Routes Into Teaching – World Music Day – Review

Stevenage Music Centre

Facilitators: Michael Davidson (ukulele), Simon Steptoe (gamelan), Caz Wolfson (taiko)

Building on the success of previous Routes Into Teaching events, MusicNet East and Hertfordshire Music Service ran a Routes Into Teaching World Music Day on Friday 5th February at Stevenage Music Centre. Twenty musicians, instrumental teachers, workshop leaders and students from Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and London attended to discover more about teaching world music in schools.
The workshop attendees took part in three practical sessions, playing taiko, gamelan and ukulele, with discussions at the end of each session on how to lead large groups of young people with a ‘world music approach’ on common instruments. Each session demonstrated different approaches to large group learning in a world music setting and a comment was made that it was useful to see these different approaches in action. Several participants commented on how pleased they were to learn ‘take-home’ activities on all instruments, particularly ukulele.
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A particularly interesting point was raised when comparing the approaches to playing gamelan, which creates a ‘safe’ place in which to experiment and the odd wrong note doesn’t really matter, to taiko, where the visual element of a performance is as important as how it sounds. We agreed that taiko can be a fantastic opportunity for engaging young people with dance through the martial arts-influenced performance style. Playing gamelan allows players to immerse themselves into a ‘sonic cocoon’ – complete with cushions!
Networking was an important feature of the day and many participants commented that the networking element had been a very useful.
The following topics were raised during the plenary discussion:
– Is there a common database for world music leaders in your area? – use listing sites like the Youth Music Network, Music Pages or even Twitter (when used appropriately)
– Get in touch with your local music hubs to link to schools; don’t approach schools direct as they are often embroiled in paperwork!
– Think about ways in which your project could link to different school departments as a way in to finding funding
– The importance of creating a CV that highlights your experience of learning and teaching music
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Feedback comments and ideas for future training included:
– “Really enjoyed Taiko” – “I now feel more confident to extend my work”
– “It was useful observing and experiencing different ways of structuring a music lesson”
– “Informative, exciting, interesting!”
– “Networking was very useful – important.”
– “The ideas suggested in the ukulele session were extremely helpful.”
– “It was useful learning about techniques that can be used in a variety of settings with different equipment.”
– “Thoroughly enjoyed it all!! Would love to learn more choir warm-up tips, like the one we did at the end of the day.”
– “Ukulele session was useful – how to work with whole class groups.”
There was considerable interest in more opportunities to learn gamelan. Hertfordshire Music Service hopes to offer some future CPD on this.
Regular opportunities are available regionally at or in London at the School of Oriental and African Studies, which also offers these resources and the Southbank
Here are links to some resources from the day:
There is more information on the layout of the gamelan here

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