The Need for Education & Training
An acute lack of readily available educational resource materials that teachers/learners can utilise to fulfil the objectives of the Arts & Entrepreneurship Curriculum is evident, especially in terms of traditional musical instruments. To tackle this challenge, a Training Programme for Music Department Staff at the Lesotho College of Education, as well as pre-service teacher trainees and young trainee artists was carried out. The Music Training Programme was designed to teach the basics of how to play and how to construct indigenous musical instruments. The program was conducted at the Morija Arts Centre and the Lesotho College of Education.
In addition to the training which was carried out by Mpho Molikeng, other measures were taken to develop educational resource materials. In particular, we have endeavoured to compile a Basotho ethnomusicology Module (Study Aid Kit) in close collaboration with the Project Research Department, Lesotho College of Education (LCE) and Lesotho National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC).
Progress in Education & Training
The Basotho Ethnomusicology Workbook From its inception, the Sound Connects Project was expected to become integrated into the Lesotho College of Education curriculum for Music. However, given certain transitions that occurred within the LCE during 2022, such expectations were not realized and it may take some years before this dream is fully realised.
As such, the current initiative is treated as a project within LCE, meaning that teacher trainees studying music for both primary and secondary levels are encouraged to learn instruments, including indigenous Basotho instruments. The hope is that they will take up this opportunity now that such instruments have been incorporated into the national school curriculum, and the foundation for leaning / teaching such instruments has been enhanced through the Sound Connects Project.
Through LCE and the online resource library, it is hoped that this type of music will progressively be taught in schools across Lesotho. In order to succeed in this regard, MMA requested the assistance of NCDC in providing guidance to the Education Unit on this Project, in particular, to design the teaching/learning modules in such a manner that these will be most appropriate for those concerned. The result is the Basotho Ethnomusicology Music Module.
The Teaching and Training Resource Person who has been instructing students, lecturers, and artists for the entirety of the project is Mpho Molikeng who has mastered the skill of playing and making many indigenous instruments from across the region. For over 20 years he has trained people in traditional instruments across South Africa. He is now engaged as a consultant with Rhodes University in a project, “Indigenous Music Technology (IMT)” that will culminate in a conference on traditional instruments during 2023. Mpho is lecturing on traditional instruments with the University of North West and has been a visiting lecturer at Wits University for the past five years.