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Eight Ways That Music Can Support Young People’s Wellbeing and Learning: In ‘Catch Up‘ and Beyond

All of us working in music education, community/youth music and music therapy, are only too aware of the toll that the last year has taken on young people—as well as staff, participants, customers and partners. Many of us have relied on music even more during the pandemic, as this study showed. With increased pressure on young people to ‘catch up’, music could be just the thing to bring some balance and pleasure into their lives. It can also support learning and wellbeing in a range of important ways.

Listening to music can change our mood and help us reflect on our feelings and experiences. Actually making music can help deepen that process, and making music with others brings further, overlapping, social, emotional—and educational—benefits. Music is deeply rooted in our evolution as a species—it’s no surprise that scientists have found that no other activity connects and activates so many different parts of the brain (see also the video further on).

We hope this article will help reinforce why it’s important for us as adults to do everything we can to support, and open up opportunities for young people—and all people—to make music.


This article was written by Anita Holford, a communications practitioner specializing in music for a social, educational and wellbeing purpose based in the UK. It was first published on her website: https://writing-services.co.uk/eight-ways-that-music-can-support-young-peoples-wellbeing-and-learning-in-catch-up-and-beyond/.


1. MOOD: Improving mood and calming the nervous system

The most well-known benefit of music is that it’s a powerful tool for improving mood: whether it’s singing and songwriting, music producing, or playing an instrument. Music can reach us and prompt emotions and feelings in ways that no other activity can. It can take us out of ourselves, help us get into a state of ‘flow’ and focused attention, and be more able to cope with stressful, difficult feelings. It can raise our spirits, and calm our nervous systems. There are also lots of studies into the biological pleasure principle in music, including the release of dopamine and stimulation of endorphins, chemicals that produce a feel-good state.

There is research to show that people need to experience autonomy (feeling in control), competence (feeling good at something) and relatedness (feeling connected to others) in order to achieve wellbeing[1]. This is something that making and learning music provides in spades (see also point 3).

There’s a developing evidence base to back this up: examples can be found here. And music is increasingly offered by schools, arts and music organisations, and the NHS [National Health Service (UK)] as an intervention for mental health and wellbeing.

2. COPING: Learning to regulate emotions and cope with challenge

Making music takes practice, and involves taking risks, failing and persisting in the face of challenge. The more you try, fail and pick yourself up, the more you are learning how to regulate your emotions, cope with challenge and believe in your own abilities to succeed (self-efficacy[2]). This is part of what is called ‘executive functioning’—which provides the skills we need to manage ourselves and our lives (and is also linked to higher academic achievement).

From around 2010 onwards, researchers interested in music and the brain began to publish findings that linked learning music to better-developed executive functioning; for examples see: Musical training could improve executive function, Brain imaging shows enhanced executive brain function in people with musical training and Playing a musical instrument could help with anxiety, behaviour and attention.

Many of these executive function skills are strengthened through learning and making music: including paying attention; understanding other’s feelings and points of view; planning and problem solving; and seeing consequences from actions. So music can be particularly helpful for learners who struggle to engage in learning, and/or have experienced challenging circumstances—particularly when guided by a suitably experienced music tutor or mentor who is attuned to their needs.

3. CONFIDENCE: Building confidence and self-esteem

By providing positive challenge and encouraging a young person out of their comfort zone, music can bring growth and build confidence and self-esteem. Performing with and in front of other people is of course a big part of that, and that’s one of the many reasons why making music in a group is such an important part of musical learning. Building resilience, confidence and self-esteem is linked to many of the other factors in this list.

4. EXPRESSION: Encouraging self-expression and processing of emotions

All forms of music allow young people to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas to the world, with or without words. It can help us to make sense of experiences from an emotional perspective. Sometimes it’s not possible to put feelings into words and that’s where music excels. Music can also help young people to experience strong emotions in a safe way—particularly helpful again children who’ve experienced or are experiencing challenging circumstances.

5. SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE: Developing social and emotional intelligence[3]

Learning music with another person, and particularly in a group of musicians, develops a range of social skills. We learn to pay attention to others, pick up on non-verbal cues, notice what’s happening in the group and respond appropriately, take turns in playing, give feedback[4]. Again many of these are skills linked to executive function.

