3. Organising a musical performance

Making music is a form of communication: instruments and voices ‘talk’, communicating feelings, thoughts and ideas. Music reflects and creates culture, and it is always dynamic – changing and developing. In Africa, music is important in creating social cohesion (unity) and can be important in the classroom.

In this part, you will build on the previous activities to organise a whole-class performance. The way you set up the activity can contribute to pupils’ cooperative and listening skills.

Case Study 3: The value of group music making

Sam’s passion is making music in a group. The feeling he gets playing the ngoma, or singing in the choir is a special one of togetherness. He wants to share this feeling with his pupils; to experience what it’s like to make music together when everyone is listening sensitively to each other.

Sam travels from Kampala to Mbale and visits a small primary school away from the city to visit the arts and culture teacher. As he arrives, he comes across a festival. Groups of young boys try out their flutes and drums in preparation. In the dusty playground, Sam listens and watches as a group of 50 children move and make music together – each one contributing, each one watching and listening as they tell the story of the dance.

Inspired by the flautists and the dance, he decides that his own pupils back in Kampala need to experience what it’s like to ‘become one’ through music. After talking to the teachers and learning more about the cultural significance of the music and dance, he returns home to plan a lesson where his pupils make music together.

Resource 6: Musical pipes shows how musical instruments can be made for your pupils to play.

Key Activity: Music making

  • Ask your pupils if any of them play an instrument. If they do, ask them to bring them to school.
  • The next day, ask the pupils who have brought instruments to show them and play them to the class.
  • Ask your pupils if they know any songs or praise poems. If they do, ask them tell you the words. You write these on the board.
  • Ask the pupil to sing the poem/song and then ask the class to join in as you sing it again.
  • Repeat until the class are comfortable singing.
  • Now, ask those who play instruments to join in as well.
  • Practise the whole song until everyone is happy and then perform it to another class or at an Open Day.

2. Working in groups to write a praise poem

Resource 1: Exploring sound