On Saturday Otto de Jong and I will arrive in Moshi, Tanzania for the first training period of Tanzania Youth Music. We’ll work there with 30 youth and community leaders, training them to use music as a tool for community building, facilitating expression, enabling communication, and having fun with the children to whom they give support and care.
The young people we’ll work with in Moshi are educators, support workers, members of an educational drama group, music students, and youth leaders. They come from communities across a wide geographical area, with half of them being lodged locally during the training as otherwise their journey would be too far to attend. They represent 21 community organisations. This means the skills they will learn will reach hundreds, or even thousands of children in many communities and contexts.
During this first week of training we’ll encourage the participants to move through stages of learning:
Throughout this process the focus is on participating and on experiencing the effects of using music in support and care work.
Communities where the participants are working face challenges of poverty, malnutrition, homelessness among young people, HIV, and a lack of future possibilities. A loss of hope for the future, very low mood, and feelings of isolation can become common in young people facing such a situation. The model of music-making we will encourage is one of inclusion, where each sound and individual are valued and heard within an environment that is emotionally and physically safe.
We’ll all meet together for the first time over breakfast on Monday morning at 830am. At 9am we’ll make our first music together….
In September 2012, Chris Nicholson set up a music therapy program for people living with HIV and AIDS at a clinic in urban central Rwanda. In September 2013, he returned to continue his therapy work with vulnerable HIV+ adolescents and to train staff in Music & Health. He is Project Manager of Rwanda Youth Music and Tanzania Youth Music. Prior to his involvement with music therapy, Chris had an international performance and teaching career as a classical guitarist. He studied classical guitar at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and in Spain with maestros Jose Tomas and Alex Garrobe.