Road Trip January 2020
Training Trip January 2020/Music School Kigali
This two-week training trip was dedicated to the second Teachers’ Training sequence of our eight current music teachers at the Music School in Kigali. Our team, consisting of Isa Halme (violin), Tamás Tarjányi (vocals), Lara Bevilacqua (vocals), Dominik Brühwiler (piano), Simon Vander Plaetse (guitar), Krisztina Tarjányi (sostenuto) and Letizia Walser (team leader, music theory and pedagogy) was very excited to see how this second part of the Teachers’ Training will be run.
Our Music School in Kigali
The Music School in Kigali opened its doors just ten months ago and has now grown up to over 350 students! The teachers have as well started to teach outside the premises of the Music School. They regularly teach in parishes and schools in the surrounding districts. This gives them the chance to reach more children and young people for whom the otherwise long journey to music school would not be possible. We are very happy about this development.
New teachers have also joined the team. With Emmanuel Nsengimana (piano) and Fabrice Umuhoza (guitar) we were able to win two more motivated musicians! We are as well very pleased that Esther Niyifasha will start teaching the traditional Rwandan instrument Inanga at the Music School in February 2020!
For Music Road Rwanda it is as well a matter of concern to promote local music culture and tradition.
The Training Program
The morning program consisted of three parts.
In the first part, called Sostenuto, we sang and prayed together and we exchanged questions and discussed about a topic-related to the principles of the music school. Krisztina Tarjányi guided us through this encouraging start to the day which was very much appreciated.
In a second part, each teacher received again individual lessons on his instrument. We are very happy to have found with Simon Vander Plaetse a coach for our local guitar teachers. In general, it is very important for us that every teacher can grow as well in his technical and artistic skills and thus can "stay on the ball".
In a third part, our team leader Letizia Walser teaches the teachers as a group on the basics of music teaching. In the current part of the training, the focus was on “Instrumental and vocal lessons for beginners”. In these interesting and entertaining lessons Letizia Walser introduced the teachers to various didactic and pedagogical topics. For this purpose she also used video excerpts from lessons that the local teachers had given themselves at the school to illustrate topics, challenges and questions. The teachers were constantly challenged to independently develop the topic-related questions and basics as a whole group or in small groups and to pass them on to others.
The Lunch Together
After this morning training program we had lunch together again this time. This was a welcome opportunity to cultivate community, exchange personal thoughts, laugh together and end the morning training.
Visiting Teachers’ Classes
In the afternoon the European team visited the local teachers in their lessons. Some of these took place at new teaching locations which we were able to get to know. During these class visits the respective team members also actively participated in the class and gave feedback on how to optimize their work. We were pleased to see how the know-how that we imparted to the teachers in the first training sequence in summer 2019 is successfully implemented by them in their lessons.
Street Children Project CPAJ
Music Road Rwanda has also been cooperating with the street children project of the Center Presbytérien d’Amour des Jeunes (CPAJ) in Kgali since summer 2019. The aim of the project is to get children off the street and reintegrate them through school or vocational training.
Our local vocal teacher Nicole Irakoze teaches 50 children a week in the Center Presbytérien d’Amour des Jeunes: singing together with her has become one of the most popular activities for these children.
Certainly an unforgettable experience was our participation in the first Creative Church of the Presbyterian Church in Kiyovu / Kigali, which lasted four and a half hours! This was a church service with many performances by local choirs and musicians from Kigali and the surrounding area. We as music school were part of it. Teachers, students and team members performed together in various formations. At the same time it was a wonderful opportunity to present our music school to a large audience.
The Final Concert
At the end of this training period we organized a final concert in which the local teachers and the European team played together. It is encouraging to see and hear that every teacher has also become much more matured and confident artistically on his instrument. The highlight of the concert was for sure dancing together to traditional music of inanga and drums, which Esther Niyifasha and a friend did for the best!
At the very end of this second part of the training we were able to present each of the teachers with a certificate of successful participation. We are very happy about the commitment from each of our teachers!
Finally, we would like to let some teachers have their say:
«I didn't know that I am a real musician. Music Road Rwanda gave me the chance to realize it. Now I am so happy. It was like opening a door and seeing myself!» Nicole, vocal teacher
«Learning how to teach music was learning a lot about myself. It was a kind of revelation. Now I know what I want and how I can reach it. Thank you!» Olivier, guitar teacher
«In your Teachers’ Training I learned what creativity is and now I am realy excited to start teaching!» Fabrice, guitar teacher
We look back gratefully on a fulfilled and successful training trip! This second trai-ning program has allowed that the roots of our relationships has grown deeper and strengthened our engagement in Kigali.
In the meantime the local teachers are regularly taught on their instruments by the European team via Skype lessons. So we can hope that they will soon be able to pass the internationally recognized ABRSM Music Exams on their instruments.
A third training trip is planned for summer 2020. We notice how important a corresponding impulse from our European teachers will be in the current phase.