Waitrose Foundation At Work

The Impact of Music Appreciation Programmes in Rural Communities

November 2020

We recently received feedback from Betsie Ryke, CEO of the Rural Arts Network (RAN), one of our service providers active in the Grabouw area and directly working with many of the children of our grower partners' farm workers in the area.

As lockdown started in March the RAN team realised that their programmes would not align with COVID safety measures and they had to make significant adjustments in order to comply with all safety protocols. As a result a new Music Appreciation programme was created.

The team used the period from April to July to do administrative updates, compile reports, communicate with schools and stakeholders as to how they could support them during that time and to work on content for the new music appreciation programme.

After engaging with schools and doing a needs analysis, the schools conveyed that RAN could be of great assistance with the Foundation Phase learners (Grades 1-3). Not only could they assist with relieving the stress, fear, and anxiety that younger learners experienced, but they could bring much needed distraction from the intense academic programme that had to be followed.

Learners were not allowed to play or run around during break time which made the music appreciation programme intervention even more of a necessity. It has been implemented at 6 schools since August and will continue until 15 December 2020. So far 956 learners are involved.

This new programme has had such an impact on both teachers and learners that all 6 schools have requested that RAN should continue the programme in 2021.

Music, rhythm and dance are getting Grabouw learners dancing, smiling and having fun while at the same time learning an appreciation for music. Well done to Betsie and her team for all their efforts and commitment to the young people in our rural farming communities.