Ambassador Updates, April 2020

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

Ambassador Updates, April 2020


Axelle Miel, Ang Misyon Cebu (Philippines)

Inspired by a book recently donated to us, we recently began using a new method of rote learning for beginner students. With this new book to guide us, we not only have more insight into posture and playing position, but we also have a wealth of new pieces that we can play as a group. I have also found it easier to be flexible and more creative with lessons.

For example, in the past session, the beginners learned the names and placements of four notes on the D string and three notes on the A string. When they finished the exercises in the book, we played a game to stimulate our musical creativity. For our game, each student called out a note name and whether it was one or two counts long. We also decided whether we wanted to use a repeat sign. By the end of the exercise, we had composed a new melody to use for practice. Later, the intermediate students were challenged to play the melodies of the beginners and vice versa, ultimately coming together to play what was written. Because we were having so much fun, other kids came to watch and supported each group in turn!

Mary Nakacwa, Architects of Music (Uganda)


My video update this month shows the students at Architects of Music practicing a dance called Larakaraka, a courtship dance, from Northern Uganda. At our rehearsal site in Kampala, our teachers all specialize in various aspects of dance and music. In this dance, the men, seen in the far left behind the women, play calabashes while the women perform a dance that emphasizes the movement of the body and footsteps.