Schools I’ve Worked With


Rwanda . . .

(Overview of Music Education in Rwanda)

Green Hills Academy (Kigali)

Kigali International Community School (Kigali)

Wellspring Academy (Nyarutarama)

Niyo Cultural Center (Kigali)

Zambia . . .

Zazibona Music Foundation (Lusaka)


(Overview of Music Education in Haiti)

The Music Guerrilla is very excited to partner with BLUME Haiti, (Building Leaders Using Music Education) in support of music programs in Haiti! BLUME is a terrific organization that has been doing amazing things in Haiti for quite some time. Much of the information provided for the following schools was in large part from BLUME’s website!

CEMUCHCA Music Institute (Cap Haitian)

Dessaix-Baptiste Music School (Jacmel)

Ambassador’s Music Institute – AMI (Marin)

Fondation St. Cecile (Croix des Bouquets)

Holy Trinity Music School (Port-au-Prince


Centennial High School (Compton, CA)

Green Hills Academy school was founded in 1996 by First Lady: Jeannette Kagame, with the intent on being a leader in educational reform and recovery in Rwanda. GHA has about 1700 students from nursery school to grade 12, and is considered one of the top schools – if not the top – in Rwanda.  Roughly 80% of students are Rwandan, and in total, approximately 50 nationalities are represented. Many government officials and country leaders send their children to Green Hills and as such, it is a school that can model growth and new reforms in education.  4 years ago, because of the administration’s belief in their importance to the school mission, music and instrumental instruction were added within the curriculum – the first of what is now three schools in the entire country that have such a program. The band and orchestra program at GHA continues to grow and is a source of pride for not only the school, but Kigali and Rwanda, and provides a shining example of what an instrumental music program can offer to students, the community and the culture. (

Kigali International Community School is a US-accredited, primary/secondary school founded in 2006 by ex-pats seeking a “Christian-centered” learning environment for their children. It’s approximately 300-member student population represents 27 nationalities and was originally the first school to have a band program in Rwanda, before being discontinued by a new administrator some years ago. That administrator didn’t last, but the dream of having an instrumental music program did. Now, the program is back and growing. The small rehearsal area for the current band is busting at the seems, but there’s always room for more. (



Wellspring Academy is a private Christian School in Nyarutarama (a “suburb” of Kigali), utilizing a more traditional Rwandan curriculum, or, as Lance Gaskill of Green Hills Academy puts it: “. . . Their style of classes and curriculum is somewhere between traditional Rwandan public schools and the upper-level approach of KICS and GHA.” Instrumental music is starting for the very first time at Wellspring this year, beginning with grades 6-8 and taught by the 3-person faculty from Green Hills Academy, time-permitting. The Academy made a substantial monetary investment to acquire (used and donated) instruments and equipment, and with materials in place, now looks to push the program forward. Wellspring Academy hopes to hire a full-time music teacher for academic year 2018-19. There is currently room for 38 students in this newest instrumental program in Rwanda. (

A Program of a different sort . . . The NIYO Cultural Center.

The NIYO Cultural Center is the first truly traditional program to partner with The Music Guerrilla. The creation of former street-child Pacifique Niyonsenga, the non-profit Center teaches: “traditional Rwandan drumming and dance to impoverished children . . giving them the confidence and inspiration to use their skills to earn money for their own education, medical expenses and day-to-day living.” NCC also has a very robust art initiative as well. The Center operates on donations and it is the intent of TMG to assist with Pacifique by finding a partner school or organization to help raise funds. The work done by this center is nothing less than life-saving and is built upon a foundation of pure Rwandan culture. (

The Zazibona Music Foundation begin in 2015 in Choma, Zambia by friends Shambwe Maxwell Kabai and Jacob Likando before moving to Lusaka. It is a registered as an official non-profit as required by Zambian Law and currently relies on the kindness of church & public spaces for teaching areas. It’s curriculum includes music composition, instrumental instruction (of all kinds!), voice training, conducting, music theory, music history and culture, and music production. The ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) curriculum guides it’s efforts both in terms of teaching and assessment. While The Foundation’s student musicians are composed of many ages, ages 7-18 are a main focus with special emphasis on the less-privileged – a much needed focus, yet needing assistance itself.

