Introducing Japanese Instrumental Music Education to Egypt

School Project Starts in Seventh Country - Providing Opportunities for Children to Enjoy Musical Instruments in Developing Countries -

In November, Yamaha Corporation (below, "Yamaha") started providing instrumental music education using recorders at nine Egyptian Japanese Schools (EJS)*1 public schools in Egypt.

As a comprehensive musical instrument manufacturer, Yamaha has been promoting the advantages of instrumental music education, in which students learn through activities involving music and musical instruments, to music education sites around the world. In particular, Yamaha's School Project, which it has been developing principally in developing countries since 2015, is an initiative to help children who have not been blessed with opportunities to encounter musical instruments discover the joy of playing them. To date, Yamaha has provided a total of 710,000 children in six countries with opportunities to learn instrumental music, helping to create an environment where children can enjoy activities involving music and musical instruments. Egypt is now the seventh country to introduce instrumental music education, following Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates.

Classes at Egyptian Japanese Schools (Photo courtesy of EJS 10th of Ramadan School)

Yamaha has partnered with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for its "Study on the Introduction of Japanese Instrumental Music Education into Egypt's Primary Education" (Egypt) as a JICA SME/SDG business support project. In Egypt, educators have raised the issue of development of non-cognitive skills such as socialization, cooperation, and discipline, so the country is currently moving ahead with education under a new curriculum, shifting toward education that cultivates an abundance of human qualities. As part of this effort, Egyptian Japanese Schools (EJS)—public schools that incorporate the characteristics of Japanese-style education, including special activities—have been established, and are supervised by Japanese school principals. There is a great deal of interest in Japanese education that cultivates non-cognitive skills. In the future, Yamaha will work with the Gakugei University Children Institute for the Future*2 to study the measurement of non-cognitive skills through instrumental music education, with the aim of expanding the program to all 48 Egyptian Japanese Schools.

Through this activity, Yamaha aims to contribute to Goal 4: "Quality Education" and Goal 17: "Partnerships for the Goals" of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as to develop children's non-cognitive skills through instrumental music education and to formulate a business model for musical education activities tailored to the educational situation in Egypt.

At the EJS, instruction in the fields of social and emotional education— such as music, physical education, and arts and crafts—is one of the characteristics of the Japanese-style education that the school practices. Music, in particular, has been made a compulsory subject for 4th graders and above in the new Egyptian curriculum, and how to respond to growing needs in the future is recognized as a major educational issue for Egypt. Yamaha's implementation of instrumental music education using recorders has been welcomed as very timely. Encountering music through simple instruments also offers an unprecedented opportunity for EJS students to express themselves, and not only the EJS but other educators in Egypt have high hopes for this as an initiative to cultivate richer humanity.

As this project launched, I was impressed by the eagerness of the Egyptian teachers to incorporate new things. The training and the classes helped me to realize that even when they hear the same sound, people may perceive or feel it differently due to different cultural or religious backgrounds. I was reminded again that there is no one correct way to express music. I would like to broaden my understanding of the fact that people's ways of thinking and perception can differ depending on their country, environment, and culture, and that values can be very diverse. I hope to use education that promotes mutual recognition and respect to enrich education in Japan too.

Learning to play the recorder, performing music, and teaching it to children were all new experiences for me. But thanks to the training provided by Yamaha staff members, I am now able to play the recorder and also use it to teach children. I'm really grateful.

The music of the recorder is beautiful and fun, because it sounds like birds singing. I enjoy music classes when we play the recorder and listen to music.

  • *1 EJS: Egyptian Japanese Schools
    Egyptian Japanese Schools (EJS) are Japanese-style schools in Egypt that have been established with financial support from JICA. In light of the current educational issues in Egypt mentioned above, the most distinctive feature of EJS is that they incorporate extra-curricular activities called "TOKKATSU" at the primary education stage. These special activities are considered a basic component of the Japanese-style curriculum. By having students actively take charge of cleaning the school and taking on other duties in turn, it is hoped that students will develop self-motivation to learn, as well as fostering a sense of fairness and cooperation within the group.
  • *2 Gakugei University Children Institute for the Future, a non-profit organization
    This non-profit organization seeks to customize the educational achievements of Tokyo Gakugei University in line with various needs and return its expertise to the community.