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Volunteering in white river
Submitted by Nika - Luzern Switzerland | April 10, 2018
CMDA – a real benefit for South Africa's youth
As a teacher and musician I'm very concerned the young generation and how to motivate them to find a purpose in their life.
For two weeks I had the opportunity to volunteer at the CMDA in White River, a non-profit Music Academy that helps children and young adults to develop their musical talents in order to be able to perform in shows, earn some money with it and maybe even get a start as professional musicians. But the benefit of the music programs offered is big since it affects the young people's whole environment and their life perspectives. For playing music and being part of a band a lot of skills such as persistency, patience, empathy, team work and reliability are asked for and fostered, all of them essential in order to be successful in life.
Casterbridge Music Development Academy (CMDA)
The CMDA is located in White River where students aged 18 – 30 are enrolled in a full-time music development program. All the courseware is hosted on an e-learning platform called “2enable”. Therefore the students are mostly working independently on computers that are provided by the CMDA in the mornings.
As a volunteer I was able to help students working on the music theory, mentoring them and also mark their portfolio work.
In the afternoons the students are formed in bands where they rehearse songs that are somehow connected to Africa but also work on their own musical ideas and create their own songs.
It's amazing what good musicians these students already! It was a huge pleasure to attend their band rehearsals, bring in my experience as a musician and some ideas how to improve their songs or their performing.
During my stay there were two shows they held and it was just fantastic!
Marimba classes in township communities
The most impressive projects in my opinion are the Marimba classes based in Mashishing, Masoyi and Zwelisha, three townships around White River. Offered as an after-school program kids learn to play the Marimba and play traditional African songs.
Leader and manager of the band is Dan Kusaya who is also bandleader/songwriter and manager of the Minanzi Mbira Band, a cool mix between modern drum'n'bass and traditional African music. Dan is highly respected among the youngsters since for them he is not only a teacher but also a friend and role model they can look up to. He doesn't get paid to work with the kids due to the limited budget of the CMDA. Nevertheless, he does all this work because he believes in the potential of those kids and that music can make a difference in their lives.
Once they are good enough they have the opportunity to play in the Marimba band. These youngsters are playing so well that it is a huge pleasure not only to listen to the band but also to watch them dancing and singing while playing the Marimba.
I was there three times and also had the opportunity to accompany them to a gig which was amazing!
Get the bands playing!
What I’ve learnt out of this is that being part of a band and playing concerts is the essential thing in their hard and difficult lives, giving them not only a meaningful purpose but joy, hope and even a little bit of money. That’s why I’m doing here also some propaganda in their behalf.
Maybe you have connections to South Africa or to people who organize music festivals. Giving the bands opportunities to play their wonderful music can really make a difference.
It's the great small things that help to make our world a better place – so get the bands playing!
Get in !
Program: Music Education in South Africa
Submitted by Bryanna - - | November 16, 2017
PAA is a great program. Everyone was helpful and answered all of my questions. My program was fantastic as I was able to explore the city and learn a bit of Catalan. While the internship was exactly what I wanted, it was an experience.
Submitted by AbiNelson - - | November 06, 2017
Can't believe the experience I have had. My work at Sinamune was completely tailored to me and I got my first taste of what it was like doing what I wanted to do after graduating. Thanks to my internship I landed a job back in the UK which followed on perfectly.
Program: Music Internship in Ecuador
Submitted by Becky - Royal Holloway, University of London | October 10, 2017
I enjoyed living with my host family - they fed me well and took care of me when I fell sic especially!
It was eye opening to help out (in Spanish - I learnt from scratch here in Costa Rica!) in the music school where it was 5 different instruments to 1 teacher at times! I played in a concert, ran a few mini masterclasses and learnt how the music school did their day to day logistics.
Program: Music Volunteering in Costa Rica
Immersive Spanish experience!
Submitted by Anna Joy - Grand Valley State University | September 12, 2017
I am so thankful the opportunity I had and the scholarship I received to do this program through Performing Arts Abroad. The experience stretched me in many ways and teaching music in Spanish presented a whole new challenge for me. Though not everything turned out exactly as I expected (less volunteering than I originally thought), I enjoyed each of my 16 days in Costa Rica and I was given an extra week of Spanish classes at no extra cost! My weekend excursions made me want to come back to this beautiful country to see more of what it has to offer and I already miss my host mother's cooking... Pura Vida!
Program: Music Volunteering in Costa Rica