In Partnership with . . .

CEMUCHCA (Circle of Christian Musicians of Cap Haitian) is committed to providing change in artistic production in Haiti. Located in the Northern District, CEMUCHCA is one of the largest music initiatives – perhaps the largest – in the country. It’s goal, revisioned in 2004, is to “provide considerable change in artistic production in Haiti.” Four of it’s most important objectives include:

1 – Increasing the number of high-level artists throughout the North of Haiti by identifying and assisting potentially talented children and adolescents.

2 – Initiating artistic training for about 100 young people per year within the various disciplines offered.

3 – Building a facility and accompanying curriculum that aspires to international standards.

4 – Providing a summer camp designed to promote and improve the quality of training programs offered in various related schools throughout the country.

The Cemuchca Music Institute, founded in 2007, has a reputation as high among the three largest schools of music worthy of that name in Haiti. The music school has about 300 students of which 200 are active. In addition, CEMUCHCA supports very active annexes in Limbe, Milot,  and Port-au-Prince, with more planned in St. Louis du Nord and on the island of La Gonnave.

Teaching strings has been very productive in large part due to highly dynamic teachers and, above all, due to the large number of students who choose this option, which include violin, viola, cello and bass. The band program is growing and in need of teachers to guide young people who have chosen wind instruments such as trumpet, French horn, trombone, saxophone etc… There are also a significant number of students in piano, which consists mainly of young beginners. There are three core music theory tracks: one for children aged between 5 and 12 years, a second for youth 13 to 19 and a third for adults. In the first track, children learn basic music theory, singing and recorder (mandatory. In the second track, young people are introduced to music history, advanced music theory, rhythmic dictation, melodic dictation and sight singing. The third group follows the same programs as above, but with a pace more appropriate to adults.

The annual CEMUCHCA Music Camp, presented in partnership with Blume Haiti and President Janet Anthony, attracts over 150 students, along with fifteen Haitian teachers and foreign volunteers. It’s numbers continue to grow and the camp not only serves as a training ground for young musicians, but for many of the North District’s music teachers as well. The Music Guerrilla is the newest partner to this outstanding musical opportunity.

(Information taken from

In partnership with . . .

“Founded in 1998, the Dessaix-Baptiste Music School was created to offer the children of Jacmel a positive alternative to violence, prostitution, drugs and delinquency, to create the next generation of Haitian musicians, by giving them as good a formation in music as possible and to allow its students the possibility to earn their livelihoods through performance, teaching and composition.

After twelve years of existence, the Dessaix Baptiste Music School currently has 1160 students enrolled in a diverse group of classes, lessons and ensembles. From beginning solfege for the newest students to 3 bands, 3 orchestras, 2 jazz bands; lessons on all instruments; and theory and conducting classes as there are teachers available, there is a great deal of activity.

The music school has also provided for many street children in the city of Jacmel who come from very difficult circumstance in search of a better life. The children, often deserted by their parents who are incapable of feeding and educating them, frequently become beggars in the street or have very small business near the bus stations.

Currently, a large number of the students at the school under the age of 16 are what one could consider at-risk youth, coming from orphanages and youth group homes. They are fully integrated into the structure of the school without regard to social or economic status.

The school has an obligatory solfege class for all beginning students (at the moment, there are five levels meeting every Saturday for this instruction). In addition to scholarships for music study, over 140 children from the surrounding area from very disadvantaged backgrounds are also being fed and clothed by the school with the goal of giving these children the chance to earn their livelihoods and to become integrated into the general society.

Students receive a lesson each week and, depending on the instrument, also play in ensembles. There are three levels of orchestra, three levels of band, two levels of jazz band  – the advanced groups are open to all by audition. There are regular recitals of students and staff and regular concerts with the various ensembles.

