Starting with aboriginal music from Australia, the children learnt two interlacing clap stick rhythms. They then performed a call and response chant over the top, suggestive of long distance communication. Next stop: the Caribbean coastline of Columbia. The folk music from this region is called La Cumbia. Traditionally used for a courtship dance, this music is characterised by lively syncopated rhythms played on a variety of fun instruments. Our next destination is Indonesia, where we will be learning Balinese monkey chant.
Exploring folk music traditions in this way helps children to develop a variety of skills, including reading written music, making collaborative compositional decisions and learning to perform multi-part music as a group. Moreover, by learning about musical traditions from all around the world, students can see the similarities and differences between them. They can also reflect on the similarities and differences between those traditions and their own. This type of musical exploration, therefore, gives students a great opportunity to develop their cultural literacy, an essential ingredient in preparing children for the world of tomorrow.
It’s also great fun!
By Matthew Champness
Head of Performing Arts