How we got here!  

The Brass for Africa story began one Saturday morning in February 2009 when Jim Trott was helping to store 30 rather old and well used brass instruments whilst waiting for his son Angus to finish playing in his Berkshire Maestros junior brass band. On finding that these instruments were surplus to requirements and potentially destined for the scrap heap, Jim, who is a British Airways pilot, set about finding a new home for them on his next duty trip to Kampala.
 
Jim was introduced to Bosco Segawa, ex street child, trumpet player, founder and Director of the M-lisada Organisation. M-lisada is an orphanage in Kampala that revolves around a brass band and culture dance troop, their motto is Music to the Rescue. Jim was so moved and inspired by the organisation that he returned home to the Bracknell and Wokingham Community band, where he played trumpet, and appealed to the band to raise the funds to ship the instruments to Uganda.
 
Shortly after, the instruments were delivered to the Good Shepherd Home, an orphanage in the Mengo slum of Kampala that houses and cares for some of the street children and disabled children of the district. Jim then began working with Bosco and Godfrey (the M-lisada music teacher) to provide the children at the Good Shepherd Home with music tuition, and so the story of Brass for Africa began!
 
More instruments were sourced and through tireless efforts Jim, his family, friends and colleagues (Brass for Africa  is now very proud to be a British Airways Community and Conservation Partner) built up the charity.

Working with M-lisada as a local centre the number of projects began to grow and the quality of the M-lisada band developed rapidly, fueled by Jim and Bosco's passion and the regular visits of UK based players and teachers to the projects.
 
Through Brass for Africa, Bosco and Jim funded and built a refuge and learning centre for the young girls of the Katwe Slum in Kampala called the Mummy Foundation. The charity was now supporting music, feeding, clothing, education and other needs. Many positive outcomes were beginning to emerge through the charity's support.
 
At this point Jim had a moment of clear vision:
The benefit to children of the brass projects was vast; self-worth, team-work, communication skills, presentation skills, all the educational benefits of literacy, numeracy and coordination that we know result from involvement in music education. These are of real and vital use to these children, many of whom have little in their past that is positive or beneficial.

Demand was rising and teaching was at capacity.
The beautiful simplicity of Jim's solution was that the older children of M-lisada, now in their late teens and players of five or six years standing, could become music teachers themselves. An extremely beneficial cycle was then created. Music could not only enhance and enrich the education and lives of these children, for some it could become a career or way of funding themselves through higher education.
The very activity of learning to play brass could directly raise disadvantaged children and young people out of the poverty trap and give them a future they can believe in.

(Jim, has two published compositions with all profits benefiting Brass for Africa. These can be purchased here ).

Why Brass Instruments

As you may have read in "How we got here", Jim is a brass player!

Beneath that obvious fact lies a number of key reasons why we employ brass instruments and the British Brass Band model.

Practical: Brass instruments can withstand high temperatures and humidity. They are portable and fairly robust.

Inclusive: Not only can a wide age range play brass but brass instruments find their way into most music genres from brass bands to Broadway, reggae to rhumba!

Healthy:  The correct breathing and posture that the successful brass player requires have great health benefits.

Broader Educational Benefits:  Much has been written and researched about the tremendous developmental and mental health benefits of brass playing and instrumental music learning in general.

HIstorical Context:  Brass Bands in the UK grew from the industrial revolution as a way for philanthropic factory owners to add value and richness to their employees lives. A brass band is in itself a family unit where everyone shares the same importance and responsibility. These qualities in day to day life are of extreme value and importance to both children and teachers in our projects, many of whom have never enjoyed the benefits of living in a happy family envioronment.