by Sebenzile Langa (previously known as Nkosi)
As hard as it is, it is so worth it. My marimba band performed at this year’s Sasol Bird Fair 2014 and they have been performing at the festival since 2011. Every year they get better. The hardest part is starting a new band every year as pupils leave to go to high school. Teaching music comes with its joys but it is also hard because students grow so fast and so do parents, and as much as things change, they also stay the same.
It is proven that music makes one smarter. One then wonders why when the pass rate of our country is 30%, a small number of children are picking up instruments and many of them in the sports field?
Our education department has grown a lot, adding arts and culture in its curriculum. However many of these children are being taught by people who have no training in the field. It is criminal really. The grade 7 textbooks is really the best book in arts so far, however I wonder how those teachers are coping in teaching activities that require marimbas. In the suburb I teach in, in the south of Johannesburg, we are the only school with marimbas. Most schools have recorders. There are not many teachers trained or that can even play instruments, while many trained musicians go without jobs hoping for get employment from the army or police bands.
Playing in orchestras is not cheap, you have to pay a fee, just for the experience.
Two of my students made it into the National School of Arts (NAC). As happy an occasion as it is, this means I now have 6 pupils that have made it through. I pray for their future.
25 June is instrument demonstration at Mondeor Primary School. I hope more children pick up an instrument and stay off the streets.
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