Saturday, May 28, 2011

Value of the Arts from a personal account

I just heard the saddest thing. On our way to Umoja Ensemble today, we saw one of the boys at home and figured he must just be sick or have to help out with family duties. We asked the other kids in the ensemble what was wrong with Yusto. It turns out his father is prohibiting him to do Umoja Ensemble because he was sent to that school to be someone, “not a f%^&’in musician!” This saddens me so greatly because little does that father realize how important music can be into developing somebody into someone. This is the kid that shows us every week what step or drum pattern he has practiced (Dad, this was the one that was obsessed with your iPhone). I want our Tanzanian teacher to go talk to his parents, but know it needs to come from the school. Our only hope is that his test results don’t diminish so that he can see it’s not because of UE that his concentration is not there and he doesn’t like math. In fact, all the Umoja outreach kids are at the top of their classes. I looked today and saw all the kids at the top with one even having scores of 100, 94, and 91, with the lowest being 85. I’ve seen these kids transform from shy, giggling children to children who have self-confidence, a purpose, and are proud to be part of something. It breaks my heart that this boy can’t and that his father can’t see that. Sadly, I know this is the mindset of many parents, not only in Africa. Music is something you can do later. But do they know it is the only activity that stimulates both sides of the brain? That children who can play an instrument do better in school and have better concentration, not worse? Better coordination and most importantly are able to express themselves.
At the time in university, I continued to take classes because they interested me and resulted in getting a major. Not the other way around. But now I’m realizing how fortunate I was to have that opportunity and it was up to me. That my parents supported me throughout my musical childhood and encouraged me, even if that meant nagging me to practice. I want to be able to give that same gift to others regardless of their background, supported or not, rich or poor, I want to help! Arts development is so important!!! Thank you to all who value the arts as much as I do!
On another note, we’ve had no Internet for over a week now and my computer is busted so I’m using an old Dell desktop. I have to play at Blue Heron but can’t print off music…and applying to jobs has been difficult to say the least. Regardless, I’m home in less than a month now!! See you all soon!!!

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