Giving the joy of music

Constantia Primary has started a music programme and needs instruments.

Constantia Primary has started an instrument drive to provide its pupils with the opportunity to learn the joy of music.

They are asking for donations of recorders, either gently-used or new, or for people to sponsor an instrument or donate to getting instruments repaired. The school is happy to accept any type of musical instrument – particularly those used in a band or orchestra.

The school, located at the junction of Spaanschemat River Road and Ladies Mile Extension, was established in 1910. Most of its pupils are the children of farm workers and residents of informal settlements who battle to pay the annual R650 school fees. The school only gets in about 60% of those fees. Unemployment, poverty and absent parents are just some of the problems pupils face at home.

“Music definitely forms the cornerstone in their development,” said principal Alastair Adams. “Our learners are phenomenal in the sense that they are exposed to excel at different levels. This will be a lifetime opportunity for our learners to reach their potential within the arts and culture.”

Music teacher Christopher Siljeur said the school had started a music programme during 2019 but it had lapsed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The school is now hoping to revive it.

Mr Siljeur said when children learnt a musical instrument in Grade R it gave them a strong footing to study music in high school. The school is using the Trinity College London music syllabus.

“We aim for pupils to take the exam next year and get an internationally recognised certificate,” he said.

Pupils have started on the recorder because it is the easiest and cheapest on which to learn the theory of music. And it is the easiest instrument to transport. So far the school has received 27 recorder donations but it needs about 470 more.

Currently, pupils are doing half an hour music lessons each day.

“The dream is that one day the school has an orchestra to show off,” said Mr Siljeur. “Playing music can become a love for the rest of their life. Participating in music can lead to all sorts of other skill-building and aids with teamwork, building self-confidence and aiding in subjects of literature and maths,” said Mr Siljeur.

Anriette Chorn, Music Education Specialist with the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) Foundation said the benefits of studying music are:

It helps to improve their brain power. …

It helps them develop social skills. …

It helps them build their confidence. …

It inspires creativity. …

It teaches them patience. …

It is a great form of expression. …

It teaches them discipline

Contact 021 794 6186, or if you can help.

Pupils learning music theory with teacher Christopher Siljeur.