The Project

We met Almo in August this year in Kigoma in the far west of Tanzania. Most tourists, of whom we met very few, use Kigoma as a starting point for an excursion to Gombe National Park, where you can observe chimpanzees. That’s how we felt, but we probably stayed there longer than most. We went into a music store that offered a manageable repertoire of instruments and analog mixers, loudspeakers, refrigerators and televisions. We struck up a conversation with the sales clerks. I was interested in how the people here learn the instruments, how the instrumental lessons are given here. Almo explained to us that there is no music school here and that the musicians teach themselves the instruments. I had initially thought about possibly teaching general music knowledge and theory online from Dresden, but I didn’t get much of a response. Instead, it turned out that many music groups suffer from an acute shortage of instruments. No wonder. The wages are incredibly low, but the instruments cost the same as ours, sometimes even more. If we want to help, then instruments are important. So we decided to buy Almo and his choir a bass guitar. He and the bass player Zephania then sang and played a few bars of their songs for us. It was very groovy and professional.

Almo and Markus in the music store

My first idea was that I might be able to sponsor Almo’s choir with the help of my own choir. But after an extensive exchange of ideas, we decided to set up a music school, however small it might be. We’ll start with the cheapest option we can afford and then we’ll see how it develops. I will try to find people here who want to support this music school project and Almo will find a place, teachers, students and of course organize everything there. I like Almo and I think he is the right man for this project. At this stage, we are acting as private individuals, which means that everything Almo receives from us are gifts to him as a private individual. But if this project grows, we will have to find organizational forms, if only because of the accounting to the tax office.

I hope I have been able to give you a brief overview of the music school project: Kigoma Music Training Academy. In our wildest fantasies it will grow into a local musical and artistic cultural center, but keeping a good music school running in Kigoma would be a great achievement.

Markus Schurz