Our research project on music education in Uganda progressed well over the last term and we are now getting head on with the second term of the project. It has been interesting to talk to different education professionals; in particular teacher trainers who have been working for local primary school teacher training colleges for a number of years. We have also enjoyed hearing anecdotal stories from locals on how they learnt their musical skills when growing up; ranging from hitting rhythms on a pan with a wooden spoon while being conducted by one’s grandfather to singing worship songs at church.
Thus far, one of the most significant findings seems to be that unemployment among youth is very high, yet the youth could easily gain employment as musicians in cultural events and functions given the rich musical culture of the country. Music is played in all types of events, such as graduation, weddings, church events, local government events just to name a few. The dilemma is that the young are not trained sufficiently in music and so are not able to seek employment in the music sector. This indicates that implementing appropriate music training in school could help the young to find employment as musicians and, therefore, assist in breaking the cycle of unemployment.
The findings indicate that music education is not just novelty but could actually help tackle unemployment in Uganda. And this is the direction that our project will take in the coming months and help to shape the state of music education in Uganda.