Uganda is not the biggest country on the continent of Africa, but still it covers a fairly large area of the East part of the continent. Our music school and consultancy is based in Kampala, the capital, which is in the central region of the country, conveniently located on the shores of Lake Victoria and near Entebbe International airport.
Over the years, we have done much work in the Eastern region of the country, close to the Kenyan border near Mount Elgon. At the moment, this part of the country is not developing as fast as the Western part due to tribal issues and the tribes from the West dominating in politics, further leasing to the marginalization of Eastern tribes.
Our consultancy work has also spread to the norther parts of the country, which has suffered under military occupation and been much affected by the instability on the other side of the border in Sudan. We are pleased that our schools books and teacher training materials have brought some joy to this region whilst improving educational standards.
Below you can find the map of Uganda that shows the different regions that we work in.
And it’s end of school year exam time in Uganda where the school year runs from January to November 😊
As with any skill and with anything new that one is learning, practice is essential when learning to play a musical instrument. Along the years, we have come across students who were taking instrumental lesson, but they didn’t have a musical instrument at home. As you can imagine, progress was very minimal – if you only do a 30 minute class per week on an instrument and no practice in between, you can only expect to learn the basics. Likewise, those students who don’t practice regularly, do not achieve their full potential.
On a positive note, lately we have seen tremendous progress in some of our students who have who previous did very minimal practice and nowadays are practicing 2-3 times per week. The difference is remarkable and really goes to show that whatever little practice you can put in, it will definitely pay off! Even with the excuse of being busy, it is easy to fit in a 10 minute practice here and there – it should relax you anyway and help you feel better!
‘Why are you so rude?’
We have been rehearsing and playing a lot of Russian music lately in lessons. The music is suitably moody and emotive to many of our current students – they seem to enjoy the somewhat dissonant sounds at times and the fun rhythmic patterns!
There are so many great composers who have come from Russia. Often we just hear about the greatest of the great – yet this Russian music series has broadened our horizons on the variety that Russian music presents.
Check out ‘Russian Music for Piano’ by Chester Music and enjoy some beautiful tunes!
As part of our current research project, we have been learning about the National Curriculum in Uganda. It is different to the model that we follow in Europe. It is based on a Curriculum Wheel that consists of eight Learning Areas. The Areas cover subject knowledge, but also general skills such as creative thinking and workplace behaviour.
Being a prominently Christian country, Religious education features in all primary and secondary schools. In addition to the usual subjects of language, science, mathematics, social science and physical education with creative arts, something called Life Education forms a part of the curriculum. This section focuses on life skills such as living healthily in the community and taking care of one’s personal health.
Interestingly for us since we are specifically looking at music education in Uganda, music has been classed under Physical Education. What this entails is something that we are currently finding out and conducting a survey on current practices taking place – we will be sharing the interesting findings soon! In the meantime, you can learn more about the National Curriculum on the website of the National Curriculum Development Centre:
New term at our school in Uganda has got off to a good start. Children at the Mother Ann nursery school and music students at the Buna School of Music have been busy with their new lessons and curriculum for the autumn term, which is also their last term of the year since, in Uganda, the school year runs from January to November.
This week we have been spending time on researching music in Uganda. Like other African countries, Uganda has a rich history in music. It has been particularly interesting to learn about different styles of music from different regions of Uganda – how the local languages, dances,tribal practices and singing styles have influences the current musical culture in Uganda.
For those of you who know more about academics and researchers in music, you might find it interesting to know that Peter Cooke collected vast amounts of recordings in Uganda back in the day! These can all still be found at the British Library.
For more in-depth reading and knowledge on this, we recommended the two books that you can see in the images below – they are very comprehensive and very interesting reading indeed!
We are pleased to say that we have been awarded a scholarship to carry out an investigative study on the music education system in Uganda, East Africa. The scholarship was awarded by the Society for Education and Music Psychology Research (SEMPRE).
The research study will investigate current practice in music education across Uganda in order to identify challenges and potential ways forward in the field. The study will consist of data collection with local music education professionals in four regions of the country in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issue.
We delighted to be starting work on this important topic and we’ll be reporting any findings here on due course.
One of the things that I love about my job is that students introduce songs to me that I might not have otherwise paid much attention to, even if I had heard them on the radio. One such song is ‘Passionfruit’ by Drake. We worked on a piano cover for the song with a teenage student yesterday. What beautiful melody and catchy rhythm!
The Theorist on youtube has an excellent piano tutorial. There is also an option of downloading the sheet music – the link is below for you to enjoy!