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Teaching Music in the Galapagos

Hello! My name is Sara Knapp and I am teaching music in the Galapagos Islands for eight weeks through Performing Arts Abroad. I am a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

I taught today!

This morning started with a taxi ride to the office where Projects Galápagos is housed. We spoke to the director, William, and decided where we would be able to best use our concentrations. At first, they wanted to me to work in the high school writing compiling music arrangements and creating a way to teach what a marching band was so the high school could play in a parade. However, after talking to the teacher there, she thought I would be a better fit at a place called “The Art Center,” which is pictured below. Here, I teach a music appreciation class for preschool children, a beginning piano class, two classes with children on recorders, and a clarinet and saxophone class. The four classes keep me extremely busy, especially trying to teach new material and correct bad habits in Spanish. It’s especially difficult when I can barely put together one way to explain something, let alone the many I need so the different students understand!

Thankfully, though, la classes de espanol begin tomorrow morning! I can’t wait! I have a list of words that I need the instructor to translate for me to use while I’m teaching. At this point, though, it seems like my vocabluluary is made up of Spanglish; I talk in very tiny words with the wrong conjugations in both languages. Thankfully it seems to work for now, but I’ve caught myself a few times trying to do that while writing this post!

If you read my first post, you’ll understand how this trip is totally a God thing. Well, today the teacher at the music school asked in her broken English if I wanted to play my flute at the children’s recital at the church on Saturday. Once I understood what she was talking about, I agreed! The rest of the day I had a difficult time communicating with her due to the lack of knowledge of the other language. However, when we were going to practice, she gave me a hymnal to play from. We played duets from the hymnal for the next hour; it connected us in a way that literally nothing else could.

This reaffirmed two things for me. First and foremost, God has yet again affirmed that He is in control, and I hope I’m listening! It also exemplified the foundation of my music education philosophy: music crosses all borders and challenges. Excited does not even begin to describe the magnitude of my eagerness to continue teaching here. I feel there will be numerous instances in which I feel connected to these people only through music. The universal ideals presented by and through music only grow in power and magnitude each time they are experienced. I am thankful to be able to have many chances to experience this!

As they say in San Cristobal, “Chow! Buenas noches!”

See more blog posts from Sarah here:

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