Music Therapy in Africa

Brenda Pike
June 7, 2007
Amanda Maestro-Scherer with Benjamin.
Becky Vaudreuil and Gwyndolyn Jones (right).
Claudia Eliaza (right).
Photo Samite Mulondo
Photo Samite Mulondo
Photo Samite Mulondo

In May, eight music therapy students brought the expertise they acquired at Berklee to Africa. Along with faculty member Karen Wacks, the students worked with children at two Kenyan orphanages, where many of the children had lost parents to AIDS or were themselves infected. There, the students taught the children to play instruments, sang and danced with them, and encouraged them to express themselves. Together, they composed music, recorded tracks in GarageBand, and even performed with Berklee alumnus Eric Wainaina at the Splash Music Festival. As each child was different, so was each song, from lullabies to rap.

The trip was organized in partnership with the nonprofit organization Musicians for World Harmony, a group created by former Ugandan refugee Samite Mulondo. In January of 2006, Berklee student Amanda Maestro-Scherer traveled to these same orphanages with Mulondo's group, and her experience was the beginning of a greater relationship between Berklee and Musicians for World Harmony.

To read the students' blog about their trip, and to see a video of the student-composed song "We Are One" performed with the children, visit the Music Therapy Department website.