Constantia Primary is alive with the sound of music

From Grade R to Grade 7, Constantia Primary School’s pupils are now learning music thanks to donations of instruments.

Earlier this year, Constantia Primary sounded a call for instruments so its pupils could learn the joy of music.

The school, at the junction of Spaanschemat River Road and Ladies Mile Extension, was established in 1910. Most of its pupils are the children of farmworkers and residents of informal settlements who battle to pay the annual R650 school fees.

The story (“Giving the joy of music,” Bulletin May 13) was widely read, and at the start of the last term, the school received 519 recorders.

Last week, Constantia Primary held a celebratory concert with its prize-giving.

Principal Alistair Adams says the overwhelming response to the school’s appeal for instruments made his heart “bounce from happiness” because all his pupils, from Grade R to Grade 7, can now learn to play an instrument.

“I am so proud of Team Constantia… We are blessed. These learners have so much talent. If we don’t recognise this they will get lost out there.”

Through playing music, the pupils learnt discipline, maths, concentration, literacy and their focus in class improved, he said.

“Our chief goal is to bring glory to our school and imbibe a value of learning every day so that when these children leave the school, they will be on Grade 7 music and can take music as a subject in high school. Not all of these children are academically inclined,” said Mr Adams.

Music teacher Christopher Siljeur said the school had started a music programme during 2019, but it had lapsed during the Covid-19 pandemic. He invited everyone to return next year when the school would host carols by candlelight with music by its own orchestra.

There were also plans for a school song – something the school had not had in its 100-year history, he said.

The school is happy to accept any type of musical instrument – particularly those used in a band or orchestra – and music stands.

At the ceremony, the principal’s award went to Sininetle Tiki, 12, who played a recorder solo. She said she had learnt self-discipline from her four years of playing the recorder, it had given her a sense of belonging and she loved the challenge of learning a new piece of music.

She would love to play the violin because of its soft sound and the elegance of people playing it, she said.

Abulele Dumo, 13, also played solo. He started playing the recorder nine years ago and would like to play the trumpet or guitar. He said his parents told him that music could create opportunities for him.

Takudzwa Chilumba, 11, said his whole family played music. His dad is a professional guitarist and his mother is a baker who plays the drums.

Bright Sanders, 12, has been playing for four years and said it had been fun to learn the notes and be challenged by a new piece of music. He said the trumpet looked fun to play.

Watching through the school fence (parents are not allowed on the grounds due to Covid-19), Amy-Jane Jacobs said her daughter, Autumn, 9, had started piano lessons this year.

“Music is very important and encourages musicality and discipline,” she said, adding that Autumn was excited because her music teacher had told her she could start violin next year.

Mike Chikodnda, 8, said he enjoyed playing the recorder when he was feeling sad because it made him feel better, like he was flying.

Naomie Lokemba, 7, said she loved the different sounds the recorder made and would like to move on to play the trumpet.

Backing was provided by the New Apostolic Church orchestra, whose members come from across Cape Town. According to their spokesperson, Jo-Anne Meyer, from Sun Valley, they are professional and intermediate but all started off playing the recorder.

Double bass player Christine Siljeur said that if they could leave the school with only one child taking up music it would be a double blessing.

Call 021 794 6186 or email if you can help.

Trophies were presented to pupils at the concert and prize-giving.
Constantia Primary is on a drive to teach music to its pupils.
Backing was provided by the New Apostolic Church.
Constantia Primary principal Alistair Adams plays the recorder.
Abulele Dumo, 13, played solo.
Some pupils started learning music at the beginning of last term.
Sininetle Tiki, 12, played a recorder solo and also received the principal’s award for her excellent exam results.
The whole school took part in the celebratory music concert.
There are budding conductors too…
Amy-Jane Jacobs and her mother, Lynette Poole, watched through the school fence (parents are not allowed on the grounds due to Covid-19) as Ms Jacobs’s daughter, Autumn, 9, and other pupils performed.