Various secondary schools across the island displayed their musical talents at a School Band Festival held at the Arawak House of Culture on Tuesday afternoon.
The activity was organised by Music Missions International, a Canadian not-for-profit society, that has provided instruments, instruction, and instrument repair services to Dominica’s secondary schools.
Speaking to Dominica News Online, music teacher of the St Mary’s Academy, Marvin Marie, said that most of the students participating in the event have all been taught using the “Band Today” programs at their schools.
“The program will give students the chance to perform music and play and learn music. The band today program is a holistic program that includes all the different instruments. It ensures that all students learn at the exact same time, music theory, music history, and the ability to play,” he explained.
Marie stated that he looks forward to the event occurring again in the future and maybe someday become part of the activities for International Jazz day.
Meanwhile member of Music Missions International, Mike Townsend, said that instruments are donated to the schools to encourage viable music bands in them.
He pointed out that the program teaches students music differently from how it is normally taught.
“It is not the old style of teaching where we might learn to play instrument, learn all of the theory, then join the band, it is exactly opposite. Students are not required to have prior knowledge of music because we are going to take baby steps and teach them note by note. They learn two or three notes and are required to hold that information in their head. They are also encouraged to play by sight,” Townsend said.
At present, North East Comprehensive, Pierre Charles Secondary, Orion Academy, Goodwill Secondary School, Convent High School, and the St Mary’s Academy are participating in the program.
Townsend indicated that with more instruments on the way, more schools will be able to take part in the program.
Two additional schools already identified are the Portsmouth Secondary School and the Castle Bruce Secondary school.