Another dispatch from the music business major, who was part of the Berklee team that traveled to Kenya to audition potential students and connect with music educators. Read his first post.
Day 3: Auditions (day 2)
Today has become a little more formal with auditions. Sam Skau is screening each walk-in before they are allowed an audition so the staff can make sure they are at a level where it is appropriate for them to audition, because a lot of people showed up yesterday not even knowing an instrument and just assumed that was ok. Very interesting experience.
People are all very friendly and the town is very wild and always busy, a fun place to be.
Day 4: Auditions (last day)
Last day of auditions, with still more walk-ins than ever. Students are very kind here. I had the privilege of receiving a gift from one of the students at the Brookhouse School. He said the bracelet I received was the Kenyan “Rock ‘n’ Roll Bracelet.” It was a very kind gesture.
Today was a great, long day. First we went to the Ambassador of the United States’s house for a July 4th celebration with a great performance of the Star-Spangled Banner and the Kenyan anthem by Eric Wainaina and the Berklee faculty. It was great to get around and see the other side of Kenya and meet new people. Then we had the clinics which went very well. The students responded very well and had some great jams. Then we had the opportunity to play at the concert the Brookhouse School put on and we played one song which was really a great experience. It’s been very long days but all very memorable and rewarding.
Monday July 5th
Today we attended Starehe Boys School. My family’s charity March to the Top has a good relationship with quite a few of the students there. We have already sponsored quite a few students during and after their time at Starehe to make sure they are well off enough to survive and such. But today was great because we got very involved with the music department and the Berklee faculty put on a great master class that involved some blues playing and improvisation techniques. It was great to see how fast the students caught on. The students at this school have a lot of drive, talent, and enthusiasm. They just live to work and do well in their lives and I feel these are the kind of students Berklee is looking for. Now, since Starehe is aware of Berklee, they can possibly be potential scholarship candidates in the future and we can also look to try and donate some instruments to help them possibly start a jazz band.
Overall this was a great trip. It was very rewarding for me to see how great Berklee is at what we do, and to just be around a culture with such great energy. I hope to do a trip like this again. It was a privilege and a learning experience for me.