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Kourosh Taghavi

Spotlight: Persian Classical Musician, Kourosh Taghavi

San Diego Participant Observer, March 12, 2015

Kourosh Taghavi, master of Persian classical music and pillar of the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program, is featured in an article by Amanda Kelly.

Kourosh Taghavi, instrumentalist, vocalist and Persian classical musician boasts a passionate approach to music that has impacted audiences around the world. His collaborative projects with master musicians and local cultural organizations work to fulfill his lifelong dream to promote Persian classical music. . . .  “It is a very holistic approach to music instead of just notation and sounds,” he says. “Your daily life is so attached to your music and your music is so attached to your daily life they are almost inseparable.”

Read the full article here.

The San Diego Participant Observer is published online by the Worldview Project.  It is a great source for keep up-to-date on cultural goings on in San Diego and environs. Thanks to Tom Johnston-O’Neill and the dedicated crew at the Worldview Project for their support of World Music in the Schools and other Center for World Music projects!

Benefits of Playing Music

Great Ted-Ed Video: How Playing Music Benefits Your Brain

Here’s an excellent (and cute!) Ted-Ed animated video on the benefits of playing musical instruments.  Well-worth five minutes . . .

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

View at Ted-Ed.

Metal and Castanha Agogos

World Music Instrument: The Agogô

The first in a planned series of reports on the fascinating variety of musical instruments that students in World Music in the Schools enjoy working with . . .

The agogô is an instrument used widely in West Africa, Brazil, and throughout the world. The name comes from ágogo (AH-go-go) meaning “double bell” in the tonal Yoruba language and is onomatopoeia for the two sounds it makes. In my classes for the Center for World Music we use the Afro-Brazilian agogô (ah-go-GO). The agogô is a type of handbell similar to our cowbell. It has two or more bells attached to a handle and is played with a wooden stick. The bells can be made of metal, castanhas-do-Pará (Brazil nut shells), coconuts, gourds, wood, or large seeds. The agogô is found in a variety of Afro-Brazilian musical styles including maracatu, maculelê, batucada of the samba schools, afoxé, songs of capoeira, and more. It is used in ceremonies and rituals of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé.

—Stefanie Schmitz, World Music in the Schools Teaching Artist

Agogôs in action on YouTube:  Demo with Stefanie | A Four-Toner in Brazil |  Brazil Nut Shell Agogô

More on Stefanie: StefanieSchmitz.net

Nomsa Burkhardt

“Best of Journeys” to Teaching Artist Nomsa Burkhardt

Farewell to Nomsa

Nomsa Burkhardt at GarfieldIt is with a mix of emotions this month that we must say farewell to our good friend and stellar teaching artist Nomsa Burkhardt, who will be relocating to Germany with her family soon. Nomsa is a brilliant dancer, percussionist, and teacher, and over the last four years has shared her deep knowledge of South African Zulu music, dance, and culture with many hundreds of lucky San Diego students as part of our World Music in the Schools program.

During her time with the CWM, Nomsa has held artist residencies at Bird Rock, Del Mar Heights, Euclid, and Hearst Elementary schools, at the King-Chavez Academy of Arts Charter School, at Bell Middle School, and at numerous other festivals and workshops. She has set an exceptionally high standard of teaching and performance, and has brought a deeper understanding of the world we live in and the riches of its traditions to all those fortunate enough to have met and learned from her.

We wish her the best of journeys, success and prosperity in her new home, and our deepest thanks for all of her contributions to the Center for World Music during her time in San Diego.

—Jonathan Parker, Schools Programs Director

Nomsa’s CWM YouTube videos are here and here. See also Nomsa.net.

Music in School

What Childhood Piano Lessons Did to You

More news about the developmental benefits of music education for children . . .

The study by the University of Vermont College of Medicine found that even those who never made it past nursery rhyme songs and do-re-mi’s likely received some major developmental benefits just from playing. The study provides even more evidence as to why providing children with high-quality music education may be one of the most effective ways to ensure their success in life.

Read at Mic.com.

Demise of the Piano

The Demise of the Traditional Piano

An interesting, and perhaps sad, development. Acoustic piano sales are way down, and piano retailers are going out of business . . .

American children are increasingly over-scheduled, and when the choice is between competitive sports or the rigors of practicing the piano, music will tend to lose out. Not to mention the copious amounts of homework, or time in front of the TV, computer or tablet.

“People are interested in things that don’t take much effort, so the idea of sitting and playing an hour a day to learn piano is not what kids want to do,” [said] Larry Fine, a piano technician, consultant and author . . .

Read the story on Quartz.

NBC News

California Public Schools Get Creative to Save Arts Programs

The plight of arts programs in California public schools, and its impact on children, was featured in the NBC Nightly News for December 17. The segment shows how Takio drumming–supported by community-based funding–helps to fill the gap in a San Francisco-area school.

Creative young minds, talented kids, who deserve help, but for them the school money just isn’t there anymore, the way it was for so many of us in things like the arts . . .

View at NBC Nightly News.

Worth a look, and some thought: would you consider taking a minute to support this kind of creative effort in San Diego?

Piano

Active Participation in Music Education Improves Academic Performance

Another good read on the value of music education, noting that the benefits are dependent on learning to play music, not just appreciate it . . .

In the study, which appears online in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology, the team showed that exposure to music lessons physically stimulated the brain and changed it for the better. However, simply being exposed to music education doesn’t seem to be sufficient, you have to also be actively involved.

Read more at MedicalDaily.com.

 

Benefits of Music Education

Benefits of Music In Our Schools

The National Association for Music Education provides its list of what students’ gain from music . . .

Nearly everyone enjoys music, whether by listening to it, singing, or playing an instrument. But despite this almost universal interest, many schools are having to do away with their music education programs. This is a mistake, with schools losing not only an enjoyable subject, but a subject that can enrich students’ lives and education. Read on to learn why music education is so important, and how it offers benefits even beyond itself.

Read more here.

Hema Ramaswamy

How Hema Ramaswamy Found Healing Through Traditional Indian Dance

In a report that may be of special interest to parents of children in our World Music in the Schools program, National Public Radio recently featured a story of healing through practice of Bharata Natyam, the traditional dance of South India . . .

Ramaswamy, who has Down syndrome, originally began dancing for health reasons. “But then it became part of her, and she really loves and enjoys it, and it took her 13 years with a lot of challenges, midway, to complete this,” explained her father, Ram. “And now today is a perfect day for her — her graduating in this art.”

Listen to, and read, the story on NPR