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Arts and Grad Studies join forces to introduce kids to university Special

By Neema Tele     Sep 10, 2013 in Entertainment
Dar Es Salaam - Today morning, the shaking of music, the jingle of triangles and the beat of drums resound from a University of Dar es Salaam classroom.
Form two students from St. Mary Elementary and Junior High School follow along with instructor and University of Dar es Salaam alumna Sarah Mongare, who plays the melody of popular folk songs from East Africa on her saxophone.
These students were among several Dar es Salaam schools taking part in Liberal Arts Study, created to demonstrate the diversity of liberal arts disciplines. The event was sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and supported by graduate students and professors who taught the mini-courses.
"We really wanted to bring students in, not to listen to lectures, but to get an idea of what it's like to work in these fields. We're just hoping to give them a brief introduction as they think about these subjects, and as they think about moving into university," said Daniel Victor, outreach coordinator with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.
About 320 students took part in activities representing a wide range of disciplines, creating beautiful music in analyzing the sociological principles behind popular movies, creating lighting effects for drama productions and much more.
According to 14-year-old Nice Mwirigi, the music class was top notch."We did a bunch of stuff with rhythms and playing instruments and that kind of stuff," she said."The most fun part was listening to it all come together," she added. “Because you kind of learn each separate part, and they make something cool when you bring them together."
The day was about opening students' eyes to possibility, and learning, that they don't need to be limited by one field, that there's so much in arts. "Because many of them aren't in music, I just thought this was a really good way for them to have a good taste of what music is like, and rhythm. I really liked the way they talked about different songs and where they originate from too. I think it was very good for them." Jane Weikenda, the University of Dar es Salaam instructor in woodwinds technique said.
"It was kind of an experiment, actually, trying to figure out ways of making more traditional African instruments work with percussion instruments and different things," she said.Her experiment must have been successful. By the end of only an hour's time, an entire class of students created an orchestra of sorts. Ultimately, the class was about "opening their ears a little bit to other music," said Weikenda. "I just hope they had fun, I hope they enjoyed it. These are very popular folk songs from around the world - so I hope they will be able to place them when they hear them again," she said.
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