The Keiskamma Music Academy (a program of Keiskamma Trust) was first established in 2006 with the goal of providing instrumental music education to rural children who continue to be denied this opportunity. The Academy teaches young people of Hamburg to play a musical instrument through weekly lessons in practical music, music theory, ensemble classes and orchestra provided by a professional music academy.
One outcome is therefore that young learners are equipped with the valuable knowledge that they are capable of achieving excellence in a complex art form that is not accessible to all. A second is that they acquire a professional skill that they would be able to apply to a future career in music or teaching thereof. But most importantly, the self-confidence and discipline that this experience instills in these young people will equip them to approach the demands of any future career with a far greater potential to achieve excellence and success; they will have learned that through hard work and commitment they are capable of achieving their full potential. This is a primary goal of the Academy and will be realized once our students enter the world of tertiary education and work.
Highlights of 2019
Two of our ex-students, Aviwe Nkani and Olwethu Solwandle, have been sponsored by the FirstRand Foundation to be employed as interns at the Keiskamma Music Academy from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020. They have been a huge asset to our work and have received invaluable training and support from the FirstRand team of financial experts, lawyers and HR specialists. There is also a budget of R13 000 per intern to implement training that we have identified would be useful to both the Academy and their future careers as music teachers.
The Keiskamma AMP Camp was also one of the greatest highlights of the year.
It was stated in our 2018 report that the Keiskamma Music Project was working on creating partnerships both nationally and in the area of the Eastern Cape. It had started to work more closely with the Access Music Project (AMP) based in Grahamstown/Makhanda. They offer a similar type of music tuition in their area for children that do not have access to such an opportunity. This partnership came fully into fruition through the 2019 Keiskamma AMP Camp.
On 5 to 7 April 2019, the Keiskamma Music Academy, in partnership with Access Music Project (AMP), a music education center established in 2011 serving children at the historically disadvantaged schools in Makhanda (Grahamstown), facilitated a wonderful music camp for the students of the two organizations.
The Outcomes and Impact of the camp were significant for all concerned.
a. Learner participants:
• New repertoire for the ensembles which becomes part of the individual ensembles’ performance sets and repertoire libraries. Repertoire was devised so that KMA and AMP can rehearse and perform the works on their own and as a combined orchestra, which we are planning to do in concert later in 2019. Most learners expressed that they felt a strong improvement in sight-reading, especially in reading rhythm.
• Some learners commented that they developed in producing a good sound on their instruments:
o learnt how to warm up properly;
o learnt to play faster;
o how to work with new people;
o improved in technique;
o learnt more about communication and working together;
o and gained the attitude of being a musician: i.e. to know that hard work is expected and one must be ready for anything.
Possibly the most exciting part of the entire camp experience was the relationships formed between the participants of the different institutions. Many learners were inspired by their section leaders and gained a great deal from their musical input and insights. AMP and KMA learners formed significant bonds and are excited for the next opportunity to meet and work more together.
b. Section leader volunteers:
All section leaders reported that they gained a lot from the camp musically, professionally and personally. The majority of section leader volunteers did not have any previous experience in this kind of role.
Here are a few of the comments they shared:
• “It taught me how to lead a group”;
• “I gained the ability to have a group of people that I’m standing in front of believe in me, i.e. listen to my teaching”;
• “Professionally, I met the most inspirational people to form my musical life”;
• “Personally I had to learn how to grow to know people on a more intimate level in a short space of time”;
• “I met wonderful people, learnt new music and have been inspired to grow myself musically by the collective spirit in the camp”.
Those with previous experience in this role also grew in their experience. They spoke of how the camp:
• “added energy to the ideas we need to develop in music education and in the Eastern Cape”;