Favela Brass has a new live-in volunteer brass teacher! Sigrún Kristbjörg (centre in the picture below) is an Icelandic trombone and violin player who, following three visits to Rio over the last five years, has decided to return this year for a longer stay (and why not!) and luckily for us has also decided to stay here in the music school and teach brass three times a week.
Before coming out to Brazil, Sigrún also raised funds and secured various donations of brass accessories for the project.
Össur Geirsson, director of the school wind band in the Icelandic town of Kópavogur donated two mouthpieces, and Icelandic music store Tónastöðin donated various different teaching aids, more mouthpieces, and enough valve oil and cork grease to last us well into the next century!
(Above: Andrés and Kiddi from Tónastöðin)
Personal donations from Harpa Jóhannsdóttir, Guðrún Úlfhildur Grímsdóttir, Finnbogi Óskarsson and Steinar Guðmundsson allowed us to buy a selection of what are known as "breathing devices" - gadgets which help teach good breathing habits for musicians.
During Sigrún's first lesson yesterday we tried out one of these devices, which teaches breath control by having students blow into a tube to keep a small polystyrene ball in the air for as long as possible, and it worked a treat. Definitely a great way to get kids thinking about their breathing.
An extra brass teacher at the project is going to make a big difference, as will all of the accessories and teaching aids that Sigrún has brought with her. Thank you ever so much to our Icelandic friends for the generous donations, and welcome to the project Sigrún!