International Arts & Culture
This is a four-dimensional project which is made up of the following components:
*This project has been ear-marked for social franchise development.
Teaching music in schools is a costly exercise. Teachers need to be qualified (reading music), instruments are expensive and a number of instruments require one-on-one tuition. It can take years for budding musicians to become fairly accomplished. This in itself excludes many children, especially in the rural areas. Yet music remains inextricably linked to culture and should form part of a child’s holistic education. As such, Education Africa has embarked on the establishment of Marimba Hubs. The Marimba is a uniquely African instrument that can be incorporated into curriculae with relative ease.
The marimba is the instrument of choice as Education Africa’s music specialist has developed a unique teaching methodology that requires no prior knowledge of music, allowing all children and teachers to learn a piece of marimba music in three parts within 40 minutes. For trainers that do not read music, memory joggers are developed – this is graphic notation for music illiterate persons. The use of dummy keyboards allows for trainers to reach far more children than just the number which is dictated by the number of marimbas available. A class of 30 children can be taught a piece simultaneously. In addition to this, the marimba is a robust, low maintenance, portable instrument that does not need electricity to operate!
The establishment of Marimba Hubs creates job opportunities as a number of potential marimba facilitators are trained in each hub of which several will be chosen to train learners from the surrounding community in the art of playing marimbas. Our National project co-ordinator, Joan Lithgow and her capable team, identify and visit target communities, conduct teacher workshops, obtain sponsorship for the provision of instruments and equipment, and undertake regular follow-up visits to these communities to ensure that the objectives for the project are met.
We have Marimba Hubs in the following areas:
- Alexandra (x3)
- Bertrams (x1)
- De Aar (x1)
- Etwatwa (x1)
- Hammanskraal (x3)
- Lenasia (x2)
- Orange Farm (x1)
- Reiger Park (x1)
- Soweto (x2)
- Vrededorp (x1)
Marimba playing is a wonderful activity that everyone can take part in. Not only is it socially acceptable for boys and girls alike, it also offers emotional, physical, intellectual as well as musical satisfaction. Marimba playing involves players in the very real activity of tapping into their creative potential and as a result increases their self-esteem, whilst stimulating the synapses to link the left and right brain, allowing both hemispheres to be stimulated through one activity.
Research has revealed that one of the biggest challenges educational systems are facing, is keeping school children occupied after school hours and off the streets. Due to a lack of resources and a low morale amongst the children we find a high prevalence of teenage pregnancy, HIV Aids, drug abuse, crime, underage drinking etc. Depending on the area, one Marimba Hub can impact on 100 – 200 high school and primary school children. Marimbas create social cohesion through Cultural development and preservation of traditional music and through holistic benefits in all aspects of education and life skills. Physically and mentally challenged individuals are not excluded, they can play marimbas and be part of a marimba band. Learners who do not have dexterity in their fingers for whatever reason often find it difficult, if not impossible, to play a melodic musical instrument. The marimba offers these learners the opportunity to play a melodic instrument.
There are many other direct educational benefits to marimba playing:
- Concentration and listening skills are greatly enhanced;
- Because of the recommended technique of playing marimbas where hands are alternated all the time, both sides of the brain are being exercised equally and crossing of the midline becomes second nature.
- The science of sound production can be demonstrated and studied through the marimba.
- Through singing and spelling games on the marimba, language skills and spelling is improved.
- Fine- and gross-motor coordination are constantly being worked on when the learners are playing marimbas.