Music lessons offer new opportunities to Athlone kids

Children taking part in a new music programme get to grips with a drum kit.

Athlone children have a chance to play a musical instrument of their choice thanks to the City and the Wet Rain Academy (WRA), a private performing-arts school.

About 20 children registered for the eight-to-ten-week programme, according to Darryl Manuel, chief executive officer of the WRA, which used to be based in Athlone but is now in Kuils River.

The programme takes place at the Athlone Stadium on Wednesdays after school and on Saturday mornings in Old Nooiensfontein Road, Kuils River. The children are picked up by a WRA driver.

The children are pupils at Kewtown and Bokmakierie primary schools and Spes Bona High School.

Bokmakierie Primary School principal Michele Pinto said the four pupils at her school were thrilled to play an instrument of their choice – some of them had some musical experience, but others did not.

“Parents are quite keen about it, and they are very thankful for the opportunity. One never knows where it might take them in life,” she said.

Children will learn to play an instrument of their choice.

Mr Manuel said the children had been eager to return after their first class. They would also learn musical theory while learning to play an instrument, he said, adding that music was a healthy outlet, especially for children who faced difficult circumstances.

“Some of the children in the programme grow up in a tough, harsh environment, and they have no outlet. Here there is no judgement. They are just having fun in their programme. I hope that more music institutions can invest more in children, and perhaps this will change the way they feel about themselves.”

Ward 49 councillor Rashid Adams said the R200 000 pilot programme had been sponsored by the ward allocation to focus on enriching art and music in the community.

“I’m really excited to see where this project will go. It has the potential to open many doors for pupils, and it is a platform for them to recognise their self-worth.”