Student comments from a workshop at Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario in 2013:
I just wanted to thank you so much for giving us all this amazing opportunity to learn from you about music the way you see and live it. I have learned so much from you. You’re so inspiring and I’m honoured to have been able to listen to your teachings. If it weren’t for you, I would’ve never even tried to do African dance or play the kpanlogo drums, and i would have to say, they were the most entertaining activities that I’ve ever participated in, and I’m just really thankful that I’ve been able to try that. Thank you so much Kwasi, your wise words will stay with me forever.
Thank you so much for the opportunity you gave us students when you came to teach us on Tuesday and Wednesday. I must say, at first when I walked into the room I was nervous as it had been my first official singing and dancing class but I was excited. When you came out on the stage and gave your little speech on how we should always take risks and gave the story of the twins “Try and Success” it got me thinking on how I should always “Keep knocking at the door of Success” and never look into the face of failure. With that in mind it inspired me to try at this new experience and give it my all. Learning about the different terms and getting to play the Kpanlogo drums and the Gan ko Gui ( I tried to spell it) was my favourite thing on Tuesday as I had never had the experience to play on those two instruments and it was fun! Along with playing the instruments it helped refresh my memory on how beats work and because of your lessons it helped me remember how things always have to be on beat and also how complicated it can get when you put singing dancing and playing music together!
On Wednesday was I think the day I was most nervous about but also so excited for as it was dancing time. Just being able to learn the dance you taught us helped me gain the confidence to try and just enjoy the music and dance no matter who is watching. The dance you taught us was so different to anything I had ever learned before and it was truly an amazing experience. Learning basically about a whole new style and culture was incredible and also quite a workout with the dancing!
Over all it just inspired me to take a chance and try to do something new and one thing that you said that really stuck with me is when you said “I am somebody, so I can do it too” and that is something that has inspired me to always try hard and not to give up because I am somebody who can do whatever someone else can do, and to just keep trying and never look at the face of failure. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to learn and experience what this style of music and dance feels like as it truly has made an impact on how I perceive things today. Your class was the highlight of my day and something I will always remember, so thank you again for this amazing experience and opportunity.
I would really like to thank you for being our first every guest to join our class. You got all of us moving and were able to make all of us come out of our shell and be ‘somebody.’ I am absolutely amazing by the all stuff we learned to just two short hours. My favourite part of the workshop was when you would be teaching us a new word and then have us sing it by say, “everybody.” You were so funny, but still
serious when you were in front of us, which made for an amazing experience. Once again I really want to thank you and would LOVE to see you come back next year for another amazing workshop. I will never forget the dance moves that you taught us and look forward to trying to remember how to pronounce some of your language’s words.
I want to thank you so much for coming to our school to spend time with us and teach us the power of music. You taught us how to feel the music and let our whole bodies become involved with what we were doing. We learned a new style of song and dance, and we did so in a fun environment. You were very encouraging during the days you spent with us and you made it a very safe and fun learning environment. As well, not only did you teach us about the importance of letting the music flow through our bodies, you also taught us so much about your culture. You taught us about the beauty of Ghana and about the instruments in your culture. Most importantly though, you spoke to us about how we can accomplish anything we set our minds to and to never give up. We are all important people and we should never forget that. For these reasons, I want to thank you so much for coming and I hope you come back again soon!
The two days that I spent in your workshop has taught me valuable lessons that I’m sure will help guide me in the future. Not only did you share a part of your culture and passion with us but you did so in a motivational and encouraging manner. Through song and dance I now have a better understanding of how beautiful and joyful the culture in Ghana is, and I thank you for this. While participating in your workshop, I came to the realization that there is a deeper meaning to song and dance and if you allow yourself to become fully immersed with it, you can truly understand the deeper meaning. Your words of encouragement towards myself and my peers has not only showed us that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to but that no one is stopping us from being the best person we can be. Once again, thank you Kwasi for enlightening us on a new perspective on life and showing us that we are all capable of accomplishing our dreams.
I want to sincerely thank you for the workshop. It was a rare experience for me. I’m usually very nervous when it comes to dancing in public, but your workshop made it almost calming. The movements felt like meditation, and my whole perspective on dance has shifted. I’d also like to thank you for your motivation and energy. Your theory about success and trying will not be forgotten. Lastly, I’d like to thank you for sharing a very new part of the world with us. It was both enjoyable and refreshing. I hope that we can pass on this dance and music to other students and spread the positive energy that comes with it. I got a lot more from the experience, than I had expected and I hope that you can come back to Graydon soon!
I would like to send a huge thank you for this amazing experience. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before. I had an amazing time learning all the songs and dances, even though some were difficult. It was such an entertaining experience that I will keep with me forever. On top of all the singing and dances, you taught me life lessons that I don’t think I would have ever thought about on my own. Forwards ever, backwards never, was one of the most genius way of looking at life. Thank you so much. I don’t see how I would’ve had an opportunity to learn African dancing, singing and playing all of the instruments. Sharing your culture and ways was amazing. You brought all of us together and I really hope that I can see you again, to share everything that has come out of this experience.
Thank you so much for the amazing experience of a lifetime! I feel as if your workshop really gave me a new perception on new opportunities. You really opened my eyes with African music and dance and I would really love it if you came back and taught us more! Now I feel as I have more determination to try new things, why? because “who am i? SOMEBODY and what’s my name? SOMEBODY”. Thank you so much for teaching me about Africa culture and letting me experience the music with my own hands by bringing your instruments so we could all have first-hand experience! Please come back to visit us and to teach us more about African music, we will always Zamina mina Kwasi (Welcome Kwasi).
Thank you so much for your amazing workshop. It was truly an experience I will never forget. You have really opened my mind to the true reason for music, and it’s like a whole new world. You have also allowed me to see something within me that I have rarely seen or known before, motivation and determination. I feel like I can do most anything I set my mind to know. I feel a new sense of hope and optimism for my future and it was all because of the short time you spent with us. I can only imagine what I could discover in a longer time. I will make sure to take you up on your offer to visit at U of T. Once more, thank you and I do hope you will come back again for the years to pass.
I would just really like to thank you for coming here and doing this amazing workshop. This workshop sparked up confidence in me and I was truly able to feel the music and have a lot of fun. Your passion for
dancing and music is truly inspirational. You have taught me so many lessons from this short workshop that I will treasure with me. Once again thank you for one of the best workshops I’ve ever done!