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Posts Tagged ‘brass for africa’

Photo: Gramophone
Children in Uganda are learning the joy of playing a musical instrument thanks to an initiative called Brass for Africa.

The opening sentence of the following article caught my attention as, in fact, both my children had instruments they no longer played. A couple years ago, they let me donate the oboe and the alto sax to the Worcester public schools as part of a WICN program.

At Gramophone, Isha Ranchod wrote about something similar occurring in Uganda, “If you found out that your son’s junior band had 30 brass instruments that were not going to be used anymore, what would you do?

“Airline pilot Jim Trott raised funds to have them shipped to Uganda after seeing the circumstances of children while there for work, and what started as a way to save the instruments from the scrap heap turned into a story of hope and transformation.

“Trott placed the trumpets in an orphanage called The Good Shepherd Home, with the tutelage of music given to Ugandan local Bosco Segawa and his organisation M-Lisada – and so he thought his work was complete.

“However, he continued to visit the home regularly, and was amazed to find overall improvement in the children learning music. He said that they had discovered self-confidence and pride within themselves and found that playing in their brass band together had become the most important thing in their lives.

“This was when Trott realised that he needed to find a way to sustain this musical intervention and share this opportunity with more children. And so the charity organisation Brass for Africa officially began. …

“The children involved include those living in extreme poverty (living either as street children or in a slum), as well as children living in orphanages and rehabilitation centres, living with physical or mental disability, or coping with HIV/AIDS. These children each have two training sessions a week, which include music theory, and are periodically recorded so as to let them hear their improvement along the way. The bands each have at least three performances a year, which not only serve as goals for the children to work towards, but also allow for them to show the local communities their growth and talent. …

“The music lessons are supplemented with a life skills programme tailored to the experiences of these Ugandan children. The emotional support and practical skills taught in this way aim to help the participants to reach their own goals in the long term. …

“The teachers of the programme were once students of Brass for Africa, having come through the programmes themselves. This ensures that they understand the challenges faced by the participants and also creates a sustainable cycle in which the culture is not forced to adapt to a Western influence. …

“The project’s vision has attracted two internationally-acclaimed trumpeters, Alison Balsom and Guy Barker, who serve as ambassadors and patrons. …

“In 2014, Balsom and Barker went to Kampala, Uganda, and played in the different bands with the children, making music together and experiencing first-hand what had drawn them to the charity in the first place.

” ‘There were hundreds of young people that I met, and for all of them, this was the highlight, the focus, and the safety net of their day.’ … Many of the children told Balsom that playing in the band gave them a valuable escape from the stresses and challenges of their daily lives.” Read about a girl whose life was changed by the program, here.

Photo: Jim Trott
Aisha Nassaazi, a Ugandan girl, says her life was changed completely by music.

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