Picture of the Brain

Picture: Dr David M Greenberg.

6. CONNECTION: Connecting with others: creating social bonds and community

When we make music with others—particularly in a music group—we experience all the benefits that come from social bonding and feeling part of a community. One of the ‘Five ways to wellbeing’ [5] which have been used widely in mental health and wellbeing work in the UK*, is to ‘Connect with other people’, as this helps build a sense of belonging and self-worth; gives an opportunity to share positive experiences; can provide emotional support and allow you to support others.

A recent study highlighted five key functions and mechanisms of the brain that contribute to social connection through music, which are: 1) empathy circuits, 2) oxytocin secretion (the ‘love’ hormone), 3) reward and motivation including dopamine (please and reward hormone) release, 4) language structures, and 5) (reduction of) cortisol (the stress hormone).

7. LEARNING: Learning to learn (metacognition) & self-assess

A sense of accomplishment is an important tool in developing wellbeing. Even better, like all good learning practices, it encourages self-assessment and reflection, because we need to understand why something ‘worked’ or didn’t work musically.

This is known as ‘meta-cognition’ (learning to learn), helping young people think about their own learning more explicitly by setting goals, and monitoring and evaluating their own progress towards them. Read The role of metacognitive skills in music learning and performing – a report and evidence review exploring how reflection helps musicians at all stages with independent learning skills and metacognition.

Read about meta-cognition on the Education Endowment website

8. RESILIENCE: Finally, strengthening brains for lifelong resilience

Learning music – particularly an instrument – develops our brains in deep and powerful ways. No other activity has been found to connect the three main parts of the brain (the auditory, visual and motor cortices) with such accuracy, speed and flexibility and that’s why scientists looking at the effect of playing an instrument described it as like fireworks in the brain, because so many parts of the brain were activated at once:

[PODCAST] Listen to an interview with music researcher and educator Dr Anita Collins, about music and its effects on young people’s brains

Dr Nina Krauss of Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory in Illinois says: “Making music can have a profound and lifelong impact. The experience of making music appears to create a more efficient brain, in a sense it super-charges the nervous system, and enhances a person’s ability to listen, learn and communicate, especially through sound—and that can have long-term affects on a person’s wellbeing.”

Visit www.musiceducationworks.org.uk for more research about the impact of music education and sign up to the enews.

Notes

[1] Digital music production charity, Noise Solution, has based its practice around this theory, called self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2018).

[2] Self-efficacy refers to a person’s belief in their own ability to manage and succeed in situations, through a constant process of self-evaluation linked to emotions, motivations and behaviors (Bandura, 1986). Perceptions of self-efficacy determine the level of effort given to tasks, task engagement and goal-setting. “The higher the sense of efficacy, the greater effort, persistence and resilience” (Pajares, 1996).

[3] An evidence review funded by the Cabinet Office highlighted a range of benefits arising from a music project (see: What works in enhancing social and emotional skills development during childhood and adolescence):”Among the projects reviewed, a number of learning processes stood out as supporting developments in self-efficacy and resilience, including encouraging autonomous exploration of young people’s issues through lyric writing, and providing facilitated opportunities to become young mentors, enhancing feelings of mastery and self-belief, and demonstrating profound empathy. One-to-one mentoring delivered alongside music-making provision was instrumental in enhancing feelings of belonging for many participants who receive little to no support outside of the provision. Close mentoring relationships also enhanced learner autonomy through the use of personalised learning plans which encouraged personal goal-settings and participant choice.”

[4] A one-to-one relationship with a trusted adult can be a powerful support for wellbeing: “Mentees were helped by their mentors in relational ways: as caring adults who had time to talk; as adults working in social pedagogic ways. But crucially also as fellow-musicians they wanted to learn from, rather than authority figures there to tell them what to do. Again, the music was central to the development of the mentee: mentoring was rarely something that happened formally; as music mentoring, it ran through the whole interaction with the mentee. Music was acting as a communication system, an art beyond words, and recognition of development could be a look or just knowing. The act of making music was intrinsically a mentoring one.” Excerpt from Move on up an evaluation of youth music mentors, Youth Music, 2011

[5] The Five Ways to Wellbeing were developed by the New Economics Foundation from evidence gathered in the UK government’s Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing. The Project, published in 2008, drew on state-of-the-art research about mental capital and mental wellbeing through life. The Five Ways are: connect with other people; be physically active; learn new skills; give to others; pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness). It’s easy to see how music can help with all of these.

