Virtual lessons for Junior Orchestra

Philile Ntimbane

In the midst of the Covid – 19 global pandemic the Soweto Theatre has kept the doors of teaching and learning open with virtual classes to ensure that their Junior Orchestra can write exams with UNISA at the end of the year.

  Music and playing an instrument is therapeutic and having noted the impact of music worldwide in managing community stress and anxiety, the Soweto Theatre and its partner Structuring Society Through Music decided it was of importance to facilitate and ensure that classes continue.

  From Italy to New York City, the healing power of music has played an integral role in getting people through the lockdown, these classes are doing the same for young people and their immediate community as they practice and perfect their musical skill.

  The classes are held utilising Google classroom as well as WhatsApp. Lessons are prepared in advance and shared with learners who prepare and then meet facilitators on a one on one basis. These virtual online classes are for leaners from Pre-Grade 1 to Grade 7.

  Soweto Theatre’s youth, community and audience development manager Makhosazana Hlatshwayo says: “We pride ourselves in developing our communities, for they are our true reflection. This initiative by the Youth Development Department ensures that the learners don’t miss out on lessons for the year, and that they exceed the 50% pass rate received from the previous 2019 annual exams.” 

  Soweto Theatre general manager Nomsa Mazwai said: “Preparing our junior orchestra for their end-of-year exams is one of those things that are still possible under the shutdown, and we are taking advantage of that. The Soweto Theatre Junior Orchestra is three years in the making and we must ensure that its third year ends on a higher note than its second.”

  This group of talented leaners have graced the stage with some forces to be reckoned with in 2019. Among the musicians they have worked with is Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner Mandla Mlangeni, Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra (USA), and singer/composer Gabi Motuba.

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