Here’s a video of a great project:
Loic Lemaire and Lennert van de Velde, two students of ILSA (International Lutherie School Antwerp), went to Malawi as a part of their internship. They gave a two week course for the Music Development Centre, teaching local furniture makers the art of guitar making.
Because in my experience teaching is a two-way experience I asked Lennert what they had learned from the people of Malawi. He responded:
“Loic and I learned a lot.
We had to find a way to solve the problems that arose, which worked fine. We also had to learn how to explain certain things in the most simple way.
Beside this we learned a lot from the local people and their culture.”
There are a couple of projects like these. When I was a student at ILSA the school collaborated with a foundation called MusicFund, which collected musical instruments people didn’t use anymore. At school the guitars and violins were repaired and set up, after which they were send to conflict areas all over the world.
Their vision is that music can be a great way to help peace and understanding between people. Music literally crosses boundaries between people, cultures and religions. Making music together brings people closer. Music as an alternative to violence and hate.
Beside this they also send out teachers and tools to help local instrument makers.
I know most people will disregard projects like these and say they are ‘hopelessly idealistic’. But I beg to differ, they are all but hopeless Bringing people together to make music can be the first steps towards peace and mutual understanding. People who say this are often the same that say art has got to have practical use and function. Well, here you see art in action, having practical use, serving a great purpose…