The Music Project is inspired by El Sistema of Venezuela which has over 300,000 children playing in over 400 orchestras. The Music Project in Sri Lanka aims to build orchestral communities between the children of the north and south, thereby providing links, networks and a sense of social cohesion as the children and teachers progress through the project. At present the two projects are located in Kurunegala and Thunukkai, and work through after school clubs at 6 schools for children of grades 4, 5 and 6. We currently have 330 children on the program in Kurunegala and 175 children in Thunukkai learning the rudiments of music through the core instrument of recorder and then on to violin, melodica (as the foundation for brass and woodwind) and percussion.
The methodology is based on the mother tongue approach to language acquisition which endorses immersion, strong listening skills, and frequent practice, leading to fluency and mastery of the instrument through the Suzuki method. The children are encouraged to perform, giving them a strong sense of confidence, self-esteem and tremendous pride in their achievements. The programme largely uses western music for the range of orchestral instruments and repertoire. The programme is delivered in English and has an English lesson component to ensure access to repertoire and orchestral participation. English functions as the link language between the project of the north and south.
While the teachers and resource persons have visited the respective projects frequently, the children worked together for the first time in August 2012 at a residential workshop and an end of session concert.
Saluka Kotagama is a BA (Hons) Design (UK) graduate. After practicing as a Graphic Designer for many years in UK and Sri Lanka, she decided to share her knowledge and experience by moving into education. Saluka spent the first five years as a consultant/visiting lecturer for The University of Moratuwa's Fashion Design Course which was managed by The London College of Fashion UK and subsequently moved onto holding the position of Principal at The Academy of Design (AOD) Sri Lanka. Being in the management positions of education establishments gave her an invaluable experience of working with educators, co-ordination & development of academic affairs and teaching methodologies, organisation of events and workshops to international standard, developing international relations and special link projects.
Saluka left full time employment to be a "work at home mother". Since then she has been involved in freelance projects such as co-ordination of the children's program of The Galle Literary Festival Jan 2012, The Galle Children's Festival Oct 2012, special workshops at MILK Boutique store in Colombo, co-ordination of an international dance troupe "New Direction" 2013.
Saluka joined The Music Project in 2013 and now dedicates her time towards the co-ordination of projects and publicity for the organisation. Her main projects are The Unite programmes, Parallel Versing (an Initiative with Beyond Skin Ireland), Yamaha Project, and special link workshops. Her love for photography/ video is also evident as she captures most of the events, which can be seen on Facebook and Youtube.
Saluka strongly believes in the vision of the Music Project and passionately works towards uplifting the children's lives through music. She aspires to develop the creative sectors of Sri Lanka by providing higher education and career opportunities for the youth of Sri Lanka.
Lahiru Sankalpa Senarath : Senior Co-ordinator/Head of String section
Lahiru is a great believer in honest and ethical practice and believe that teamwork is the best and the quickest way to the success.
He holds a degree of Bachelor of Performing Arts – Music (special) (with first class honor) from the University of The Visual & Performing Arts - Western Music Department). Lahiru's main areas of study was Practical ( Main) –Violin, Practical (Sub)- Classical Guitar. Theory - Western music theory ( English medium). Comparative studies of Western music, Sri Lankan applied music and creative music. Comparative studies of Western music and Eastern music (North Indian and Indigenous music).
Lahiru has passed the Grade seven (7) practical Violin examination conducted by the Royal Collage, London. Passed the Grade five (5) music theory examinations with merit, conducted by the Royal Collage, London. Passed the Grade three (3) music theory in All Island graded examination with honours, conducted by Institute of Western Music & Speech (IWMS) Sri Lanka.
He passed "Madyama" (Diploma) examination in North Indian classical music Violin, conducted by Bathkhande Music Academy with division .Passed the "Madyama" (Diploma) examination in North Indian classical music violin conducted by Educational Department of Sri Lanka.
Lahiru won the third prize of All Island music competition conducted by Department of Education, Sri Lanka under the category of North Indian classical violin. He is currently following Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Grade 8 violin.
Lahiru is currently working as a Senior Co-ordinator / violin instructor in "The Music Project" and also working part-time as a violin instructor in "Trinity Music Academy" Colombo conducted by Keerthi Pasquel.
|Nuwan Udana : Head of Wind section
Nuwan is working as a music teacher for The Music Project. Teaching Music gives him the opportunity to help others develop and progress in their education or career. It also means that people from all over the world are able to communicate and share their thoughts with people from all over the world. At the same time it gives him the chance to learn about other countries and cultures through the students!
A Diploma holder of Fine Arts – Music Bell Wood Aesthetic Residence- Western Music Department (Instruments: Piano /Saxophone [Alto,Tenor ] / Flute / Trumpet ).passed the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Grade 5 theory of music.
Udana is currently following the Royal School of Music Grade 5 saxophone.
|Suranga Meddegoda : Head of Percussion section
Suranga is a drum instrctor working for The Music Project . He is a degree holder of Bachelor of Performing Arts – Music (special) from the University of The Visual & Performing Arts – the department of Applied Music and Mass Communication. Areas of study were Drums( main ), Computer Music and Recording Art and Audio Video Editing. Suranga passed the Grade 3 Practical Drums examination conducted by the Trinity College, London. Thabla Diploma ( bhathkande sangeeth vidya peeth). Suranga also teaches every Saturday at "Music Matters" Colombo.
|Buddhika Harshani Jayasinghe : Cello Teacher
An energetic, experienced and creative music teacher who has the capability to support aspiring young musicians. According to her experience she has the ability to get the best out of pupils, identifying the appropriate teaching resources, able to ensure that students use musical instruments efficiently, effectively and safely. Buddhika also supports and inspires her team members and maintains good work etiquette.
A degree holder of Bachelor of Performing Arts – Music (special) from the University of Visual & Performing Arts - Western Music Department (Instruments: Piano /Violin/ Cell). Buddhika has passed the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Grade 4 and Grade 5 theory of music.
She is currently following Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Grade 6 piano and theory Examination under Professor Halpe. She is currently working part time for 'The Music Project' as a cello teacher.
|Kasun Asanka Jayasinghe : String Teacher
An Enthusiastic and committed teacher with natural ability to appreciate and inspire children. Effectively deals with students with learning differences,, remarkably interpreted a variety of instructions furnished in music, oral and practical. Dedicated and promising to satisfy educational needs and well-being of the students.
He is currently following Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Grade 5 violin and theory Examination. Presently he is working for 'The Music Project' as a violin teacher.
Kasun has passed "Madyama" (Diploma) examination in North Indian classical music Violin, conducted by Bathkhande Music Academy with 1st division, Awarded all Island 1st place of orchestra in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 & 2012. Awarded all Island 1st place in drama team as member of orchestra violin in 2008 & 2010.
He also followed a sound engineering course conducted by SLBC.
|Lakshitha Sehan Madshanka : Co-ordinator for Kurunegala/Guitar & Recorder teacher
Lakshitha studied at Pothubowa Maha Vidyalaya, Kurunegala. He was Head prefect at the time that The Music Project started their relationship with Pothubowa MV. Lakshitha has great leadership qualities and interacts well with the students achieving positive outcomes. Lakshitha first joined The Music Project as a volunteer in 2010 and since then has been employed full time. He presently is the Kurunegala Co-orrdinator and the Recorder and Guitar teacher.