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Green Hill Academy

A relatively new school, Green Hill Academy, lies on the Kibuli hill, a few kilometers from the center of Kampala City. This elementary and high school academy has strong musical programs in both traditional and western music. On June 27th, I conducted a workshop with around fifty music students from the high school division. This workshop began with a performance of traditional music in which two students played a duet. This duet about social issues was played using the endingidi (tube fiddle), an instrument from the central and eastern parts of Uganda. These boys skillfully demonstrated the ability of simultaneously improvising while singing and playing.

The performance was followed by a review of lines and spaces, notation, dynamic signs, key and time signatures. After the theory lesson, the school choir performed a set piece for a competition which was to take place at the school a few days later. In this composition, we mainly worked on dynamics, balance of voices, phrase shapes and diction.

The next phase of the workshop, included elementary piano lessons. Using a Yamaha DX7 keyboard, we discussed fingering, identifying keys on the piano, coordinating staff notation to the keyboard and methods of learning a piece. Two piano students, who could play by ear, ended the session with improvisations on the keyboard. The music teacher, Mr. James Isabirye, mentioned the school’s interest in piano and choral music for elementary and high school choirs.

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