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Music Education Tour of Kenya, Uganda and USA > Programs in Uganda > Workshops >

Ntare School

After Bweranyanji, I drove to Mbarara town in western Uganda, where I spent the night. In the morning of July 4th I continued the program with a workshop at Ntare boys school. Ntare is one of the most prestigious schools in the country. The alumni of this school include Yoweri K. Museveni, the current president of Uganda, and several other top government officials. Although the school has produced prominent people, the music department is still very neglected. During my visit, I covered theory and practical lessons, which I hope contributed to the music department.

The teacher randomly selected students to perform on piano, recorder and traditional instruments. The first performer, who could not read music, played an improvisation on a gospel tune famous in Uganda, O God Is Good. Using an African Xylophone, the next student played a tune of the Banyankole ethnic group from western Uganda, a song normally played when raising cattle. This was followed by a Runyoro tune about social issues, played on the endingidi (tube fiddle). The performance ended with a recorder student performing Baba Black Sheep, and another pianist playing a popular song in an improvisatory manner.

Since most pianists at Ntare School do not read music, score reading was focus of the workshop. We covered elementary lessons on music notation, rhythm, cadences, improvising, secondary dominants, and methods of practicing scales. I also showed them the method of identifying the two and three black note patterns on the keyboard as a guideline for recognizing notes on the piano instantly.

In the discussion I had with the music teacher Mr. Milton Luyinda, we agreed that Ntare school and Bweranyanje girls should make a joint choir to perform in established music festivals in the western region of the country.

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