Making Connections in Ntugamo Kyamate
Rt. Rev. Nathan Ahimbisiibwe, the Bishop of South Ankole Diocese, invited The Vessels band and the Living Music Foundation (LMF) to visit his community for a three day training with the young students in the area. The Bishop wanted The Vessels and LMF to help play and set up the music equipment whenever there was a function requiring serious music ministry and public addresses.
Disan, the Director of Living Music Foundation (LMF), and the Bishop discussed the need for music training for the community of the South Ankole Diocese. They both agreed there is much musical talent in the diocese, and that Living Music Foundation can teach the necessary skills.
The Bishop welcomed the idea and worked to bring the youth from their local churches to the Diocese headquarters for a 3-day residential pilot training from 21st – 24th of May 2018.
This training was sponsored by the Diocese, so they provided food, drinks, and accommodation to the trainers. This was done as a pilot program to see how well the training would work within the South Ankole Diocese community.
The South Ankole Diocese Training
The Students turned up in big numbers, even more than the Bishop and his team were expecting! Disan and The Vessels were happy to welcome all of the new students. Instead of the 15-20 students that were expected, 27 students came ready to learn! Some students had never seen or touched a keyboard before, so the LMF team was excited to introduce it to new students and continue to build their love for music.
The training was done in the Bishop’s compound and ran from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.. There were two tents that each had electricity for the lights and instruments during the lessons.
The training started with the LMF team introducing themselves and giving an overview of the three day training course which included the following instruments: the keyboard/piano, bass, acoustic, and electric guitars, and drums.
The diocese was able to provide one keyboard, one bass guitar, one acoustic guitar without strings, one electric guitar, and a drum set. The LMF team quickly searched for other keyboards from nearby churches and were able to collect four keyboards and another bass guitar by the end of the day. They also bought new strings from Mbarara. The class sizes varied by instrument, but were all equally enjoyed.
The team was able to cover many topic areas during the lessons including basic sound management, discipline, life skills, physical fitness, and personal hygiene. The LMF team tries to make the lessons comprehensive to promote a healthy and creative lifestyle.
They had 36 students learning the keyboard, seven students on drums, three on bass guitar, and three students on acoustic/electric guitar, so 49 students in all! The LMF team worked hard to provide the best lessons and develop strong relationships. The students were introduced to the instruments and learned the basics to enable them practice and continue moving forward in their lessons on their own.
Fun, Focus, & Community
The time in between lessons was filled with singing and dancing (free style!). The LMF team played music to keep the students inspired, and encouraged games and playing at the playground in the evening to help relax and refresh the minds of the learners. They were engaged fully and at the end of the three days each student wished the lessons could last for two weeks. They had really begun to enjoy the training and see the value and fun in music.
On the evening of the third day, the Bishop came to meet with the students. He carefully answered questions that they asked him about the experience and his expectations. The interaction was nice and helped the learners feel important and recognized by the Bishop. There were hugs shared and a stronger sense of community built, which is just what LMF hopes to do. This interaction helped improve their confidence and self-esteem.
During their discussion, it was decided that the students and the LMF team would come back together for further training during the next school holiday. The community pledged to help contribute to the logistics and necessities of the training, like meals for the participants.
The students all went home so excited to continue learning about music. They all took their notes home, promising to practice what they have learned so they could share their continued efforts with the Bishop when he came to visit.
Positive Outcomes from the Training
- The integration of youth that attend school and those that don’t have the opportunity. The beautiful part of this integration was that all of the students in the training felt important, and that they had something to contribute to society.
- There was a unity among different youth from the Diocese coming together, learning, eating, and playing together; even though they came from different places and backgrounds, they all looked like brothers and sisters.
- In trying to grasp the lessons, the students maintained enthusiasm for working hard. They all took pride in being selected by their communities to participate in the trainings, which made them feel valued and important in their communities and churches.
- The trainings clearly demonstrated the rising of responsible Christian leaders within the churches and Diocese community!