Piano, my true love

TIMOTHY ALFRED WANDABWA is a Business Computing graduate from Uganda Christian University (UCU). He is the sound technician at the university. This is the story of his journey and love for music, as told to Doreen Kajeru

Wandabwa plays the piano during the 2015 Chapel Choir reunion.

As early as six years of age, I loved l i s t e n i n g to music. I have always been drawn to crusades and concerts because of my desire to see people play musical instruments, especially the piano. Watching people quenched my curiosity but deepened my thirst to want play them myself. Back home and at school I always hit anything: table, bench or chair, imagining that it is a piano.

In my Primary Seven vacation, my father was transferred to St. Andrew’s Cathedral, in Mbale. During my secondary school studies at Mbale Senior Secondary School, I once went for a Scripture Union conference at Busoga College Mwiri and was inspired by fellow students who were playing the piano harmoniously.

After the camp I went to the cathedral to try out a melody I had listened to, “Trading my sorrows.” While I played, the choir director discovered my passion and taught me my first keyboard lesson.

Later I joined the Mission Choir as a strategy to access the piano but instead the director trained me in singing mostly and we only played the piano occasionally. After one year of training, I started to play during missions and ministry outreaches but never in the cathedral.

In Senior Two, I joined Holy Cross Lake View School. There I was able to sing and also play the piano during fellowships and Sunday services. During my free time I listened to different kinds of Christian music and tried to learn how to play them. Most of my learning was and has been by listening and watching people play.

Tim 2
Wandabwa strums the guitar during Christmas carols at UCU in his second year

During holidays I met with different people in Kampala and my target was to watch them play and learn a skill or two.

For my A-level, I joined Muljibhai Madhvani College, Wairaka. Here I was always given a leadership role of guiding the choir.

During my Senior Six vacation I worked as a trainer in the Compassion International children’s project, which sponsored my education.

I joined UCU in 2010, because I believed that it was the only university that would shape me into a better person in the aspect of ministry.

I joined the Chapel Choir and met friends with whom I share a passion for music. I used every opportunity: the music room, internet, and the easy access of music instruments to learn more and get better.

In second year I was selected as one of the music directors of the Chapel Choir.

This pushed me into yearning for perfection. I used my knowledge of the piano to play more instruments like the acoustic guitar, bass guitar and drums quite easily because the techniques are similar. I also picked specific interest in sound balance and output, guided by the then sound technician, Emmanuel Owot.

A music workshop was organized at campus and Roy Kaddu, a band leader at Watoto then, noticed my playing. Finally my dream of playing at Watoto, a big church, was set in motion but due to commitments at the university I did not get to play at Watoto soon.

After my graduation in 2013 I was asked to serve as acting music director at UCU. This gave me another challenge in my music path but I soldiered on.

A year later, I joined Watoto Church. The level of sound and harmony perfection at Watoto is immeasurable and I put in a lot of effort to measure up.

I am glad to have come this far on my music journey despite the fact that I have not gone through music school. My future plan is to study more about music.