Ghetto Classics is a community based programme that aims to transform lives of over 650 children in Korogocho, Huruma, Dandora and Mukuru kwa Reuben, as well as students from Farasi Lane Primary School and Muthangari Primary School in Nairobi. The programme uses music education to provide the youth with opportunities to better themselves and their communities, equipping them with skills in live music performance as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty that many of them are born into. The programme also provides them with income generating opportunities and has been supported by proceeds from the Safaricom International Jazz Festival since 2014.
Based in a local primary school and church, we run both a brass band and string ensemble that train weekly, meeting for 3 hours every Sunday afternoon. We also work within the primary school structure, giving 10 – 12 year olds, in an adjacent primary school, weekly music tuition. For all these children, it is the first time in their lives that they are coming across any music education. The project deals in equipping students with music knowledge ranging from theoretical part of it to the actual music performance, they all converge to play in a tuti on weekends. Despite the hardship these children and young people face they always find the time to come and practice.
Tutors, who are ex students and members of Ghetto Classics, have undergone Grade 1-5 theory and practical exams execute the teaching. This is to ensure that pupils are able to read, play music and understand basic elements of a good performance. Exams are usually held at the end of every term and the students who perform best are rewarded and promoted to the school band and Safaricom Youth Orchestra.
In the 7 years that Ghetto Classics has been in existence it has achieved these objectives:
Ghetto Classics has managed to perform at major events which have been happening in Kenya for instance: during Pope’s visit to Kenya and Jamhuri Day at State house creating greater exposure for the students and Ghetto Classics as a whole.
Through the Link Up programme Ghetto Classics has managed to expand its operation to other schools within our community and further afield. We have begun teaching the recorder to 300 new students from 6 different primary schools in Nairobi: Farasi Lane Primary School, Muthangari Primary School, Clare Community Centre (Dandora), St. Clare’s Primary School (Korogocho) Reuben Primary School (Mukuru kwa Reuben) and St. Johns Primary School (Korogocho) using the Carnegie Hall methodology and technical assistance with the end goal of having a concert featuring all the students with the National Youth Orchestra.