Members of the Corps of Army Music were recently deployed to work with the Ugandan Peoples Defence Force musicians as a Short Term Training Team (STTT).
We have been training the musicians by providing lessons in music theory, instrumental tuition, ensemble playing and sectional work. The team visits to various countries facilitate the building of a certain level of cooperation between the two countries, both sides benefit as the British Army help the Ugandans build a more professional band and at the same time it creates opportunities for British interests in Uganda to be addressed behind the scenes.
While in Uganda the team visited the capital city, Kampala, where a part of the team’s aim was to work with the new and exciting charity ‘Brass for Africa’. Founded by airline pilot Jim Trott in 2009, the charity works from various orphanages in impoverished parts of Kampala, providing instruments for the under-privileged children who live there.
The charity collects unwanted brass instruments from all over the world and gives them to these children, working with them and forming bands for them to play in and giving them a musical education. This is encompassed by the acronym M-LISADA, which stands for Music – Life Skills and Destitution Alleviation; an ethos as well as a title for the charity’s musical work.
Lance Corporal Challinor (Corps of Army Music) said; “It’s so rewarding working with these young people, knowing that what you’re doing can lead to them having a real future and a life away from the poverty they’ve grown up with.”
The team found this to be an overwhelmingly positive experience and could not fail to be touched by the plight of these young people.
The team have also performed as an ensemble alongside the M-LISADA Band, providing musical support to the British Defence Attaché’s reception for senior officers of the Ugandan Peoples Defence Force as they helped Uganda to celebrate Commonwealth Day. This is an example of music being used as a ‘soft and disproportionate effect’ to aid the advancement of Defence Diplomacy, meaning that a mere handful of musicians giving a little help to other countries’ armed forces bands gives cause for two nations to come together and create opportunities for discussions that might not otherwise be possible.