Reg Charity 1143560
Thought Piece

What is it Like to Volunteer as A Music Teacher?

By Mikey
Successfully sending volunteers abroad for 10 years

Music is a universal language that people from every corner of the world can enjoy in various forms. Music also holds the power to assist in providing a source of comfort when things in life aren’t as they should be along with offering a potentially valuable skill for those who have a gift in this area.  

Bring Children the Gift of Music!

Music is at the heart of African culture and when you visit, you will be able to see for yourself how much people are influenced by it and enjoy it! Having the opportunity volunteer in Africa and work alongside established musicians, is beneficial for you and those that attend your music lessons. Giving children the chance to be a part of free music tuition and join a music school is a wonderful way to bring light to underprivileged lives and help them to see that they have potential; something they might not have realised up until now. You’ll often find that the children you teach possess a wealth of talent, but very few get the opportunity to develop their skills, work with a teacher and expand on a skill involving a musical instrument. 

What could be better than sharing your knowledge of an instrument, your music theory skills and the ability to develop a child’s path down a road that you love? When you’re in a class with children, they will be eager to learn from you and will almost always be extremely inquisitive. Supporting local teams who are already a part of a music volunteer programme gives you scope to develop your skills as a music teacher too. You can learn from them, and also, how to develop your techniques with younger students. 

What Kind of Music Will I Be Teaching?

Volunteers who have signed up to teach music in can generally expect to be tutoring small groups as well as individuals at local centres and schools that are occupied by underprivileged children.  

What’s great about this type of programme is that you will have free reign to teach any instrument you have experience with, and it’ll be organised so that you’re in small classes prearranged by age. Furthermore, there’s often the chance to work with the class using a number of instruments that are provided by the charity along with basic musical education that you can add to. You will still have to bring the same kind of structured practice and the environment required that you would with the instrument you’re most comfortable with, but as long as you can develop the class’s skills, you have carte blanche with your teaching. 

Those with a background in teaching keyboard and basic music theory is very helpful; this is because these elements are typically the foundations of how children are taught music in African schools. That isn’t to say that other instruments aren’t welcome though, this is just the areas that are most prevalent for the students and their musical development.  

It’s also worth noting that if you play a particularly unusual instrument, you will likely need to bring it with you when you travel to your placement. You don’t need to have a vast level of experience at teaching music either, but you should be able to come ready to deliver a good working understanding of at least one instrument. 

What Is A Typical Week Like Living in Africa As A Volunteer Music Teacher?

Volunteers in music programmes usually go to work at their placement for five days each week. You can get some breakfast with the other volunteers before heading off to your lessons and then make your way to the school.  

Depending on the day and what your schedule consists of, you might be required to lend a hand in some of the more traditional subjects; this is because many of the children attend school in the mornings which is the that’s most readily devoted the conventional subjects we mentioned. You don’t have to have any experience with teaching, and one of the major benefits of this is that you’re presented with a handy way to gain additional experience of teaching abroad outside of the musical curriculum. You’ll get a feel for how the children learn in classroom settings which you can use to make your sessions as effective and fun as possible. 

You can enjoy a lunch break from around midday, which will give you the opportunity to socialise with the other volunteers as well as the local staff you’re working with. During the afternoons is when you get to come into your own as this is when the music classes begin. They’ll typically be broken up into short sessions so that the children and you both get the best from the classes. 

Placements will finish around 5pm, depending on the day and once you’re done, you can make the most of your free time with the other volunteers over dinner. There’s also the chance to get involved with activities and games which are organised by the team leaders of the charity in the evenings. The weekends are also completely free for you to enjoy with no classes, and this is when you can opt to join in with some adventures and excursions that are organised by the charity.  

If this sounds like the sort of thing that you would be interested in, why not check out our music programme?

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