Bernard Ellorin

Bernard Ellorin: Scholar and Teacher of the Music of the Philippines

Bernard Ellorin, Ph.D., Center for World Music teaching artist and board member, is much loved and highly respected as a cultural treasure and leader within the Southern California Filipino community and beyond.

Dr. Ellorin is the leading expert on maritime Southeast Asian gong-chime music in Southern California. He is also a master of the Filipino banduria (a version of the Spanish bandurria, a plucked string instrument similar to the mandolin) and the associated rondalla music. He is versed in the percussion music of the Cordillera Mountains of Northern Luzon, as well as being one of the few Philippine kulintang instructors in the United States. Kulintang is an ancient instrumental form of music played on a row of small, horizontally laid gongs that function melodically, accompanied by larger, suspended gongs and drums. Dr. Ellorin has served the San Diego and Los Angeles communities as a performing artist and educator since 1992, and is the musical director of the Samahan Filipino-American Performing Arts and Education Center.

Kulintang Ensemble

Bernard Ellorin leads his kulintang ensemble. Photo Jonathan Parker

He began his studies in the music of the Philippines at the age of ten, as a young banduria musician with Samahan Performing Arts. At age twelve he commenced kulintang studies with native Maguindanao master artist Danongan Kalanduyan. More recently, he has studied under a number of other master artists from the Philippines, with whom he maintains ongoing professional relationships, thereby keeping up-to-date in contemporary cultural developments.

Photo courtesy of Kingsley Ramos

Ellorin received a BA degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles and earned his MA and Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. In 2003, along with a few of his friends and colleagues in San Diego, he founded the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble (PKE), which he now directs. Through PKE, he presents educational workshops for San Diego schools and youth groups. His knowledge and dedication to the proliferation of Maguindanao and Maranao music also enables him to act as a valued resource for many university Filipino cultural organizations. He continues to teach in the San Diego area as a lecturer and faculty member at Miramar and MiraCosta Colleges.

In 2012, Ellorin was awarded a research fellowship under the Fulbright Research and Study Abroad program, during which time he conducted a comparative study on the musical culture of the Sama-Bajau in Semporna District in the Malaysian state of Sabah, and in Batangas City, Philippines. He has subsequently written several scholarly papers on Sama-Bajau performing arts, and also serves as a consultant to Filipino-American diaspora performing arts groups throughout the US. He is now a three-time grant recipient with the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) through their Apprenticeship and Living Cultures program.

Ellorin has been a teaching artist with the Center for World Music since 2016, and became a member of the Center’s Board of Directors in 2020. 

Contributor Kim Kalanduyan is Dr. Ellorin’s former apprentice under the ACTA apprenticeship program, and is the granddaughter of Maguindanao master artist Danongan Kalanduyan.

For more reading about Bernard Ellorin and his teaching, performance, and research:

A Journey Home: Kulintang Music from San Diego to Mindanao

A Career in “Roots” Music from Positively Filipino Magazine

Lakshmi Basile: Flamenco Dancer

The Center for World Music is delighted to welcome Lakshmi Basile to our family of outstanding teaching artists in residence, joining our World Music in the Schools program.

Lakshmi Basile, nicknamed “La Chimi” by her peers, is a flamenco dancer and performer of the highest level. To watch her in motion is an enchanting experience as she enters an almost trance-like state, becoming one with the music. It’s clear the dance is coming from somewhere deep inside of her, connecting to ancestral spirits and roots that are impossible to describe with words. They have a word for this in Flamenco: duende. Those who have been in the audience or have clapped palmas around the fire while Lakshmi dances know what a magical experience it can be.

