Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Teacher Thilini

This month we’ve been lucky to have Thilini Kaushalya start with us! Thilini is a graduate of the University of Rajarata in Environmental Management. Alongside her studies, she’s an active Eastern Musician (violin), and has an extensive knowledge of Western Music through involvement in orchestras whilst at school.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Violin Stars!

The 6 weeks of violin training have flown by in a flash. The children have responded to the challenge with pride and enthusiasm and are making us proud every day. The challenge of teaching in a large group setting has been addressed by using the children as instructors- training them to observe and help each other when the violins get too heavy, or when they just can’t get the bow hold right. As the children are physically very small, we have focussed on making sure their posture was right and that they are comfortable when playing. The bowing arm was developed before the violin was introduced, and the kids took to putting rhythms on both the pretend and real violin quickly. They all know the string names and all the different parts of the violin! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saying goodbye to Jeni

This month has been busy and rewarding for all of us, but particularly for Jeni Stokes, who volunteered with us for 6 weeks to launch the strings programme. She was kept busy- regularly tuning violins, performing, teaching and coaching our strings instructors, getting to know the kids, the teachers, the neighbours and Colombo musicians (and much more). Her help was intrinsic to the enthusiasm the kids have for the violin! She will be greatly missed, and there were so many tears at the schools on her last day, including a very emotional 'goodbye teacher Jeni' song at Pothubowa.

On the 11th March, 8 of our 11 teachers came down to Kurunegala. This was a big moment for us: it was the first time many of the teachers had been outside of the North of Sri Lanka, and definitely everyone’s first visit to Kurunegala. More importantly, however, it gave the Northern Teachers the opportunity to observe a session in one of the Southern Schools. Gunananda MV was the lucky host, and the teachers were more than happy to get stuck in with the kids. (PIC) We were also able to continue their strings training with Jeni, consolidating training from January and moving on to different techniques and repertoire.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The North

Our northern initiative has been at a slower pace on account of restricted access. The Zonal Education Office of the north is very keen and when we do attend our efforts are endorsed with much enthusiasm leading to the impromptu seminar from time to time and school Principals recounting that our methodology is discussed at staff meetings. We have been assigned 3 schools and are privileged to be well supported by competent eastern violin teachers. Mallavi is the largest and best equipped school as the Zonal Education Office is located within proximity.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recorders all the way

This month we were able to start putting the songs we have learnt onto our first instrument, the recorder. We started with a wooden imitation recorder, giving each note of the scale a colour, learning first how to place our fingers. We even coloured our fingernails with the corresponding colours to aid the learning process! spent time on breathing exercises which meant we were able to save time (and hearing hearing loss!) when we started the real thing. After two sessions, the kids were eager to start. The challenge of playing an instrument in completely different to singing in a group.

This month our first violin teacher Harshan started with the programme. A recent graduate of the first batch of Western Musicians on the P.A. (Performing Arts) degree from the University of Colombo, Harshan has proven a hit with the boys and girls alike. Harshan has been taught by Mr. Ananda Dabare, Neluka Senevarathna, Diane Fernando and Lakshman de Saram. Violin instruction will begin in stages from February 2011.

Monday, November 15, 2010

End of Year Concerts

We marked the end of over two months teaching with an end-of-year concert in each school. The children rose to the occasion, performing wonderfully! Shalini has taken footage of our Pothubowa concert which will be available to view on the website shortly. We performed the songs we have learnt in the past 2 months, and were able to sing Are You Sleeping (Frere Jacques) in canon, both in tune and rhythmically accurate (for the most part!).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

November Carnival!

On the 6th November, we held our much anticipated soft launch event, the Musicares Carnival at Lakdas School, Kurunegala! For the first time, teachers, parents, family and the children were able to see the scale of our project, and the breadth of the change we wish to make. We took the opportunity to show parents and family what we had learnt in such a short space of time, and by inviting Satish Casie Chetty and Naveen Fernando from the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka to play alongside me, we were able to give a small glimpse of what the future might hold for these kids.

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Scottish Charity (Sc041632)

NGO registration no. FL 144304

Our Testimonials
Volunteering with the Music Project in Kurunegala has been a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience. During my time with the Project I have taught English in the mornings at a local school called Lakdasa College.

Then in the afternoons I travelled to several different schools with the Music Project itself to teach English, trumpet and recorder. The children are all very eager to learn which makes them a pleasure to teach.

Sandy McCleery

Contact us

The Music Project is always looking for more volunteers and donors. If you are interested in what we do and would like to play a part in the future of Sri Lanka, please contact us!

Tel: (+94) 777 396 742
Tel: (+94) 777 397 403


UK contact: Claudia Trainer