Because the administration of the Dessaix-Baptiste Music School realizes the importance of music education in the creation of a civil society, the school is actively supporting the creation of other music programs in the country.

In the area outside of Jacmel there are close to 700 students getting lessons and playing in ensembles in Marigot, Cayes Jacmel and, most recently, Coq Chant – all programs started by the DBMS and served by teachers of the school.  Dessaix-Baptiste has also helped in the formation of schools elsewhere in the country including Cité Soleil and Godet in Kenscoff in or near Port-au-Prince, and Aux Cayes, Miragoane and Port Salut in the south through gifts of instruments (given by Food for the Poor to DBMS for this express purpose) and materials.

The school is just beginning to take advantage of existing technology with regular SKYPE lessons being set up with several teachers in the United States (if there are no technical difficulties). Though difficult (because of internet connection speeds), several teachers are also using the internet to expose their students to a large range of music.

The Dessaix-Baptiste Music School offers one of the few places in the country where students from all social classes and economic backgrounds can meet as equals. In Haiti’s very stratified society, this is of invaluable worth. Here a street child realizes that he or she has the potential to become a valuable, contributing member of civil society.

The vast majority of students at the school are unable to afford the very modest monthly fee of 200 Gourdes (about $5.00 US). The school is always seeking innovative ways to enable these students to continue their studies.

The current school building was gutted and extensively repaired by the Dessaix Baptist Music School (with the help of a large number of national and international entities – UNESCO, the European Union, the embassies of Taiwan and Japan, Food for the Poor, Save the Children, etc) before they moved in.  Almost immediately, the school proved to be woefully inadequate for their needs. Looking towards the future, the administration of the Dessaix Baptiste Music School would like to be able to offer students from the region and the country the opportunity to acquire a university level music education. To this end, land has been purchased and plans have been drawn up for a School of the Arts and Culture in Jacmel.”

(Information was taken from blumehaiti.org

In partnership with . . .

Ambassador’s Music Institute is a music school in Maren near Croix Des Bouquets, just outside of Port-au-Prince

It’s Mission is to give yong people other alternatives to violence, to help the country of Haiti advance.

Founded in 1997 and serving a diverse population, AMI offers its 150 students lessons on all band instruments, most string instruments, piano and has theory classes. There are annual summer camps and a wide range of activities during the year.  Ensembles inlcude Mini Harmonie, Grand Harmonie, and Strings.”

(Information was taken from blumehaiti.org

In partnership with . . .

“Created in 2005 by master Haitian drummer and percussionist Jeoboham Jean Pierre, Fondation Ste. Cecile of Croix des Bouquets, Haiti, accepts all students regardless of financial means. Students, who range in age from 6 to 25, meet weekly during the school year for orchestra rehearsal and for a three-week summer camp that includes theory classes, lessons, sectionals, ensemble rehearsals, and recitals, as well as a free daily meal. The Fondation Ste. Cecile orchestra has performed in many locations around the greater Port-au-Prince orchestra.”

(Information was taken from blumehaiti.org

In partnership with . . .

“The Holy Trinity Music School (HTMS) was established in Port-au-Prince in 1956 by Sister Anne-Marie of the Convent of St. Marguerite and is part of the Episcopal Church of Haiti. As a nonprofit institution, HTMS provides training in music for Haitians of all ages and from all socianil strata. Father David Cesar became director of the music school in the mid 1990’s and it now has a teaching staff of 50 (all trained by the institution) and offers programs that provide musical training at the highest level to over 1500 students in all instrumental and vocal areas.

As the oldest community music school in the country, HTMS is proud to serve as the point of reference in the domain of art music in Haiti. A leader in this field, the school has not only helped to establish other music programs across the country, it also strives to eliminate existing barriers to participation by enabling a diverse group of children, youths and adults to benefit from the good that music study can bring.  To this end, HTMS has helped to establish numerous music programs across the country in underserved areas.

