Two years ago, a group of young people from Kinyinya Sector, Gasabo District, were introduced to musical classes in their area.
At Root Foundation, a local non-government organisation in Gasabo District in partnership with Brass For Africa aims at uplifting the lives of underprivileged children in the area, talented youngsters in playing musical instruments are taken through music classes, to nurture their skills — among other programmes that help them socially, financially and psychologically.
Music instrument playing is just one of the skills offered at the centre, which focuses on talent development. This programme led to the birth of Silver Band, which has 20 youngsters between the age of 9 and 24.
Silver band is just one of many other bands at the center.
The beneficiaries play different types of musical instruments. Some of the instruments include; trumpet, violin, tuba, euphonium, and drums, among others.
Middle: Francois Mwiseneza, the leader of Silver Band. The members go through scripts before performing
Francois Mwiseneza, the leader of the band, says what united them as a band was the need to work on their self-esteem and other aspects that were hard to attain elsewhere.
He says that before, he was shy and couldn’t say a word in front of a crowd, let alone stand in front of fellow students to raise his concerns.
This, he says, deprived him of freedom and the opportunity to speak his mind whenever he felt like doing so. Mwiseneza, who is a medical student at the University of Rwanda (UR), says music has provided a conducive environment that allows him to focus on his creativity, which is playing the euphonium.
“I believe that when one is creative or successful in this matter, it boosts your self-esteem. For me, there is nothing better than playing euphonium as it relaxes my mind,” he says.
He adds that through music, he has become more comfortable with self-expression.
Carine Ishimwe, 14, says joining the band helped her stay away from bad company, and instead enabled her to make new friends with whom she shares common interests.
For Ishimwe, sharing musical experiences strengthens the bond between her friends and those around her.
“I can now define myself through music and relate to other people through it as well. This, I would say, is a big part of the bonding experience whenever I am with my colleagues with the same likes,” she says.
Apart from music skills, the youngsters have also acquired social skills that help them get along with other people.
Through these performances, the group makes some money which they use to buy scholastic materials and other basic needs.
“Through our talent, we are delighted to have been able to support our own education to some extent, relieving our financially unstable parents is the most fulfilling thing,” says Ishimwe.
They say through music, they have become open-minded, and always go for opportunities whenever they surface.
A year after mastering the craft, the band has played for different audiences and at concerts in Kigali, where they get invited to perform.
Silver Band has also performed at Kigali Serena Hotel a couple of times during governmental events. Last year, the band performed at Kigali Convention Centre during UNICEF’s TEDx kid’s event. The band also performs at Christmas parties.Follow Lydia_AtienoM