Since its inception 20 years ago the school has participated in the Nelspruit Eisteddfod annually. This year two groups from the school participated and both got Prestige (A++) awards in the Light Music Instrumental category. The school states its intentions of developing holistic individuals who will be equipped emotionally, physically, mentally and intellectually to serve as leaders in society. Marimba is one of the tools used in the process of educating those future leaders.
Music and Maths are highly intertwined. By understanding beat, rhythm and scales learners learn how to divide, create fractions and recognize patterns. It is clinically proven that learners who are exposed to music perform better academically. Not only are such students good mathematically but they also know how to express themselves linguistically.
Marimba is not originally a South African instrument but is musical nonetheless. In order to play Marimba well one has to embrace elements of the cultures from which Marimba stems. This teaches one to be tolerant of all human beings despite diversity in colour, language and origin. The dream of a completely tolerant rainbow nation will find roots in a generation of leaders who have learnt to see beyond borders and language.
Playing Marimba comes with responsibilities. Maintenance and care are very important in keeping an instrument working. The instrument is delicate and can easily get out of tune or chip since it is made of light wood and gourds that act as resonators. The ability to organize, manage and maintain often is the difference between an ordinary leader and a good leader. Leaders need to practice such skills in order for them to be effective. This is another one of the lessons one can learn from the textbook of Marimba.
As evident in the learners who participated in the Eisteddfod, Marimba helps develop proper self-esteem. Getting positive results from the judge helps one realize how hard work and perseverance help to overcome challenges. Learning to play the instrument is challenging but rewarding. With reward comes the keenness to achieve more and to tackle more challenging issues. The result in the long run is a person who is prepared to face difficult situations head on and to work hard until those difficulties are resolved.
Apart from the more obvious lessons like teamwork, the development of social skills, boosting listening skills, self – discipline, development of confidence and exposure to cultural history, playing Marimba is a simple and stress free way of learning life’s most vital lessons. Whenever one comes across challenges the end result and not the journey to the end is what should be considered. The goal of education is to empower the mind to survive competently in an ever-changing world. With a list of qualities as long as the one above, there is no doubt that indeed Mathews Phosa College will keep achieving its goal of brewing successful leaders for South Africa and the world.