The Positive Power of Music
“I want to be a musician because I don’t want to be in a gang.”
That was the startling truth from a 13-year-old girl I met at an event in Cape Town, South Africa last summer. Sasha* had just finished a performance in front of an audience of business leaders who were impressed by her musical passion and skill. Yet without the support of a pivotal organization in her life, Sasha would have never discovered her own talent.
Established in 2003, the Hout Bay Music Project Trust currently teaches about 80 children from the Imizamo Yethu settlement and Hangber Harbour about the joy of music and the power it has to change lives. The kids, who once played in the often dangerous streets after school, now play music. They learn in a simple timber structure situated in the heart of Hout Bay Village, where trained teachers provide daily music classes in violin, cello, double bass, marimba and drums, as well as training in dance, singing and life skills.
When I asked Sasha (who plays the violin) about what inspired her to practice and develop her talent, she explained that there is a lot of crime in her neighborhood. “I want to become a musician, so I will not stay in a place where I will become a gangster.” To her, music is not only an artistic endeavor, it’s a chance to change her destiny.
“Children who play music are more likely to be involved in serving their communities,” says Leanne Dollman, founder of the Hout Bay Music Project Trust. “It provides children an opportunity to give expression to their previously marginalized cultures and bonds them more closely to their families and communities.” Arts training also leads to enhanced employment prospects, according to Leanne.
Music can change lives in so many positive ways. It’s a message we can all take to heart.
Hout Bay Music Project Trust is striving to develop a permanent teaching and performance venue, as well as more national and international performances for children at all levels. For more information, or to support the Hout Bay Music Project Trust, visit www.houtbaymusic.org.
*Name has been changed
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