The book of Lee Higgins, Community Music: Theory and Practice, finally voiced the underlying philosophy I had when it came to community music. The fact that he mentions the notion of unconditional hospitality – welcoming the potential music participant with open arms – resonated so strongly with my beliefs as music teacher in the Atteridgeville and Hillbrow communities. The book is really a must read for any community musician.
Music teaching in the Atteridgeville community is always approached with a sense of hospitality. Welcoming any participant that has an interest in playing the violin. No auditions. No questions asked. Every child can learn the violin with us.
To quote Derrida on his writings of hospitality: “hospitality, if there is such a thing, is an experience…” We try to give our students the experience of hospitality every time when we teach them through a hug, a smile or a compliment. Sometimes it is hard though, when the children centres have visitors or functions and the whole teaching environment is in chaos, when the instruments break or when there is so much noise… How does one create a sense of hospitality in a challenging teaching environment?
So on that note I would like to welcome you to our blog that centers around community music programmes that we are involved in Atteridgeville and Hillbrow. If you’re involved in similar community music programmes in your area, please leave a comment and share your experiences of how hospitality features in your community music programme.