A Report by Professor James Isabirye – Indigenous music learning in contemporary contexts: Nurturing learner identity, agency, and passion

We are thrilled that our friend and colleague Professor James Isabirye has recently had a report published, after his in depth research into music learning practices. After extensive work reviving the Bigwala, his report focuses on the indigenous teaching methods used with the young people involved in the project, what this meant for the sustainability for the instruments future, and how this impacted the young people’s identity and associations with the Bigwala-playing community.

You can find the full report on the Sage website here: https://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/EBNMQEBVD9ECYMFJF8EP/full

Professor Isabirye’s extensive work in reviving lost instruments so that they will be passed through future generations doesn’t just stop with the Bigwala. He was a vital part of restoring the Royal Entenga Drummers, and is currently working on a project to restore the lost lyre, the Entongooli. You can read more about this project on our website here.

We are very grateful to be partnered with such a visionary for the future, and protector of traditional East african music and instruments. We know that generations to come will be grateful for the work he has put in to continue these traditions.

He has also written a report analysing how indigenous learning can inform modern schooling, in which Singing Well’s gets a featured mention as collaborators within his project. You can read more about that here: https://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/XGBCQ8EJIVZXHMMGUZ2V/full

James Isabirye is a lecturer of music and music education in the Department of Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Kyambogo University, Uganda. His research interests include: social constructivist learning and teaching, decolonization of music and general education, and the roles of indigenous practices in those processes.

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