Heartfelt highlights in Haiti....
Music at the New Christian School of Tabarre - October 2016
It all started at the teachers' meeting that we had in Haiti on our October 2015 trip. The teachers shared with us that they wanted to have a music program in their school. When the Joy in Haiti board met in the spring of 2016, we discussed some ideas and decided that it would be best to have the students learn how to play the recorder. Thirty five recorders were purchased (thanks to the generosity of a Joy in Haiti supporter) and several others were donated. This would be enough recorders for the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students. Also purchased was a recorder curriculum called Recorder Karate. The unknown was if any of the students had ever had any musical training or if there would be a teacher to continue working with the curriculum once I left. Before the trip, I spent a lot of time praying about how to introduce note reading, rhythms, and the recorders to the students. I decided to start with basic note values and I made posters with various rhythms. I also took rhythm sticks to use with the students. Upon our arrival in Haiti, we learned from Pastor and Joseline that they had just hired a music teacher for the school, and his first day was our first day at the school!! AMAZING!! God is SO good! I should never be surprised at how God works to carry out His plan! This was such an incredible blessing! The new music teacher, Emmanuel (seen in picture, above right), spent time his first day auditioning students for a school choir, and I didn't get to speak with him that day. When we went back to the school the next week, Emmanuel was teaching in the third grade class. I wanted to observe him before I spoke with him. When I walked into the classroom, he was teaching the students basic note values, which is something I had done the week before! I jumped right in and we taught together, even without the help of a translator! Music is a universal language ... no translation needed! We worked with the poster board rhythms and rhythm sticks and went from class to class. After doing this, we went back to the school office where I showed Emmanuel the recorders and recorder curriculum. He was so excited! He already knew how to play the recorder, and he was extremely thankful to have the books for the students to use. He shared with me that he teaches at 3 different schools, and this was now his favorite school because he had supplies to use with the children! He also said the next time I am in Haiti, he will have the students play a concert for me on their recorders!
I worked with the students and their recorders on 2 different days, and it was so much fun! They absolutely loved playing them! Some were catching on faster than others, but they all enjoyed the experience. I can't wait to find out how they're progressing.
The highlight of my trip in October was sharing my love of music with these precious students and meeting their new music teacher!! Music is an incredible gift from the Lord, and it's something that everyone can enjoy and benefit from learning.---Stefanie Liesman