
Over weekends, this new branch has as many as 30 students who want to learn to play an instrument.
He adds that music is slowly picking up as parents realise the importance of allowing their children to make a career out of music.
“Parents are now aware of the advantages of learning music formally. It helps with coordinating because it’s about reading the music sheet then applying it to the instrument. He says it helps open up their horizons.
IMC stands on the foundation of Jimmy Music School which was started by Mophat’s brother, Jimmy Odienge in 1990. However when his brother moved to the UK five years later, the school could not stay opened that’s why it closed in 2004.
“I was still in the entertainment business and I had started teaching but then the pay was not that good. That’s when I decided to take over the running of my brother’s school in 2010,” says Odienge.
IMC is working towards being an institution of excellence in entertainment and music management.”
It offers interactive music lessons using the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and London College of Music (LCM) associated curriculums.
It specialises in various popular musical instruments such as the guitar, piano, saxophone, Drums, Violin, Cello, Recorder, Clarinet, Trumpets, Flute, and vocals combined with music theory.
With few musical shops, they sometimes sell instruments. IMC is about teaching music and providing live music performances with their band.
“Our curriculum is tailored to connect students to their inner voice while at the same time linking them to the new world of infinite opportunities in the diverse music industry,” he says.
One of the graduates of the school is Dan Aceda – an internationally-acclaimed musician who has just launched his third album.
The IMC offers music lessons to students as young as 18 months and as old as 87. The young ones are generally taught rhythms with instruments like piano and drums and movement.
“We are seeing students enrolling every day for lessons. The piano is the most popular among the students followed by the guitar,” he says.
As the main teacher of the beginners’ class, Odienge can also play the guitar, saxophone and drum-set. The school has grown and now has 300 students with nine graduate teachers in Music or with over five years’ experience.
One of the challenges has been getting professional teachers (especially for the younger students). One way the school of solving this is by recruiting music graduates and training them.