Teranga Strings (TS) is a music program in Dakar, Senegal that allows students of any age to study violin. The program is inspired by the Senegalese value of 'teranga' which means hospitality in the Wolof language. TS embraces a holistic approach to violin instruction, that combines body awareness through exercises in light movement and breathing with classical violin technique and improvisation. Inspired by El Sistema, TS connects students in schools lacking music programs to violin lessons. Anna founded TS in July of 2018 with the goal of filling the void of arts and music programs in Dakar school and connecting children with arts education that inspires them to expand their creativity to other subjects. The mission of Teranga Strings is to promote creativity, well-being, and community through artistic expression for all.
"I believe that learning to make music is learning to speak the world's universal language. Putting an instrument in a child’s hands gives them a new and colorful way to express themselves and communicate with others.” -Anna Wolle
The violin is an instrument that bridges many different musical styles. As the violin is deeply rooted in emotional expression, learning it allows students to grow their individual artistry and collaborative skills. It is also a fun, social instrument that can be played in large groups or on its own in a variety of settings. I spent six weeks in Dakar during the summer of 2017, and saw a high interest level to learn the violin as I toted my instrument around the city to teach and perform. The constant requests I heard to teach friends and others how to play a simple song or several notes inspired me to take my music teaching in Dakar to the next level, and to offer violin lessons that were relevant, enjoyable, and engaging.
Teranga Strings offers two types of programs: private violin lessons to individuals and small groups, and free small-group music classes to child orphans in a local organization (which already provides daily necessities and educational programming for the kids). Private students range from expatriates to locals and from young children to adults. Teranga Strings began offering private violin lessons in Dakar in early July of 2018, and later connected a local elementary school with bi-weekly violin lessons to 6-year olds.
As explained on the 'Music' page of this website, Anna is currently taking a break from Teranga Strings to develop the program through experiential learning. She is working with the El Sistema-inspired Harmony School of Music in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where she teaches private and group violin lessons and shadows administrative work. She also hopes to connect with music educators and administrators locally and across the country to learn more about bolstering Teranga Strings' structure. Ultimately, Anna hopes to re-launch Teranga Strings in a couple of years with a small team of motivated music teachers and marketers. Anna's short-term goals for Teranga Strings are to build a three to four-person team in Dakar, which would provide enough support to grow private lessons, and begin programming in two local schools and two local children's organizations. Long-term goals include growing the private studio to 40+ students as well as incorporating TS as a nonprofit organization. Anna hopes to integrate local instruments such as the kora (stringed instrument from Mali) and the djembe drum into Teranga Strings, which would allow local teachers to sign part-time contracts with the organization. She also plans to create an arts outreach program for which one local musician, artist, dancer, or slam poet would present to TS students and locals about their current creations and engage the audience in a small project related to the topic.