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I am in charge of a string program… but I want to START a string program.

A lot has happened since the last time I updated.  I met a whole bunch of tremendous people, I am judge for the Young Musicians Competition, we have a really good string orchestra now, and I have been applying to schools and programs to get ready for life after Kenya.

I’ll start with the people I met…  We had some visitors from the US, and he was headlined by Ashley Bryan.  He wrote about 40 children’s books, and has done a whole lot more.  Wikipedia has tons of information about.  He came along with some other people, a very intelligent doctor, two women that have a foundation that provide books and libraries for schools in Kenya, a 19 year old student that wrote a book at age 15, and a psychotherapist.  All of these inspiring people are all connected to Mt. Kenya Academy in one way or another, and now are even more connected.  We went to the Serena Mountain Lodge, where we got to know each other and watch animals from our hotel rooms.  It was amazing listening to Ashley Bryan…the man could recite poems like no other.  He had so many poems, he had one if you dropped your fork.  He is like a character out of a movie.  Anyway, I had an amazing time, and it was great getting to know the Superhero team of Ashley Bryan.

I keep thinking about what I want to do after my tenure here in Mt. Kenya Academy.  So many things come to mind.. do I want to go to school, get a masters and a doctorate?  Do I want to stay in Kenya and make a difference with string music, and pioneer cello?  A lot of me wants to build an awesome orchestra here in a school, and pioneer cello.  At the moment music is growing in Kenya, and they don’t have too many string programs.  If someone were here, and did a string program/orchestra correct in several years one could make a school orchestra famous in this country!  They could play everything from standard literature, and then even fuze traditional Kenyan music.  I would love to make something like that happen.  Just make an unbelieveable string orchestra that would knock people off their feet here in Kenya.  Sure, one could start an amazing program, like one of my teachers David Beck, and it could be great.  But in places like New York…. you are competing against incredible teachers/players.  I am not trying to sound like a cop out, but here since there aren’t many string programs, it’s taking advantage of the opportunity.  I know I could do it, I just need the interest among the students, the time in their busy days to put the practice in, and of course tons of help from the school/administration.  I know it could happen at Mt. Kenya Academy, especially with the talent at the senior school at the moment, but for some reason I don’t see the seriousness at the school for string instruments/orchestra.  Maybe it’s because the lack of a steady teacher?  I try to preach to the students to be serious and to take orchestra serious and it’s slowly working but the thing I’m talking about would take years for it to happen.  You would have to start a lot of students, hope that they stay at the same school, continue with the instruments, and then by the time they are high school, you will see a fantastic product.  

I’m not sure if I would want to start a program from scratch, or continue a program like at Mt. Kenya Academy.  Sure, this is the place one can do it, but with a new teacher in sight, it won’t be me.

I hope I have made a lasting impression… and I hope to continue to make an impression in the next 4-5 months.

One of my goals in life to start a program, and to see it come to fruition.  Maybe it’s right in front of me and I didn’t realize it…  

I know what I want.  I want to start a string program from scratch in Kenya, but with an American educational system structure.  The students start in Standard (grade) 4, and continue the instrument all the way through.  Sure the students in the school that want to learn at an older age can, but when those students clear, and the Standard 4’s are the older age, that’s when one will see the program taking off.  I guess you would have to say, the only time you can pick an instrument is Standard 4, or you miss the opportunity to play an instrument.  If you want to play an instrument at an older grade, maybe an option is to play privately until you are the level of the program, and then you can join.  I guess also, you need a school that usually has students go from Grade 1 to clearing Senior School.  For example, if you started a policy in MKA that you must start in Standard 4, by Standard 8 you will have great students…. but not all of those students go to the Senior School.  And I’m not sure if our attractive Senior School String program, would be enough to sway them to go to the school.. or would it?

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