Practice, Motivating Students & Performance. Our final days in Zambia

Day 11

Today we continued with our schedule of rehearsals and lessons with the Academy teachers.  This morning Rachel had a really important lesson with O’Brien, one the string teachers, discussing how to practice to effectively. O’Brien is completely self-taught, which is an incredible achievement! This has meant that he’s possibly not as strict about his practice as he could be. He really enjoys playing and discovering new repertoire and has strong sight-reading skills and so can play through new repertoire with relative ease. However, this also means he does not necessarily think about his tuning or bowing as carefully as he might. We ended up spending around 30 minutes of the lesson just getting 8 notes correct, in tune and with a rounded sound. It was a really important lesson in the difference between practice and playing – so important for every student to remember, at whatever stage

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W also held a discussion session with all the teachers talking about their personal practice and suggested they might like to think about using the simultaneous learning practice chart (shown below).
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Devised by Paul Harris, the technique involves making constant connections between music’s different ingredients, such as scales, memory, improvisation, aural, theory etc. By combining these, practice and lessons can become dynamic, engaging and effective.

We also discussed talking with parents who are very ambitious for their children and would like them to progress faster, as well as how to motivate students to practice. The same issues seem to be universal in the UK and Zambia… ! We hope to continue these discussions during the rest of our stay.

In the evening Rachel worked with Vox Zambezi, a chamber choir. They specialise in singing traditional songs from around Zambia, which was really interesting to hear, especially all the different languages!
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Day 12

More lessons and rehearsals on Friday, and we continued our crusade to sort all of the Academy’s Sheet Music into a useful order.

Over the last couple of years a lot of music has been donated for which everyone is extremely grateful! Because the Academy has moved premises recently and i still waiting for some more bookcases for the library, all the music has been scattered around the various practice rooms. Because it’s all broken up, no one person has seen the full collection. We felt it was extremely important to help all the teachers organise the music so they can see the full range of resources which are there, and any gaps for certain instruments or certain stages of learning.
This is what we started with…
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And this is what we found!
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In the evening we were very kindly invited to dinner at Liliayi Lodge, a game reserve and hotel just outside Lusaka. We were just in time to visit their elephant orphanage (before the elephant went to bed!). We had the pleasure of being driven through the park, sat on the back of the truck, and saw Zebra, Gnu, Bush Bucks, Wilderbeast, Warthogs and a Giraffe! It was an amazing evening – here is our ‘Savannah Selfie’!

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Looking forward to concert day at the Academy tomorrow!

Day 13

Today was our last day in Ngoma Dolce Academy and Concert Day!

It was a real pleasure to see all the groups play at their best and was a really lovely end to our stay.
Here is the orchestra lining up ready to perform:

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Here is the recorder group performing:

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And we were persuaded to close the concert with a piano duet – Debussy’s Petite Suite

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We’re sad that our trip has come to an end, but we are looking forward to some home comforts. Thank you to everyone who have supported us on our trip, especially everyone at the Muze Trust!

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