May 21, 2024

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In conversation with Afshin Jafari, Founder of Melodica Music Center

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Why is expanding businesses in the creative sector as important as business expansions in any other industries? What are your thoughts on this?

Launching one’s own business and expanding its footprints as well as establishing it on a global scale are all indispensable pieces of an aspiring entrepreneur’s dream. Early success, which comes often rarely, fuels the business dreams of growth and expansion for one’s enterprise. But there are several parameters that must be factored in before making an informed decision on how to grow your business.

In my opinion, the creative sector is one of the rapidly growing as well as strategic sectors, which when nurtured, offers innumerable possibilities for sustainable and inclusive development and growth of an economy. Art holds the power to transform the world. It does not simply show what the performer does, instead, it connects you to your senses, your body, and mind. As it creates a bond between the audiences and the performers, it has the ability to bring people together. This is what I have always believed in since I began my career in singing and even continues to do so. Instead of keeping this talent to myself, I wanted to pass it along to future generations of emerging artists. In order to do this, I founded Melodica Music Centre, a dance and music institute that welcomes people from diverse cultural backgrounds and presents a variety of dance and music forms. With time, I learned that this business serves to support the economy of the UAE, in addition to nurturing new artists. Therefore, I started expanding my business and setting up new branches in several areas.

How do creative sectors contribute to UAE’s growth?

As I see it, the UAE is currently working to nurture and promote its cultural and creative industries to diversify its economy, as it recognises the growing significance of the creative economy. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy last year with the sole mission to increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution of creative sectors from 2.6 per cent at the end of 2020, to 5 per cent by the year 2025.

According to UNESCO, Dubai is the only city in its Creative City Network in the Middle East and North Africa region to have developed a framework for cultural statistics, a feat that attests to the emirate’s rise to prominence as a key regional and international player in the creative industry. Additionally, the Dubai Framework for Cultural Statistics illustrates the Emirate’s commitment to building an integrated economic system for the cultural sectors that supports the creative industry, enabling it to draw in further foreign investments, create new job opportunities for local talents, and boost GDP.

So far, we have opened 19 branches in order to draw in more talents to the UAE and thereby contribute to this mission. We believe that the growth of the performing arts and other creative industries is benefiting local artists and making the nation’s culture richer. Additionally, the Expo 2020, which gave artists a ton of opportunity to perform daily to different, international audiences, also significantly aided in advancing this development during the past year.

Why did you choose to launch your institute in the UAE?

Touring around the globe, I have met many people who were interested in music and possessed many artistic talents. I had always dreamed of opening a music institute and bringing all music enthusiasts from across the world under one roof. And there was no other better place than UAE to make this dream come true since the country offers various possibilities and constantly promotes the creative industry.

The UAE has one of the most open economies, it is an inclusive and diverse land, home to people of multiple cultural and ethnic backgrounds. It is brimming with a myriad of opportunities across various fields, further attracting people from various nationalities and cultures. People come to the UAE to simply enjoy the ease of doing business. Within two decades, the UAE has remarkably transformed from desert to a thriving business hub with a robust economy that offers limitless opportunities for expats seeking to settle, study, invest and work in the region.

What are all the various programs that Melodica offers?

My sole intention of launching the Melodica Institute was to bring all the individuals who were passionate about music, as well as those who were artistically talented, under one roof and help them hone their abilities and pursue their ambitious dreams. We, at Melodica, are driven by this mission, which has enabled the institute to rise to prominence as one of the premier institutions for music and dance. At present, we have 20 branches throughout the UAE. We have four concepts – dance, music, a piano showroom, and musical store.

We specialise in teaching the performing arts of music and dance to children, adults, teachers, and professionals. Piano, guitar, violin, vocals, drums, saxophone, ukulele, flute, recorder, keyboard, and Kiddykey are a few of the instruments that we provide training in, at our music department. In addition, our dance program provides training in multiple genres including ballet, hip-hop, belly dance, contemporary, jazz, and Zumba. Through our institute, we intend to present new ways and initiatives to further the UAE’s objective of fostering performing arts, particularly among the youth.

What future plans does the Melodica Musical Centre have for progress and continuity?   

Our primary objective is to support and foster talents in the UAE by polishing their artistic abilities through exceptional training and instructions in performing arts. Our mission is to open doors in the creative industry to inspire talents and encourage them to effectively engage in several creative endeavours. At Melodica, we offer training in various kinds of instruments, several genres of dance, and vocals, irrespective of the age, in an ideal environment that can hold a large number of students. We frequently hold several concerts throughout the UAE as a strategy to increase our presence and encourage stage performances of up-and-coming artists. Additionally, we look forward to fostering the UAE’s creative industry as well as growing our network of locations in the country.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to expand their business.

Being unique, creative, and different is something that is crucial to starting a business and expanding it. It is all about doing something different, rather than doing anything new. Whatever mission you embark on, make sure that is in line with your personal interests and desire, like mine as a musician, along with ensuring that your idea is a rewarding one. Moreover, keep in mind that ‘everyone’ will never be your target audience. Finding the right demographic is critical even for businesses in the creative sector to grow and expand. Market research can also assist you in determining the needs, demands, and behaviours of your target audience, as well as give you proper insights on where and how to grow your company. Most importantly, one should never ever give up on her/his dream.

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