Supporting 20 talented students to study music

by Kampala Music School
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Supporting 20 talented students to study music
Atim practicing piano at home
Atim practicing piano at home

Greetings from Kampala Music School. With Schools continuing to be closed and some restrictions on movement still on, most students have been unable to continue with lessons. This has been disconcerting for some as the earliest we look like we will be open is in January next year, when the Ugandan population will have reached the vaccination thresholds as set by the government.

However, a select few on this programme have been able to carry on with lessons virtually. These talented students have been going places which has been great for them and their progress, and in some cases as we see below, they have been really encouraging.

Atim (16),a new student on the bursary programme, started lessons in September. She is currently working towards the ABRSM Performance Grade 4 and hopes to be ready by December 2021 and likewise her ABRSM Grade 3 theory exams by early next year. Four pieces are required for this unique exam. One piece is almost in the bag, and she will soon start on the second one.Theory lessons are also going well, with three topics so far covered. The target is to sit this exam in 2022.

Her Teacher, Mr. Kawere, is sure that they can achieve these set targets because she is highly self-motivated and eager to learn new material.

Akena (15) had initially set out to do the ABRSM Performance Grade 2 in December 2021 but has progressed so quickly, much to his teacher's surprise. He managed to learn all four pieces set out in just six lessons playing them to such a high degree, with superb musicality and excellent technique. As a result, his teacher Mr Kawere decided to push on to Grade 3, and he has already taken a massive step towards his first of four pieces. Just like Atim, he is also working towards the Grade 2 ABRSM theory examination.

Irene (20) Is a high Soprano pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Music at Makerere University. This term finds her working on improving sight-singing and intonation, which seem to be the main challenges. There has been significant improvement in this area. She is currently working on Grade 5 songs and various performance techniques. "She is a very hard working and determined person, and I believe we are on the right track", says her teacher, Mr. Francis D Mutesasira.

Unlike many other students on the bursary programme, Irene has been able to attend lessons online. "My voice lessons have been quite the experience. I also prepare for them like I would for an actual physical class. I even mind how I will look on the camera. I even had to inform my family members about my time of class, and they respected it. At the start, I was a little concerned, wondering if I'd be able to learn and understand the songs, keys, warm-ups, but amazingly, I've progressed just fine though I think I prefer physical classes".

Then there was the challenge of the internet sometimes. I had to mark my spot where I could have my lessons uninterrupted.

Overall, I've successfully had my lessons, and I've improved a lot in my singing. I'm happy that KMS was able to support online classes because I would not have learnt what I know now."

Amelia's guitar classes have been going on well. The brief let up, and physical opening up after the first lockdown allowed the teacher and student to meet to cover some areas they could not do over Zoom.

Amelia is a diligent and self-motivated student and has a very high attendance record. Her biggest struggle is thoroughly understanding music theory. The internet infrastructure, however, continues o be a challenge and makes learning difficult.

Other than that, all is well and previously in lockdown at times, and the network instability was our main challenge.

KMS is hoping that some of the students will be able to resume classes in a few weeks, but there is no clear indication of this given the diversity of the student population. Another report soon will follow on some of the other students on the programme

We thank you for the continued support of the talented student programme. We hope that in this time you can support the school in continuing to do its work also as we start to look towards the New Year when we expect that schools shall reopen and we can return to total productivity.

Amelia having a guitar lesson
Amelia having a guitar lesson
Akena having a piano lesson via Zoom
Akena having a piano lesson via Zoom
Irene having a Zoom lesson
Irene having a Zoom lesson
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Aspiration and Hope

The past few months have been uplifting for our students as school had opened up and in person learning was taking off. Teachers were reunited with their students and were getting going again. Many students were beginning to prepare for their ABRSM exams with great gusto.

It’s been a great term for the students and teachers. Mr. Mutesasira, the Head of the Voice department has this to say about some of his students. "Joy is always eager to learn new material and take risks. She is always Jolly and approachable, very open-minded personality. Because of her zeal to learn, we have tried to cover as much on line, however the lack of real time accompaniment for a singer, has greatly affected her interpretation of music."

“Immaculate has had the passion for what she does and works well. Immaculate is laid back but at the same time outgoing if u get to know her, u have to be on her case in order to know what’s going on. However, her diligence makes her an exciting person to work with. "

Sadly, just last week on the 18th of June 2021, The Government of Uganda ordered a lockdown so sadly we have returned to lockdown For many of our students, that means they will not be able to have lessons yet again, for a minimum of 42 days. Do watch our video  https://youtu.be/tt---ZI1Z3o to get to hear from some of our students directly, and do click on this link to donate to KMS to support our students.

Links:

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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
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Phiona practicing her violin playing
Phiona practicing her violin playing

The past few months have been a challenge for our students in coping with life in general and also with their learning. The Lockdown which had meant that people were not able to move, has eased, however, each student has had different experiences. As we move towards opening up, there are a few reflections from those concerned.

All in all, the students are looking forward to the time when we would be able to meet again, which is hopefully soon, but is dependent largely on the government organs.

Babirye noted the challenges she has faced being a musician, for her, not being able to have lessons, personal training and is worried that everything she had learnt before lockdown, she would forget.