Home of the Holy Trinity Philharmonic Orchestra, the country’s foremost such ensemble, HTMS also has a number of training orchestras, bands and several choirs. Long established programs and more recent initiatives have maintained the depth and breadth of offerings at the school:

The Holy Trinity Primary School Program enables youngsters between the ages of 5 and 12 to receive 4 hours of lessons every week and to participate in ensembles. For decades this program has provided the core of the Holy Trinity Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Private Lesson Program enables musicians of all ages to study music and offers opportunities to participate in the appropriate ensembles. Students receive an hour lesson and an hour of music theory each week in addition to their ensemble participation

A teacher training initiative, the Extension Program gives teachers the skills to work effectively with young musicians. Currently it supports programs in Hinche, Mirebalais, Cange and many private schools in the metropolitan area. Through this program the HTMS also offers student scholarships to the 3 week long summer music camp.

The Orchestra Program for at-risk Youth began with the help of the Organization of American States in 2009. An “El Sistema” type program specifically aimed at youths living in the most disadvantaged areas of the capital, the original idea was to have the program last for three years.  However, the program proved to be such a success, both academically and socially, that the school found the resources to be able to continue to offer high quality music education to those most in need. The goals of this program are to reduce the level of violence among young people and to encourage children to stay in school. With the re-orientation and social support that music programs provide, at-risk children and young adults will be able to redirect their talents to become productive members of their society.

The Summer Music Camp has been a part of HTMS since 1971 when the very first camp was held in Leogane (about 25 miles outside of Port-au-Prince). Since then, there has been a music camp every summer, even during the most highly charged moments of political unrest. In 2010, after the complete destruction of the campus and its facilities by the earthquake, the summer program was transferred to Cange, about an hour and a half northeast of the capital. With participation from teachers and students from abroad (in recent years the United States, Spain and Columbia have been well represented), the camp offers a truly international exchange. Along with the daily work of rehearsals, lessons, sectionals, and chamber music, theory, conducting and management classes, the camp offers two recitals a week and very popular Sunday concerts that feature the participation of all of the ensembles: three choirs, a symphonic band and two orchestras! HTMS welcomes the participation of qualified musicians from around the country and gives special attention to the young students of the local satellite programs.”

(Information was taken from blumehaiti.org

Compton, California is often synonymous with the birthplace of West Coast gangsta rap, rampant gang violence and random drive-by shootings. The image of this mid-sized, south Los Angeles community continues in pop culture despite being several decades removed from events perpetrated in the media from the 1980’s & 1990’s. Still, while crime is comparatively way down compared to those times, and the economy is improving, Compton continues to struggle with its identity as many of it’s younger citizens struggle to find hope, possibility and a sense of place.

Centennial High School boasts its share of famous past students – especially musicians – including the members of N.W.A (Eazy-E, MC Ren, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube), The Game and Kendrick Lamar. However, the 950-member student body at CHS has challenges, as evidenced from the last census in 2010, including 33% of students classified as LEP (Limited English Proficiency), 10% involved in Special Education Programs, 100% qualifying for free/reduced lunch, and having been classified as a “persistently low-achieving school” with a graduation rate of less than 60%. The gang presence is still strong in Compton and at Centennial High School, where the student population reflects the changing demographics of the city itself: 71% Latino, 27% African-American and 2% other/multiple/no-response. Despite these challenges, recent administrative vision has given Centennial new life and direction. Recently, CHS received full accreditation through 2021 from the Accrediting Commission for Schools – Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC) Spring of 2017.

The band program at Centennial High School has weathered fluctuating numbers and changes in social climate over the years, but struggles to fund itself, acquire equipment and materials, and receive the support needed to give students choosing to pursue an instrumental education the tools they need to participate in an activity that not only provides an alternative to a “street” life-style, but possibly allowing a student to live into his or her own dreams and possibilities. html)