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Crossing Boundaries Through Music: Anna’s Volunteer Placement at the Music Academy in Zanzibar

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Our participant Anna-Katharina has completed a 6 weeks volunteer assignment at the Music Academy in Zanzibar. In our blog Anna-Katharina describes why besides musical experience she also gained a lot of life experience during her stay abroad: 

During August and September 2017 I did a volunteer assignment at the Dhow Countries Music Academy in Zanzibar Stown Town and had a wonderful time there that I will never forget. The staff of the academy and, above all, the headmaster are incredibly warm and loving people who have integrated me into their work straight away. Also, the students at the academy were very friendly and immediately gave me the feeling of belonging to the them and to the Academy.

I taught violin at the Music Academy and I will also begin to study violin at university-level in October 2017.

The way of playing music in Zanzibar as well as the local music style, differ greatly from the way I learned to play music in Germany. During my time in Zanzibar, I tried both to learn about local music and to teach European music to my students. The students were always very ambitious and I was able to observe an immense progress while I was there.

Since my stay was partly during the holiday season of the academy, when no regular teaching takes place, I participated in other activities and tasks at the academy as well and there was always something to do for me.

My favorite part was getting drumming lessons from a local student. I also got lessons in Taraab music, the traditional music style in Zanzibar. However, Taraab is very different from the Western notation system that I am used to and it is very difficult to play it perfectly.

Since there were unfortunately problems with my airline, I could not bring my own violin to Zanzibar and I instead borrowed a violin at the academy. My recommendation if you would like to bring a musical instrument to Zanzibar, is to choose an older instrument that you can then leave in the academy as a gift.

I am incredibly grateful for the vast amount of musical and life experience that I have gained during my time at the music academy. For all those who are interested in music, I highly recommend a volunteer assignment there!

Best regards,

Anna-Katharina, Germany

Would you like to be part of a musical exchange, share your musical knowledge with people from another country and in return learn about local music styles abroad? Find more details about this program here


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