Due to the pandemic, the situation has not been easy on her side whereby “I and my family had to struggle hard for a better living. As a music student it has really affected my goals, my plans and expectations in music now are a bit behind and as a person she has not been doing personal practice due to the situation.”

“There's a time when I lost faith in Music, I thought we won't study music again. I couldn't get access to online lessons because of some issues of our phones, which locked us out.”

She was not alone in this struggle, as most students on this programme had neither smartphones, nor computer, nor reliable enough internet to be able to get this forward.

“During the lessons, I was gaining a lot. Right now, all schools are closed so this was sad for me. I feel like when we reopen, we should add some days of the lessons like two to three days in a week and also we need a flashback in the things we were taught to bring back our memories in music but not to just start from where we stopped.”

Phiona also felt the slowdown in acquiring new skills. “I am in lack of new skills due to inability to have lessons, I haven't been able to have my interesting music lessons for a long period and the chance I had to have group practice sessions were put at stake, and physical interaction with fellow musicians was blocked due to social distance and lockdown.”

She resorted to keeping her passion going and moving forward, that she would do some personal research on YouTube.

“The time I was able to have my lessons before COVID-19 my expectations were indeed met and gained a lot and was in a gradual journey of achieving a successful professionalism musically”

The hope for all the students would be the eventual reopening with of with Kampala Music School with Sops guidelines so that they can resume enjoying our lessons plus acquiring new skills.

We look forward to also in the future providing a basis for which students such as those included in this report can also have

 

Ian in Trumpet lesson
Ian in Trumpet lesson
Babirye in Trombone lesson
Babirye in Trombone lesson
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John Paul Practicing in his home
John Paul Practicing in his home

GLOBAL GIVING REPORT JUNE 2020

The teaching and learning at KMS has been severely affected by the outbreak of COVID -19 around the world. in Uganda, the first case was recorded in March 2020, and the guidelines issued by both the President of Uganda and Government have made it difficult to continue in our usual way. One of the directives given has been that schools be closed from 20th March, 2020 to date among others, this has affected Kampala Music School in various ways.

For the students that were working towards Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Practical exams that were due to happen in May-June 2020, were postponed to a later date. We are still in discussions with the ABRSM main office who are to communicate soon on a way forward.

St. Mary Kevin

There are 26 students at St. Mary Kevin who have been studying in groups, but with the closure of schools, they have not been able to meet. These students do not have access to any smart technology in their homes and teaching group lessons via online means is logistically complicated and as such not practical. These students like others have had to put all learning on hold, not just music but general education, which is sad, and we hope that these will be able to pick up in time.

Similarly affected are Babirye, Trombone, Aligo, trumpet – and Kiconco, Eb tuba have similarly had to halt lessons again as they have not been able to access learning points, even though their teacher, has been teaching other students. The way forward is not obvious partially because of the lockdown but also as the scope of the programme does not cover proving computing hardware and internet connectivity.

 Some students have however since the last report been able to report some progress; details now follow on this.

John Paul (Guitar)

John Paul remains very thankful for the support he is being given by the programme and he is progressing tremendously. His teacher, Gerson travelled to the USA to complete his higher education in Music and was due to be back in March but due to travel restrictions has been unable to travel back. He had however left Paul with some assignments with respect to ABRSM Grade 7 exams and all the basic work on learning pieces have been completed, and other exam requirements too including scales and arpeggios are in good shape. He will like the rest have to wait on the news dates for the exams.

Phiona (Violin)

Phiona is among the new students on the programme. Phiona’s musical journey started when she picked up knowledge in piano playing and music theory back in school. Her passion was born and she became keen to learn even more and she would like to achieve musical success in Violin playing. She has been longing for a scholarship in Violin playing because she hasn’t been able to afford it financially. Phiona has a deep passion for teaching and is hoping to achieve professional skills of playing the Violin such that she is also able to pass on the knowledge to other people. “Since I was very young, I loved music and used to participate in the school choir, playing local instruments like drums, shakers and xylophone. It was always easy for me to learn new skills instructed and that made me realize that I am musically talented and take on music as a lifetime liability for a better living.” Says Phiona

Her Teacher had the following to say;

 So far, she is developing a good tone/playing technique and can play smooth and joined up notes(legato) with improved musical phrasing. However, she still has challenges with other playing techniques and bow strokes the staccato as she is developing wrist bowing.

She is working towards ABRSM Grade 2 Violin exams. Her Aural awareness skills have widely developed, as has her sight-reading pieces in different keys that are within Grade 1 and 2 syllabus range. Intonation and finger fluency are still a challenge in the 2 Octave scales especially (B flat) major scale and A major.

General progress was slowed and affected by the pandemic that caused a hold on lessons, better supervision and practice. There is a possibility of having online lessons but there is a challenge with network connections being bad and proper equipment/gadget to have the lessons.

So, all in all, we are hoping that the future can be brighter and hoping that all our students can be safe in this period and to our donors too.

Phiona violin lesson before Lockdown
Phiona violin lesson before Lockdown
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Organization Information

Kampala Music School

Location: Kampala - Uganda
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KampalaMusicScl
Project Leader:
Julia Downing
Prof
Kampala, Uganda
$12,944 raised of $20,000 goal
 
111 donations
$7,056 to go
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