Home Magazine Issues August-September 2012 Kampala Music School:

Kampala Music School (KMS) has changed the lives of many young, talented Ugandans, by giving them the chance to seriously learn Classical and Jazz music. In the eleven years since it was set up from a few donated pianos, KMS has finally grown to bursting out of its cramped space in the YMCA, and is moving into its own home in Kitante, fit to accommodate its current services and future developments.

Over 25 staff and hundreds of students come through the doors of KMS every year to study various instruments, practise and take part in ensembles, whilst making lifelong friends in a safe, familial atmosphere. Teachers are also sent out into outreach centres in and around Kampala, and the Bursary Scheme gives financial aid to deserving students. Many students excel in the internationally-recognised ABRSM (UK) with results well above the international average, winning scholarships and embarking on professional careers. Many KMS teachers were trained at the school; they are now fully qualified to continue the learning cycle. KMS also houses orchestra, jazz, choir & other ensemble rehearsals daily, and equips many musicians with the instruments and facilities required.

Music education has been proven not only to cultivate musical talent, but to enrich lives in many other ways. In young people particularly, social and cognitive skills, confidence and discipline are known to improve. The commitment required to learn and practice an instrument, and to be part of an ensemble, naturally transfers directly to musicians’ life skills. KMS endeavours to train students not only to become professional musicians, but to give a unique edge to whatever they already do in life and to empower people through music. In fact, many KMS musicians are qualified in other careers, but still maintain that music played an important role in getting to where they are today. KMS’s outreach programmes work to develop communities through music, like at M-Lisada Orphanage in Nsambya, which helps to uplift ex-street children out of poverty in their brass band training.

KMS also organises several concerts and musical events each year, featuring staff and students from the school, both as soloists and in groups such as the resident Jazz Group and the resident Kampala Symphony Orchestra. Collaborations with other local and international artists and ensembles greatly broaden the musical spectrum. The last year has seen performances with Rachel Magoola, Navio, Jamal, Qwela, African Children’s Choir, as well as a long-standing relationship with the Kampala Singers and other choirs. Coming soon will be a joint concert with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra (visiting from the UK), and an exciting event to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Uganda’s 50 Years of Independence this October!

The KMS Building Appeal was launched in 2012, to raise funds to cover these costs. KMS has put down a substantial deposit on the new home in Kitante, but now funds are urgently needed to complete the purchase and renovations. The new building features larger practice/teaching rooms in greater number, recital and rehearsal rooms to comfortably accommodate large ensembles, a music and multimedia library for members to explore the large amount of resources, all in a safe, spacious and quiet environment conducive to music making and study. There are a number of specific projects within the appeal for which donations are sought to contribute: Listening Room, Library, Recital/Rehearsal Rooms, Instrument Storage Room and Workshop, 9 Soundproof Practice & Teaching Rooms, and the KMS Bursary Scheme. It is possible to name rooms, facilities and bursaries that are fully sponsored by a benefactor in their honour, and donors are warmly invited to make an everlasting mark at KMS by doing so.

In the future, KMS aims to expand what it offers, including music for younger children (below 5 yrs), in-service courses for music teachers, contemporary music training, more ensembles and coaching, more performances, the sky’s the limit! If you are interested in learning an instrument or joining one of the ensembles, all are welcome, regardless of age or background.

For more information, or to pledge a donation to KMS, please visit www.kampalamusicschool.com or contact Natasha Chong (Deputy Director at KMS) at 0414 233 215 or admin@kampalamusicschool.com