AFGHAN STUDENTS DISTANCE LEARNING – Orchestra of St John's | Taking classical music out into the community


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For a couple of months our Associate Conductor Cayenna Ponchione and OSJ musicians have provided distance learning to the students of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). The experience is proving greatly enriching to both Britain based musicians and their Afghan tutees.

Currently the students take lessons with OSJ Principal Trumpet Paul Archibald, Associate Conductor Cayenna Ponchione and with composer, Toby Young over a Skype video link.

We have recently received enthusiastic feedback and observations on the progress of the students throughout the past months.

Dr Ahmad Sarmast, Founder and Director of ANIM the Afghanistan National Institute of Music writes:

It is my immense pleasure to thank you all for your contribution to the professional development of our students in conducting, piano, trumpet and composition. In the past few months there was an enormous progress in skills of students who benefited from this initiative directly.
His colleague Lauren Braithwaite, wind teacher, says:

‘I would like to express my sincerest gratitude and appreciation for the work you have been doing this term with our students. At the school I work in the woodwind studio (…) I have had the pleasure of witnessing just how much the sessions with each one of you have had an impact on all areas of the students’ learning.’

‘The school has now turned into a hotbed of budding young composers and the students are really excited about continuing next year.’

‘The lessons are so informative for the students and have opened up a world of musical possibilities for them. It’s been just great.’

‘But it is not only musically that these sessions impact the students. On a personal level the students develop a very strong bond with their teachers (even if it is over Skype) and they realise the importance of your time and commitment to their learning.’


For more information about this programme and how to support it see our Work in the Community dedicated page 

To read more about ANIM the Afghanistan National Institute of Music

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