Offstage, Lakshmi is down-to-earth and laughs easily. It’s inspiring to see how she takes a dance that can be intimidating for many and breaks it down in a fun and engaging way for her students. Her passion and expertise gently guide her lessons in a way that’s accessible for all, no matter the age or experience.

But who is this ethereal artist, and where did she come from?

Photo: Paco Sanchez

Lakshmi Basile began performing at the age of six with her parents’ band The Electrocarpathians. She grew up in a bohemian household filled with music and dance with her father, a prominent San Diego musician, and her mother, an artist from Argentina. She studied dance at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, the University of California Santa Barbara, and within the flamenco community of San Diego, finally traveling to Spain at the age of 20 to complete her flamenco studies. She was quickly embraced by artists and teachers, and found work in tablaos and at private flamenco events alongside well-known artists.

“La Chimi” became one of the first and only foreign artists in Spain to win a coveted national prize, the Concurso de las Minas de La Unión, and she was also awarded the Concurso Nacional de Arte Flamenco de Córdoba. There she surprised flamenco critics, and received high praise from Alberto García Reyes, ABC, who described her performance as “un desgarrador homenaje a los románticos de lo jondo” (a heart-wrenching homage to the romantics of pure flamenco).

Before returning to San Diego, Lakshmi worked for over fifteen years in Seville, the cradle of flamenco, where she performed daily as a soloist at the tablao El Palacio Andaluz. She has worked alongside significant artists in private events and festivals internationally, including Great Britain, Denmark and Uruguay, and produced her own show in Spain called “Zarabanda, Lo Que Duerme en el Cuerpo de los Gitanos” (Zarabanda, What Sleeps in the Body of the Gypsies).

She is sought after as a teacher by flamenco students in Spain and the United States, and we are very fortunate to have her teach and perform in San Diego. Lakshmi Basile has found her purpose and career as a flamenco dancer because that is what she is in her soul and heart.

Photo: Sari Makki-Phillips

“Su baile es de una alegría conquistada” (Her dance is one of conquered joy). — Félix Grande, poet and flamencologist

“La única cosa americana que tiene es su pasaporte”  (The only American thing she has is her passport). — Ángel Ojeda, former Minister of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía

Welcome, Lakshmi, to our Center for World Music family! We are so delighted and honored to have you join us.

See a preview video of Lakshmi’s Living Room Learning dance lesson

Visit Lakshmi’s flamenco dance website

Cindy Carbajal Brings the Music and Culture of Mexico to Children

The Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools program is delighted to profile teaching artist Cindy Carbajal.

A teacher for over 20 years, Cindy Carbajal has worked with a broad range of students in San Diego, from kindergarteners in City Heights to university students at UCSD. She has spent the majority of her teaching career in elementary school, where she loves to incorporate music and dance, most especially that of Mexico, into her physical education, math, science, social studies, and language arts classes.

Cindy has taught ballet folklórico classes for over 15 years. Since 2010, she has been playing Son Jarocho music and has traveled to Veracruz to study the music and dance forms of that musical tradition.  She frequently performs with the ensemble Son de San Diego, collaborating with CWM teaching artists Cristina Juárez and Eduardo García. Cindy also enjoys teaching the jarana—a small, guitar-like instrument important in Son Jarocho—as well as Jarocho vocal music and dance. She enjoys the community that both ballet folklórico and Son Jarocho have afforded her and hopes to participate in formal and informal playing of Son music for the rest of her life.

Since 2016, Cindy has presented school assemblies and taught summer camps and artist residencies for the Center for World Music.

Cindy Carabal (dancing on the tarima) teaching summer school students at Johnson Elementary School in July 2019

Cindy Carabal (right) performing with Son de San Diego at Albert Einstein Charter Elementary in February 2017

See also Edwardo García, Building Community Through Son Jarocho.

Shibani Patnaik: Odissi is My Life, My Love

Shibani Patnaik is one of the leading United States-born Odissi classical dancers of her generation. She has taught Odissi, an Indian classical dance form, through the Center for World Music’s Odissi Dance School in California since 2003. As the daughter of Dr. Purna and Mrs. Gopa Patnaik, Shibani embarked on her dance journey at an early age. Her parents have been committed to the preservation and promotion of Indian classical arts for the past thirty years through the Center for World Music, providing many opportunities for their three daughters to immerse themselves in classical dance and music. Because of the support of her parents and the encouragement and rigorous training by her mentors, Shibani is flourishing as one of the leading dancers of her generation. She is an energetic artist with a strong technical background who strikes the perfect combination of power and grace.

