When: February 2019
Where: Mpererwe, Kampala, Uganda
Facilitator: Victoria Romann
Architects of Music is a socially motivated music education program for youths in Kampala, Uganda’s vibrant capital city. This program uses musical education to build bridges between Uganda and Germany. Program development began in 2017 and launched in January 2018. The program allows youth in Kampala to learn a Western-style musical instrument in addition to traditional Ugandan musical instruments and dance.
In February 2019, Victoria Romann, co-founder of Architects of Music, flautist and teaching artist, led several Pre-Texts activities with the group around Mozart’s Magic Flute. The creativity of the participants was overwhelming and in a short amount of time they were able to create a one hour African-European performance telling the story of The Magic Flute.
Below is an excerpt from The Magic Flute: An African-European Approach Through Pre-Texts by Victoria Romann:
The setting: February 2019, a garden in a typical local neighborhood in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. This is Architects of Music’s training ground, where children and youth gather together three times a week to engage with music and dance activities of local and foreign origin. Participants are curious to start the intensive holiday training with the program’s music directors from Germany.
The characters (15): Community-based participants of Architects of Music, aged 12 to 25; staff members responsible for traditional African dances; Architects of Music’s team of directors
The opening scene: After the group’s welcome dance, we all gather together in a circle doing small group awareness exercises. These include individual movements that are combined into a group movement, body percussion and gestures combined with speaking your name out loud, and they serve to get to know each other better and strengthen the group’s identity. A round of “What did we do?” gives everyone the opportunity to reflect about the activities. After, we start to work with our text: The Magic Flute based on the libretto of W.A. Mozart’s opera. Mafabi, a group member, reads the text out loud while the others design book covers. Then we pose questions to the text and present them in front of each other. Hanging the book covers and questions on a clothesline, they will be present during the entire holiday camp. As the activities continue and the group develops a deeper understanding, they might find answers to the questions there. This was the first Pre-Texts activity for the members of Architects of Music in Kampala.
During our Pre-Texts activities, we observed how the group developed their work with the text. It took very little time for the students to be able to play with the text, get familiar with the plot and identify with the characters. It was an unforgettable and absolutely enjoyable experience for them. Playing with literature as encouraged by Pre-Texts opened up their horizons and gave them a new experience: having fun while engaging with a text and acquiring knowledge and skills.