Notes that change lives | Daily News


Notes that change lives

The marching band of the Palinagar Maha Vidyalayam, Mullaitivu welcoming the Chief Guests at their school sports meet
The marching band of the Palinagar Maha Vidyalayam, Mullaitivu welcoming the Chief Guests at their school sports meet

Twice a week students of Gunananda MV, Kurunegala and Palinagar MV, Mullaitivu gather in makeshift music rooms in their respective schools for lessons in orchestral and school band instruments.

Today, the familiar strains of classical music emanate from these rooms; for these young children who previously did not have access to music education, have blossomed with their music making and it has inspired and uplifted their lives; The Music Project has nurtured this renaissance.

Gunananda MV, Kurunegala and Palinagar MV, Mullaitivu are the two schools sponsored for the last three years by the Tokyo Cement Group, to receive music lessons through the charitable foundation ‘The Music Project’. The initiative works in rural schools assigned by the Ministry of Education, that are often ill-equipped with the required facilities, infrastructure and have very limited opportunity and exposure towards teaching music to children.

Tokyo Cement engaged in a two-year sponsorship supporting over 200 students in three schools to enhance their music education. This sponsorship has enabled children to engage in music lessons full-time. The Project provides an educational initiative which is non-competitive, holistic and nurturing, where children gain motivation and confidence. The children progress at their own pace and participate in an orchestral community as valued members where each player has a role.

The Music Project programme founded over a decade ago was designed to help transform the lives of disadvantaged children and young people by supporting and fostering personal growth and artistic development, helping them achieve their full potential through engagement and progression in music- making.

In building orchestral communities in the North and South of Sri Lanka, the Music Project aims to bring harmony among ethnic groups, develop lifelong friendships,whilst cultivating respectfor each other’s communities among participants.

To-date the Music Project has engaged seven schools with over 500student participants in the core orchestra programme. The Project,whose work is predominantly centered in the North central and Eastern provinces, has engaged over 80 school teachers and provided music lessons for over 3000 children, from schools as far as Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Galle.

Inspired by the phenomenal Venezuelan ‘El Sistema’ Orchestra which enables children access to the world of music, camaraderie and empowerment, Trustee of The Music Project, Shalini Wickramasuriya said, “Through our initiative we want children to take the lead in the peace building process. We hope to empower them to be agents of change, healing and peace among their peers and in their communities. We trust our programme brings joys and challenges of making music together, to children who otherwise would not have the opportunity and thus build a lifelong appreciation for the beauty and importance of music.”

Throughout the years, the project’s orchestral programmes have achieved national prominence. Winning the Ministry of Education Western Music competitions for recorder and orchestra, showcasing special performances at music festivals around the country and being featured on BBC are noteworthy milestones. 

The Western Band of Sri Gunananda Kanishta Vidyalaya in Mawathagama practicing with a teacher of The Music Project

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