Odissi requires perseverance, precision and performance; it is not merely a form of entertainment, but also a method through which the artist strives to forge a deep spiritual connection with the audience. Shibani believes art and music bring people of diverse cultures together by providing cultural understanding in a harmonious environment. Through dance, Shibani strives to express deep feelings and emotions, universal to humanity. Shibani is dedicated to the diffusion of the message of peace and compassion through her artistic expression.

Shibani has made frequent visits to India to study under internationally acclaimed Gurus Padmashree Gangadhar Pradhan, Aruna Mohanty, Manoranjan Pradhan and Yudhistir Nayak from the Orissa Dance Academy. Her gurus have also lived with the Patnaik family in San Diego for extended periods of time, helping Shibani master the techniques of Odissi. Shibani frequently tours with the Orissa Dance Academy. She completed a solo North America multi-city tour in 2012, presenting her own work Samsara: The Cycle Of Life.

India - Odissi Dance Video LinkShibani was awarded the 2006 Devadasi award in Orissa. Shibani and her sisters Shalini and Laboni, “The Patnaik Sisters,” have been honored with the Kalashree Award by the Orissa Society of Americas for their contribution to the arts. The California Arts Council has awarded a Next Generation Artists grant to Shibani for new choreographies. She has performed in prestigious venues throughout India, including the 2007 Konark Dance Festival and at the Ravi Shankar Institute in New Delhi. In 2008, she performed at the International Stirring Odissi Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Shibani and her sisters contributed their Odissi-style choreography to productions by pop stars Madonna (1998 MTV Video Music Awards) and Ricky Martin (2007), performances seen by millions around the world. Stanford University presented Shibani with the 2001 Asian-American Performing Arts Award and the Chapell-Lougee Scholarship to conduct research in Orissa. Under her leadership, the Stanford University Dance department began offering Indian classical dance courses in 2002, where she taught the first course on Odissi.

Shibani has been featured in numerous US and Indian publications, such as Dance Magazine of New York, Yoga Journal, Hinduism Today, India Today, InStyle, and Bazaar. She is an active member of the Board of Directors of the Center for World Music.

See a video of Shibani’s performance in the virtual Udayraga Festival of Dance in August, 2020, presented by the Indo American Association, Houston in collaboration with Orissa Dance Academy.

To learn more, please visit Shibani’s website.

Anthony holding a ukulele near the ocean

Anthony Kauka Stanley

The Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools is delighted to profile teaching artist Anthony Kauka Stanley.

Anthony Kauka Stanley has been immersed in celebrating and sharing the beauty of his Polynesian culture since birth. The son of esteemed hula dancer Kumu Kathy Heali’i O Nalani Gore-Stanley, he is a pillar of Heali’i’s Polynesian Revue, his family’s halau (performing arts troupe and school), which has taught and shared the traditional island songs and dances of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and New Zealand since 1967.

By the age of two, Anthony had an ukulele in hand, later studying under teachers Barry Flanagan, Mikela Gore, Dr. Jason Arimoto, and continually under the mentorship of his mother.

Performing Artist

Close up of Anthony

As a full-time professional musician, Anthony shares his music locally and internationally, primarily playing acoustic Hawaiian/Polynesian music and touring with partner Keahi Rozet. His mission is to share his music outwardly, working toward a deep and broad cultural environment that enriches the community and offers a platform for youth. Anthony seeks to create music that retains its cultural qualities while bridging gaps and creating connections between people from all walks of life.

