The music education outreach wrapped on Monday, the team’s last day in Kenya, with a visit to Starehe Boys Centre, where the Berklee professors gave a workshop and clinic for students in the music class.

Student Joey Guglielmo talked a bit about the March to the Top Foundation (M2T) and the organization’s connection to Starehe in his last post.

An interesting thing he mentioned, the word “starehe” means “relax,” which is ironic because the school seems to be the exact opposite of a place to relax. The students here are extremely hard working and determined. Joey told us about one student who went to bed every evening at 8:00 p.m. and woke up at 2:00 a.m. to spend the entire night and morning studying before heading to classes for the day. With M2T’s support, some of the Starehe students have gone on to attend schools like Stanford and Yale.

Joey Guglielmo, Dan Moretti, Michael Shaver, Ron Reid

Professors Dan Moretti and Ron Reid gave a master class to help the students with their technique and breathing. Dan also showed them scales and articulations, and worked with them on improvising the blues.

Watch a video of the Starehe students performing.

The music class currently focuses mainly on marching band music.  At one point, Dan suggested they start a jazz band. The students were very interested in doing this, but they lack a drum set and bass, a situation that Joey and Michael are organizing to rectify through instrument donations and funding from M2T.

At the end of the visit, one of the students stood up and thanked the professors on behalf of the class, expressing gratitude for the instruction and taking up Dan’s proposal.  He said, “You have challenged us to start a jazz band. Next time you come, we’ll be playing jazz…better than you!” I think considering their passion and determination, this is only a slight overstatement…

After the clinics at Starehe, we headed to the airport, homeward bound.  Truth be told, these videos were done at the airport. We didn’t find the time earlier, but this gave Dan the opportunity to reflect on the trip as a whole.

Dan talks about the scholarship auditions for Berklee’s Africa Scholars Program.

In part 2, Dan discusses the various clinics and music education outreach they conducted on the trip, and sums up the entire experience.