Volunteer Teaching Music in Jamaica

130817-teaching-01As a Music volunteer in Jamaica you will help with music education in the community of Mandeville, where Projects Abroad Jamaica is based. The project both focuses on traditional Jamaican music and incorporates the cultural influences of volunteers from all over the world.

Depending on the time of year, volunteers on the Music project either work in schools or on a community-based project. The school music project gives volunteers the option of teaching at the secondary school level or primary school level. During school breaks, volunteers work in the community teaching music to children, teenagers, and sometimes adults to help them learn how to play a musical instrument and develop their awareness and appreciation of music.

Your Role as a Music Volunteer Based in a School
Volunteers who prefer to work in a secondary school will assist the music teacher in teaching students how to play various instruments, mainly the piano, recorder, and guitar. The children are aged between 12 and 18. There are also older students who study music as a part of their external examinations. At certain times you may be required to do individual tutoring with these students to sharpen their knowledge and skills for the theoretical and practical aspects of their examinations.

Working in a primary school, the goal is to use music as a method to enhance math and reading skills. You will be required to prepare songs or use musical instruments to reinforce the lessons taught by the teachers. It is therefore important to work closely with the teachers to learn about the topics of the lessons and decide how best to incorporate the musical aspect.

Volunteers who are skilled in teaching singing can use their skills in conducting rehearsals with the school choir. We encourage volunteers to also use their singing and instrumental skills to teach the children songs so they can perform at the school’s devotional sessions.

Your Role as a Music Volunteer Based in the Community
The community music project is seasonal and offered mainly in periods when students are on break from school (July – August). On this project, music volunteers will share their knowledge and expertise by teaching children aged 6 to 18 to play the keyboard, guitar, violin, flute, and drums.

Volunteers should be enthusiastic, dedicated individuals who specialize in music education or be able to teach children how to play one or more of these instruments.

Your role as a volunteer on the community music project is to teach children how to play the instruments, how to improvise melodies, and how to compose and arrange music. You will teach the students how to read and write music and allow the children to listen, analyse, and describe a wide variety of musical pieces.

Volunteers are also encouraged to help the students understand the relationship between music and the other arts, and develop workshops focusing on different types of music. Music education can play a vital role in children’s development. Increasing their exposure to music and exploring their emotional response to certain types of music can engage some children where other subjects fail.

130817-teaching-02General Information About Teaching Music in Jamaica
Within the school settings you will be required to teach large classes of over 30 students with limited resources and classroom space. It is therefore important that volunteers be enthusiastic about music and able to inspire the children to develop both theoretical and practical musical knowledge and skills.

Projects Abroad and the local partners will provide all the necessary materials and resources you may need during your time on this project. However, please feel free to bring along your own musical instruments.

Projects Abroad also organizes regular workshops in order to help and support volunteers on the Music project. The workshops provide tools and tips on how to better organize your work, let you discuss and solve any issues, and offer an opportunity to receive and give feedback. You will also be able to learn some new activities to try out at your placement.

Please let us know when you apply if you have any preferences or suggestions of how you can best contribute to the project.

This project is available for less than a month if you don’t have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for shorter durations for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone participating for a longer period.

For those with interest in Dance and Drama, we also have a Dance & Drama project in Jamaica.

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About the author

Yndiana Montes

For over 25 años, Yndiana Montes has traveled around the Caribbean to promote the tourist attractions of this beautiful region of our continent. She currently lives in Wilmington, NC (USA), from where she runs Solocaribe Inc.