Heali’i’s Polynesian Revue

As the Music and Drum Director at Heali’i’s, he teaches Polynesian dance and music with an emphasis on tradition, history, and universal family (ohana). A devoted leader in his community, Anthony commuted from Los Angeles to San Diego to teach classes, lead community events and competitions, even while working towards a double major at Occidental College in economics and music, and also touring as a Kala Brand Music Co. sponsored ukulele artist. Seemingly always on his way to a recording session or a performance, Anthony still finds the time to collaborate on projects with organizations such as the San Diego Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic.Polynesian Dancers on a stage

Since August 2019, Anthony has been a Center for World Music teaching artist. Through singing and ukulele music, he has shared Hawaiian culture with hundreds of elementary school children in our World Music in the Schools program.

—Contributed by Erin Chan

Watch a short video of Anthony playing at a recent NAMM Convention.

Here’s Anthony’s page on the Kala Brand Music Co. site.

Follow Anthony on Instagram @anthonykauka.

Clinton Davis

Clinton Ross Davis: Steeped in Old-Time American Music

The Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools is delighted to profile teaching artist Dr. Clinton Davis, who is cultivating the next generation of audiences for traditional American music in San Diego.

Clinton Davis is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator. He was born and raised in Kentucky and now lives in San Diego, California. A fifth-generation Kentuckian, Davis grew up in Carroll County with faint residues of old-time music lingering in the air. With guitar, banjo, fiddle, harmonica, mandolin, and piano, Clinton sifts through America’s musical past. With the G Burns Jug Band, Davis arranges music of country, blues, and jazz greats from before World War II for a five-piece ensemble. Their second album received a San Diego Music Award.

G Burns Jug Band

 

Clinton is an enthusiastic scholar and singer of American shape-note music, traveling to every corner of the country to sing these unique tunes of a cappella harmony with others. In the summers of 2013 and 2014, he toured the Sand Mountain region of Alabama. There, he immersed himself in singing that has existed as an unbroken tradition for over 150 years.

 

In 2015, Clinton became an official Deering Artist, partnering with the Deering Banjo Company and appearing in their catalog to showcase their Goodtime Americana line of banjos.

In 2016, Clinton earned his doctorate in music at the University of California, San Diego. He served as an associate instructor at UCSD, leading a survey course in American roots music.

Beginning in 2017, Clinton has presented a series of concerts called the Southern Pacific Sessions, featuring a variety of musicians performing traditional American music at Kalabash Music & Arts in the Bird Rock neighborhood of San Diego.

Clinton teaches private music lessons and leads middle school clawhammer-style banjo classes as a teaching artist for the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program.

If you want to catch Clinton performing, check out his upcoming gigs, along with a plethora of other gems on his website, www.clintonrossdavis.com.

Enjoy this YouTube video of Clinton performing Kenesaw Mountain Rag with G Burns Jug Band.

Gamelan Project Article by Alex Khalil

Alex Khalil’s Gamelan Project Smithsonian Article

Gamelan aficionados and music educators alike with find much of interest in this great Smithsonian article on the value of music education for kids by Center for World Music board member Alexander Khalil, PhD. Dr. Khalil offers important observations on attention in children, impaired temporal processing, ADHD, and the benefits of bi-musicality.

Our research has found a connection between the ability to synchronize with an ensemble in a gamelan-like setting and other cognitive characteristics, particularly the ability to focus and maintain attention. Our current work explores whether improvements at interpersonal time processing, or synchrony, may translate into improved attention.

Also of interest in this article is Alex’s account of the history of the Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools program, based on his experience as a founding instructor during and after the program’s 1999 inauguration in San Diego at the Museum School:

The gamelan program at the Museum School has its philosophical roots in [pioneering ethnomusicologist] Mantle Hood’s well-known concept of “bi-musicality.” Just as one who is bi-lingual must have fluency in more than one language, one must be fluent in more than one musical language to be considered bi-musical. Robert E. Brown, who studied under Hood at UCLA and subsequently founded the Center for World Music, made his first efforts to bring world music, a term he is credited with having invented, to the elementary classroom in 1973 through his “world music in the schools” program in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Read the full text of this article on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Asian Art website.

Find out more about Dr. Khalil’s work at UCSD’s Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center.

And here’s a nice video documenting the ongoing gamelan program at the Museum School.

