Anne needs help to free musical spirit of azerbaijani youngsters

Aberdeen Press and Journal
July 23, 2004

Anne needs help to free musical spirit of azerbaijani youngsters

Impoverished and deprived children whose musical talents have lain
undiscovered in Azerbaijan schools are being given the chance to
shine. Ballater woman Anne Jack, 48, a music teacher and honorary
member of the London College of Music, has been teaching about 50
children at schools in the city of Sumgayit.

After moving to Azerbaijan because of her husband Bill’s work, Mrs
Jack found many children were taught traditional instruments by their
fathers but had no knowledge of theory.

“I found it very, very interesting, because these children are
extremely talented,” she said. “They are beautiful players, but they
don’t have a clue what they’re doing – it’s just natural talent. I
think their lives have been so repressed they haven’t had time for
anything else.” The country regained its independence after the
collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and, for the next three years,
was in armed conflict with Armenia.

Unemployment in Sumgayit is about 80%, while corruption is rife and
the promise of widespread wealth from Azerbaijan’s petroleum
resources remains largely unfulfilled.

Classrooms have no pianos or keyboards and musical instruments are
not readily available.

Mrs Jack started off by taking 100 recorders and moved on to the
guitar and woodwind instruments.

She is now hoping to receive donations of instruments “in any form”
to further the children’s education, but would particularly like a
drum kit.

Music even helps pupils with their arithmetic, Mrs Jack says, as they
count the beats.

Anyone wishing to donate an instrument or money should e-mail Mrs
Jack at annejack100 Instruments can also be dropped off
at the Aberdeen offices of KCA Deutag, Minto Drive, Altens, Aberdeen.