July 10, 2016
Edward Swider is the Coordinator for the Early Childhood and Primary music programmes at YCIS Shanghai’s Regency Park and Century Park campuses. This summer he will be travelling to Kabul to teach music at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), and he recently reflected on the opportunity ahead.
“I feel we are very fortunate at YCIS to have such fantastic music teachers and ample resources to be able teach our students an array of instruments and musical genres. In addition, I appreciate that YCIS places a great deal of focus on the continued professional development of its staff, and as such, this summer I’ll be going to teach music in Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) is an incredible school for Afghan children, providing its students with the opportunity to receive a world class music education that includes both Western and Afghan music. It is the only institution of its kind, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
In Afghanistan, music was banned under the Taliban, but since 2009 ANIM has working hard to bring it back. It is the only music school in Afghanistan and it is committed to educating those who rarely receive formal music education. In fact, half of the students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and half are women.
The program at ANIM currently has a strong string focus but it’s difficult to find woodwind and brass teachers in Afghanistan. At the moment there are brass students enrolled the school without a teacher, so I will be going to teach trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium, and tuba.
The Afghan Youth Orchestra that I’ll be working with is made up of western and traditional Afghan instruments played by a group of very talented young musicians. In 2013, they even had the opportunity to tour in the United States where they performed in some of the world’s most prestigious concert venues, including Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center. What these children are doing is extremely inspiring. By creating beautiful music in a country that’s been ravaged by war, they’re showing that even in the most difficult of circumstances, music will always find a way.
As a teacher, it’s important to always continue learning and developing new skills. I am very much looking forward to not only learning from the other teachers and students in Afghanistan, but also to immersing myself in an entirely different educational setting from the very international one found at YCIS.
One of my favorite things about teaching at YCIS is the international student body and global mindset. I’m sure that my experience in Afghanistan will provide me with new tools and ideas that I can share with my students and fellow colleagues upon my return, continuing to add to the unique, globalized learning environment at our school.”
To learn more about the music programme at YCIS, click here.