May 5, 2021

Music fills the corridors again

Joy in singing lesson
Joy in singing lesson

Kampala Music School was finally able to reopen on the 5th of January and this brought much joy. The staff were happy to be working at least some more of the time in the office. COVID-19 SOPs bring a different flavour to it all with some of the school not able to be used for lessons due to social distancing requirements.

“I cannot wait for us to reopen and start learning again. I have not been able to play on a real piano in this period”  Benjamin, one of the bursary students, had been quoted as saying.

About 100 students out of the 400 we had previously, have returned to learning with 70 of these on-site. Teachers are now able to do some ensemble work with their students, something almost impossible to do on the online forums. The pandemic still ongoing and it will be a little while before Kampala Music School will be fully functional as before.

Lessons now happen both online for those that can manage it and now on site. Capacity is still low and some students are still worried about coming on-site and don’t have the capability of studying remotely. However, those studying, are really enjoying the experience of live music-making again. Some of the ensembles have even started to meet again, in restricted numbers but great to make music together again.

For the administrative staff, "we had forgotten what it feels like to work, surrounded by the sounds of music. This is so much better, I feel like I'm working in a music school again."

COVID 19 had some unintended consequences like a sharp increase in travel costs by public means which has created a block for some of the bursary students, and with our restrictions in funding at the moment, we are not able to immediately assist.

Outreach schools are still not open and this is affecting the learning of our students out there as access to lessons is still problematic as we try and work to get solutions to this.

The future, though, for the first time in months, has a bit of a positive outlook about it, but we continue to pray and also thank you all for your support thus far and hope that you continue to walk this journey. More is needed to get back to teaching levels as before and to reach more students, and continue to develop talents, and change lives.

Front Desk Staff ready to receive visitors
Front Desk Staff ready to receive visitors
Handwashing at the gate
Handwashing at the gate
Immaculate sings in her class
Immaculate sings in her class
Feb 22, 2021

KMS Music Lessons resume

Babirye in Trombone lesson at KMS
Babirye in Trombone lesson at KMS

 In December last year, KMS was finally given the go-ahead to open again. It was a bit late to get things going at that time, but nonetheless, it meant that people could look forward to a new year, with some lessons resuming on site in January.

For many of the students, the time closed off meant that they could not study. In some cases, practising itself was difficult. The brass students, Ian, Babirye, struggled to stay on top of their game. No school often meant also no structure and as such it was hard for them to keep going.Nonetheless, they did make an effort, and not a small one.

"They are very dedicated students for sure, because they show great motivations and are always full of questions which they ask at any opportunity that they get”, their teacher Shafic said. In fact, two of them have done great work in this period, that we should be looking at pushing them up from Grade 2 to Grade 3" he added. Their lips may have been out of "shape" so to speak but their motivation clearly isn’t.

On the singing side of things, physical lessons have not quite been able to get started but safe ways of doing these are being explored. This challenge of not being able to for some was more of a problem than for most.  Immaculate for instance continued to work hard and progressed well enough to make the progression to begin working her way through the Grade 4 and 5 repertoire. She went through a patch where internet data and access to a workable phone were difficult, and this hindered the ability to keep up with lessons. “Her sight-singing continues to improve steadily” her teacher Francis said.

Beatrice continues to be a very enthusiastic student who works with minimal push and is now steadily working through Grade 6 and 7 repertoire, She has been working most recently to polish especially work on foreign language songs and Operatic arias. Seeing as she has completed her Grade five theory, she can now work towards higher Grades in the ABRSM Scheme.

All in all, Kampala Music School continues to open up and new talent is being brought to the fore. There some new prospects recently auditioned that the Writer has interviewed that are bright new prospects. As restrictions begin to ease, the school continues to wake up once again and to sing.

Ian in Trumpet lesson at KMS
Ian in Trumpet lesson at KMS
Beatrice in Zoom Singing lesson
Beatrice in Zoom Singing lesson
Jan 6, 2021

KMS COVID Lockdown Shutdown extended again

Sheila at her desk
Sheila at her desk

We had hoped that Kampala Music School would re-open in September due to the lifting of several of the restrictions, however this was not possible due to some challenges from local authorities Whilst the administrative staff were able to work in a somewhat limited capacity, pupils still could not attend lessons on site. Thus, lessons have continued online for the few who could, but a many people were unable to do this. However there has been an increase in online students such that we now had 20% of our regular student number being able to have lessons.

The funds raised have meant that hardware items could be purchased enabling us to provide online lessons on-site and meant that KMS could continue to run in a reduced fashion at about 50% of all costs for this period.

We are hoping to reopen at the beginning of January 2021, at the time of publishing this report and all Staff, teachers and clients are looking forward to it:

“I cannot wait for us to reopen and start learning again. I have not been able to play on a real piano in this period” said Benjamin, one of the bursary students. Teachers are also hoping that they will now be able to do some ensemble work with their students, something almost impossible to do on the online forums.

Whilst this opening will begin the process of starting to get back to normal, it is clear that with the pandemic still raging, and with Uganda going into an election season, it will be a little while before Kampala Music School will be fully functional as before.

The future, though, for the first time in months, has a bit of a positive outlook about it and we thank you for your ongoing support. 

Assumpta at her desk
Assumpta at her desk
 
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