WATCH: Cape Town kids bringing joy with music amid corona doom and gloom

Kids playing their musical instruments. (Photo: Getty Images)
Kids playing their musical instruments. (Photo: Getty Images)

A video of a group of young children playing a Bobby McFerrin song and singing along is melting hearts across the country.

“Worry has never helped anyone – it just makes things worse and is also bad for your immune system,” says Hannelize Gravell, a part-time private music teacher from Table View Primary School in Cape Town, who recorded the video with her pupils.

“Of course it’s easier said than done, but we have to try!”

Hannelize says since lockdown began teachers from the school have written encouraging messages on placards and shared pictures of them on social media with the learners.

“Pupils and their parents reacted by commenting on these posts. In this way they kept in contact, encouraged positivity and motivated one another,” she explains.

“I wanted to join in this initiative and decided to send out a positive message with my music pupils to their classmates and the community. Of course it had to include music. I’ve seen a few virtual choir or orchestra videos during lockdown and I wanted to try something similar,” she says.

Besides the video being an opportunity for contact between the learners, she hoped it would encourage them to continue with their music.

“[Bobby McFerrin’s] Don’t Worry, Be Happy is just one of those tunes that get stuck in your head and make you feel good,” Hannelize says of her choice. “I also love the wisdom of the line, ‘When your worry you make it double’.”

Furthermore, she reckons the song is within the musical capabilities of younger children who don’t have much experience yet.

She meticulously planned the video, recording clips of each part in which she explained and demonstrated what she needed each pupil to do. The 21 kids wore headphones and played along to Hannelize’s recording while a family member filmed them.

“They sent the video back to me, after which I edited together the sound and then the video images. I don’t have much experience with it so the quality is somewhat DIY,” Hannelize says.

It took a week to plan, record and edit the video.

The pupils in the video are between the ages of seven and 12.

“Most of them started music lessons last year and a few only started in January this year, meaning they only have about two-and-a-half months’ experience behind them,” says Hannelize, who’s teaching her music classes online during the lockdown.

She teaches violin, recorder, piano and guitar but says the pandemic has had an impact on her income as well. “Sadly, online lessons aren’t accessible to everyone now because many parents can’t work to earn an income and so they can’t afford the lessons.”

Hannelize says she’d hoped the video would bring some positivity and joy to the school community in these uncertain times.

“But I was surprised at just how many positive comments, shares and views it got,” she says. “If it could take away people’s worries for even the few moments they were watching it, we’ve succeeded in our goal. I’m so proud of my pupils!”


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