BATTLE OF THE BANDS: Secondary school students improve language skills through music
AHMAD Akif Mohammad Takiyuddin started playing the electric guitar four years ago. The fourth-former at SMK Bukit Rahman Putra plays well for someone who never took guitar lessons.
Ahmad Akif had the chance to show off his talents recently at the Battle of the Bands (BOTB) 2012, a band performance contest for secondary school students, at SMK Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh (SMKBBSB).
Ahmad Akif represented his school with schoolmates Kamil Hariz, Nazri Dean, Putra Zareef, M. Zulfadli and Alif Umar, who make up Nuggetz.
"Doing what I love (playing the guitar) is a lot of fun and it gives me a chance to bond with my friends,“ says Ahmad Akif.
Organised by the SMKBBSB English Department, nine bands from eight schools took part in the contest.
In addition to SMK Bukit Rahman Putra and host SMKBBSB, other participating schools were SMK Taman Keramat, SMK Taman Selayang, SMK Seri Selayang, SMK Rawang, SMK Taman Desa 2 and SM Teknik Gombak.
All of the bands had to perform a Malay and an English song.
SMKBBSB English department head Shantini S. Karalasingam says that the activity is part of the school‘s effort to boost students‘ language skills in line with the current education policy of upholding Bahasa Malaysia and strengthening English Language.
"English is not widely spoken here (in the school) where most students come from suburban areas and don‘t have the chance to practise the language. A chance to showcase their capabilities in avenues other than the academic field is a great confidence-booster,“ adds Shantini, whose teaching career spans 17 years.
BOTB also encourages students to use their time productively through recreational activities such as music.
"The last time we had the contest, which was two years ago, only four bands from four schools participated. The increase in participation is encouraging,“ says Shantini.
Entries were judged based on song choices, pronunciation, vocals and musical harmony, group dynamics and rapport with audience.
Prizes awaited the best performance (English and Bahasa Malaysia song), best vocalist (English and Bahasa Malaysia song), best lead guitarist, best bassist, best Malay song, best English song and the grand prize winner.
D‘Sniperz, one of the two groups from SMKBBSB, was the champion.
The best vocalist (English and Bahasa Malaysia) award went to Fareezuan Adnan, 6 Strangers‘ lead singer from SM Teknik Gombak, who wowed the crowd with his vocals and presentation.
Fareezuan attributed his win to an early start in singing.
"Although I only had a week to prepare for the contest, I was confident I could perform my best as I have been singing from a very young age. I‘m happy that contests such as BOTB allow students to showcase their talents,“ says the fifth-former.
Ahmad Akif and his band, however, came away empty-handed.
"But being able to represent my school is an honour for me, and I will definitely do it again,“ he says.