Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Tag: Africa (Page 1 of 2)


A Vision for Music Therapy in Ghana

Ellie Foster HeadshotIn January 2016, the nonprofit MusicXchange, founded by Berklee student Federico Masetti, organized a two-week service trip to Ghana to build strategic partnerships and raise awareness about the organization. The following post was written by Ellie Foster, one of the trip’s participants. Read a post by fellow participant Apiwe Bubu.

By Ellie Foster

Among the many meetings we had in Kumasi, Ghana, on January 7, none was quite so preliminarily daunting–and ultimately fruitful–as our appointment with Dr. Baffour Awuah. Dr. Awuah, medical director of Komfo Anyoke Teaching Hospital, sits on the board of HopeXChange Medical Center and agreed to meet with us at the request of fellow board member Riccardo Masetti—noted oncologist and father of our trip’s leader, Federico. As we sat in his waiting room, I couldn’t help but feel nervous about pitching the concept of music therapy to him.

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Conoce a ROTU

Post by student blogger  Zayra Pola, International Admissions Online Ambassador of Berklee College of Music.

(ROTU) Rhythm Of the Universe es un proyecto de colaboración musical que alberga las voces y los sonidos de  músicos de más de 90 países diferentes. Fue creado para promover la unidad a través de la música y promover lo que  somos y lo que hemos aprendido,y el valor de la educación musical.

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Professor Karen Wacks Brings Music Therapy to Uganda

In May of 2007, music therapy professor Karen Wacks, traveled with eight Berklee students to Kenya on a service learning trip sponsored by Musicians for World Harmony (MWH), a nonprofit group created by former Ugandan refugee, Samite Mulondo. Since that time, the relationship with MWH has continued and professor Wacks is currently with Mulondo in Uganda, developing a feasibility study on using music performance and therapy for the Lord’s Resistance Army’s (LRA) ex-child soldiers to address post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Children between the ages of 5 to 17 are still forcefully abducted, forced to kill, and be trained as rebel fighters or commanders’ wives. In addition to physical disabilities or even death, less perceptible but important psychosocial damage is inflicted upon children by armed conflict and violence. Music has been proven to provide the safety, comfort, and connection so needed for a child’s mental, emotional, and spiritual development. 

The following post was written by professor Wacks. 

I have been in Uganda since last Saturday afternoon and now it is a week later. This is some of the most intense work I have done thus far in my career as a music therapist.   There is no comparison to any other population or life situation.

When thinking of building this trip in the future, it will take a very special type of individual who can handle witnessing the level of suffering and pain that all of North Uganda is experiencing. Every family has been touched in some way by the killings, the abductions and the residual effects of the war.

Music therapy professor Karen Wacks visits Uganda


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Kenya trip concludes with a visit to Starehe Boys Centre

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.

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Berklee visits Haba na Haba music program in Nairobi

On Saturday, the Berklee team visited a community music program in Nairobi’s Eastleigh slum called Haba na Haba. The project is an after school and Saturday music program that also offers opportunities for youth to participate in dance, drama, puppetry, and acrobatics. Eastleigh is one of the poorest areas of Nairobi.  We knew we were getting close when the road went from paved to entirely dirt, and the ride got extremely bumpy.

At this point, we were surrounded by tin shacks and buildings in disrepair, large piles of burning trash, and goats and turkeys roaming free by the side of the road. Despite the poverty, the young people here have a positive attitude and their passion for playing music is clear. Although they have very limited resources, they benefit greatly from attending the program.

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