104 recorders were donated to Music Crossroads, and in January they traveled with
me from Norway to Malawi.
The recorder is not a popular instrument in Norway. The instrument has gotten a
bad reputation because every child is forced to play it in the 5th
with the rest of the class. It does not sound good when 20 kids are playing in unison
and many of the recorders are out of tune. You tune a recorder when playing and by
controlling the flow of air — this is very difficult.
I have a bachelors degree in classical music with the recorder as my main instrument.
Usually, when I tell people in Norway this they either start laughing or do not believe
me. They do not know that the recorder is a real classical instrument, that there is so
much music composed for it and that you can find recorders in many different shapes
Before I came to Malawi I had heard from last year’s participants that there was a
children group, Hear Us Children, that played some recorder music. When I arrived
in Malawi in August I was planning on teaching these children and not really hoping
for much more than thinking that the recorder would be the same in this country
as in Norway. But I was very surprised by the excitement my recorders caused.
People were curious and eventually very eager to learn how to play this instrument.
As a result, I had gotten many requests from the students to teach them to play the
recorder. The only problem was that Music Crossroads only had 5 recorders to
use and these were in real bad condition. This was an enormous problem because
the students did not get the chance to practice and the instruments also frequently
disappeared. I wanted to do something about this and decided to send emails to
friends, colleagues, family and teachers asking if they had a recorder or two laying
around which they did not have use of anymore. Already within a day I had gotten
a response, and at the end of the week the responses were massive. People really
wanted to help.
I travelled to Norway the 20th of December to celebrate Christmas. During the
three weeks I was at home I collected all the donations, and I was truly amazed. I had
received 104 recorders in different shapes and sizes! I packed all of these recorders in
my suitcase and brought them back to Malawi. I distributed the recorders to all of the
enthusiastic members of Music Crossroads who are interested in learning how to play
this classical instrument, and they were all really happy with the instruments. The last
week I have gotten many new students who are really motivated. My goal for the next
couple of months is to start a recorder ensemble at Music Crossroads and also end the
year with a concert.
I would like to thank all the kind people in Norway for their generous donations!
Stay tuned for more recorder news soon!