Sufi Raina

Sufi Raina, Teacher of Kathak Dance

The Center for World Music is pleased to welcome Sufi Raina to our roster of distinguished teaching artists, a team of professional musicians and dancers who bring the worlds’ performing arts into San Diego classrooms through World Music in the Schools.

Sufi Raina Headshot

Sufi Raina is a silver medalist in Kathak, one of the preeminent classical dance traditions of North India. She holds a master’s degree in Kathak from Apeejay College of Fine Arts, Jalandar, Punjab, where her mentor was the esteemed Dr. Santosh Vyas. She also holds a master’s in psychology from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Trained in the Jaipur Gharana (tradition), Sufi was a lecturer in Kathak at KMV College Jalandhar for three years. During this time she taught dance as a major to undergraduate students. She also choreographed performances for the college as well as for national youth festivals. She was invited to England by the North Somerset Music Service, as a part of a cultural exchange program, to perform and teach Kathak in schools, introducing students to Indian classical dance.

Sufi Raina Dancing

Sufi has choreographed many dance performances for the stage and national television in India. She was an assistant choreographer for the Punjabi film Heer Ranjha. An innovative choreographer, Sufi is also trained in folk dance forms of India. Her love for Kathak, combined with countless dedicated hours of riyaaz (intense practice), have brought her to many stages across the world, enthralling an international audience with the nuances of this classical Indian dance form.

Sufi moved to Southern California in 2011. Since then, she has been actively performing in the region. A lifelong learner and a teacher by choice, she is the founder and artistic director of Tej Dance Studio in San Diego.

Sufi has recently taught for the Center for World Music as an artist in residence at Innovations Academy and at the San Diego French American School, as well as presenting assembly performances at Hawking STEAM Charter School and at SDFAS.

Want to see more? Visit these links:

Promotional Video for Tej Dance Studio
Kathak Performance Celebration World Dance Day in Punjab, India

Mark Lamson Teaching

What Do Children Think About Learning World Music?

Toda Criança Pode Aprender (“Every Child Can Learn”), the blog of the Brazilian NGO Laboratório de Educação (“Education Laboratory”), published a fine article on the Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools program. Here’s a translation:

What do children think about contact with music from other cultures?

October 30, 2017

This article is part of the series: What children think about . . .

Discover the children’s point of view about learning songs from other countries!

In 1963, the Center for World Music was created in San Diego, a nonprofit organization that promotes meetings and presentations by artists from different cultures with the goal of broadening social awareness of diversity.

Over time, the children’s audience became part of the project’s focus and integrated into the curriculum of some schools in San Diego County. The idea was to invest in the education of children so that they could learn from a young age about music, but mainly about the diversity and richness of contact with different cultures. (Read more about the musical experience and development of the child by clicking here and here.)

The Center for World Music has also posted an interesting video that shows the children’s point of view about interacting with instruments, artists and songs from diverse backgrounds! It is worth viewing:

[Transcript:]

What do you love abou music class?

“I like to have the experience of listening to and playing music from other countries.”

What have you learned?

“I learned to play different instruments, from gamelan to the ukulele.”

What do you like best in music class?

“I like to learn new melodies and how to use new instruments like gamelan. It’s cool!”

What do you like best in music class?

“I love having the chance to use different instruments that other schools do not use.”

What did you learn?

“I’ve learned that practice makes almost perfect, never to full perfection, but it helps a lot, because you will not always get it at first.”

“It really brings out the best in you because you really need to do your best and focus on music.”

To learn more about the project, we also recommend listening to the Center for World Music’s executive director, Monica Emery:

[Transcript:]

“The Center for World Music started in 1963, and at that time we were primarily focused on adult audiences. Then we quickly realized that children were the future, and so now we reach 5,000 students across San Diego County. We teach world music in the classrooms because we want to create a society that is more open, accepting, and compassionate. In 1999, we launched our World Music in the Schools program, to bring hands-on world music education into the San Diego classroom. This program is not just about music, this is about children learning through music about themselves and the world around them. We bring master artists and musical instruments from around the world into to the classroom, so children have a hands-on experience with these instruments and the cultures from which they come. If you want to be part of this transformational program, visit us at www.centerforworldmusic.org.”

Here’s where you can learn more about World Music in the Schools!