I wish we could teach all the children here at Sabina to play the instruments we brought. Sadly, there is just not enough time for that so we chose 9 promising students to focus on. We have 3 on ukulele (Joanne, Winnie, and Jackie), 4 on guitar (Isa, Derrek, Christine, and Esther), and 2 on keyboard (Vivian and Teddy). We also got a new drum set that Kariem is playing at our rehearsals. Our hope is to give these 9 quick and hardworking students enough tools to be able to continue learning when we leave next week and be able to teach their peers. I felt great relief when a guitar string broke and Isa was able to fix it without my being there. Every day I have the guitar players tune their own guitars and even though it takes about a half an hour, it is well worth the wait.
I know that these instruments will be taken care of and put to great use every day.
During the school week, we have our “band” practice from 4-6. Adam gives private lessons to the 2 keyboard students while I go in between the guitar and ukulele groups, giving them different things to work on. Joanne is an amazing ukulele player and I can tell that she really loves it. She is patient and loving with the uke and with her fingers.
I gave her something challenging to work on. She is learning to play my sister’s song Fly and should be ready to play it for our singers on Friday at the concert.
Oh yea, did I mention there is a concert? Every night when the kids get out of preps at 9, a group of about 40-50 kids meet us in the library to rehearse the set for our concert. It was meant to be a cute little recital, but Auntie Deborah gave it so much hype, telling all the staff and half of the village about the “big concert” so we had to step it up.
For the opening, theyvwill all be singing Lean on Me with harmonies, our 4 guitar players, and Teddy on the keyboard. We then have some Ugandan songs that Adam has arranged, a few solos, Let It Go (yes, Frozen reached all the way over to Uganda. I love the irony when the kids sing “the cold never bothered me anyway”), some quick ukulele and guitar solos on songs like Twinkle Twinkle and You Are My Sunshine, and we close with We Are The World. This concert is going to be epic.
Adam and I have also been giving lessons to 3 different teachers. Dan (the math teacher) is learning keyboard and music theory, David (the English teacher) is learning Guitar, and Anita (the music teacher) is learning ukulele. David really hasn’t been practicing so I scared him today with the idea of him playing in the concert and not being as good as the student guitar players. He said, “ok, I’ll practice” and stayed an extra hour after his lesson to work on C, G, and D.
His version of Amazing Grace better be much improved by tomorrow.
Teaching music here has been a really rewarding experience. I’ve been soaking in the kids’ enthusiasm to learn and gratitude to play and it’s made me feel pretty lucky to have instruments at home that I can mess around on whenever I so choose. Music isn’t a chore, it’s a luxury. And these kids don’t take a single note for granted.