Young man learning to play the drums

A Budding Relationship with Ankole Western University

Ankole Western University (AWU) is situated on Kabwohe Hill. Most of the students at the Ankole Western University cannot afford to pay the tuition required in other big universities in the country, but they are given the chance to continue their education here.

The Vessels band (many members of whom are Living Music Foundation trainers) has been invited several times to perform for their functions and church services. In the past, some equipment was bought for this community, however there were no trained people to use them, so they were mishandled and become ruined.

Set of pictures of music performance
The Vessels Band during the performance earlier in the year.

Because of this long term relationship, the Living Music Foundation has taken it up to provide training to some of the current students at the university.

We enjoy the love, the will, and commitment of the students in our classes because they are giving such great effort to learn. They are always willing to work with the limiting amount of resources we have without complaint, so we all make the best out of what we can offer!

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Man teaching group of people about instruments
A lesson to demonstrate and introduce the instruments to the students

Earlier this year, the band went and performed at one of Ankole Western University’s community hours while hosting their Bishop in the service. The staff and students, as well as the leaders, loved the performance and the shared worship which led them to welcoming the LMF team to come back to train the students.

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The journey to the Ankole classrooms!

Babrah and Disan Kato went back to the University to make a follow up and to prepare for the training to commence. They met the students and set a weekly training time for every Tuesday evening. The LMF team is very excited to continue to build this relationship and work with the Ankole students in the future!

People driving in a car for music lessons
The LMF team set out in a hired vehicle to the University carrying the guitars, keyboard, and half of the drums.

The Lessons

group of people learning to play on the keyboard
The keyboard lessons
Group of people learning to play guitar
The guitar lessons
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The drum lessons– hoping to have more students in the future!

Residential Training with the South Ankole Diocese

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.

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The South Ankole Diocese Training

Who

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.

LMF Students at lessons

What

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.

LMF Keyboard lessons

The Lessons

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.

LMF lessons

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.

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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!

Our Growing Community: Biharwe

Our New Students From Biharwe

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Leading Biharwe: Reverend Elmonse

Reverend Elmonse has been looking for an opportunity to learn more about musical instruments for a long time. He has always hoped to use his own skills to help train the youth in his community, but he has not had an easy time finding instrumentalists. He’s been doing his best using his own guitar to teach youth how to play, but has had a hard time keeping it in playing shape. Luckily, he had some help from a few British visitors in the past, who gifted him guitar strings so he can keep playing and teaching.

LMF Students2

Enter Living Music Foundation — just what he has been looking for! Reverend Elmonse is excited for the opportunity to help his students learn so they can play together and create beautiful music through the help of Living Music Foundation’s trainers.

Since being introduced to the Living Music Foundation team, Reverend Elmonse has been vital in mobilizing youth in Biharwe. He has gathered a group of students that are ready and excited to learn, including all of the students pictured above. He has also enrolled himself in guitar lessons, alongside his son Ian, who is having drumming lessons.

We are excited that he has been so willing to be part of the Living Music Foundation efforts, and can’t wait to see our relationship grow!