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Poway World Music Students

Poway Students Encounter a World of Music

The San Diego Union Tribune, October 21, 2017

Persian master musician and CWM teaching artist Kourosh Taghavi is teaching at Highland Ranch Elementary School in Poway this fall. The class is part of the Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools program, which has been reaching students in San Diego since 1999.

UT reporter Deborah Sullivan Brennan visited Highland Ranch and attended a third-grade class conducted by Kourosh. She was impressed with what she saw and heard:

This semester, students will learn classical Persian music, Brazilian Capoeira and Eastern and Western folk dances. In the Spring, they’ll study Zulu percussion, Zimbabwean songs, and Brazilian Samba. It’s a good mix for a campus where the students hail from all corners of the globe.

Kourosh Taghavi at Poway

Kouroush Taghavi teaches a song while playing the Persian setar. UT Photo by Don Boomer.

Reflecting on the diversity of languages and cultures represented at Highland Ranch, Mr. Taghavi said:

Music makes you a kinder person. I hope they become more gentle people, more understanding, and with open eyes, ready to experience the world that is before them. I think they will become more content when they know about each other.

The students seem to agree!

Read the full story at SanDiegoUnionTribune.com. A great tribute to having world music in our schools!

Setar

World Music Instrument: The Setar

This article featuring the Iranian setar is part of our series of reports on the fascinating variety of world musical instruments. Lessons on the setar are part of the CWMs innovative World Music in the Schools program. This instrument profile was contributed by Kourosh Taghavi.


The 
setar is a Persian (Iranian) stringed instrument with a small, pear-shaped soundbox and four metal strings. Its name means “three strings.” A fourth drone string was added about 150 years ago by the mystic Moshtagh Ali Shah. The drone string is referred to as the “Sim Moshtagh” (Moshtagh string) by many prominent tar and setar players. This modification gave the delicate instrument a “bigger” sound and more complex tuning possibilities. The resonating box of the setar is attached to a long neck that has twenty-five gut frets. The soundbox is made from mulberry wood, while the neck comes from the walnut tree. The instrument has a melodic range of just over twenty scale degrees. Although it is traditionally played with the right index finger’s nail, in the past three decades, two distinguished master performers, Mohammad-Reza Lotfi and Hossein Alizadeh, have introduced new techniques to give setar playing a whole new life.

 

Mohammad-Reza Lotfi

Mohammad-Reza Lotfi playing the setar.


Today the 
setar is generally considered the supreme instrument for performing Persian classical music. Due to new playing techniques, its evolution, and new approaches to melodies within Persian classical music boundaries, the setar has opened the door to contemporary compositions. 

It is hard to believe the setar was nearly forgotten during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries due to the tar‘s increased popularity. The tar a similar but larger instrument with a fuller sound. The tar is a double-chambered string instrument with three sets of double strings with the same fretting on its neck as the smaller, more delicate setar.

 

Hossein Alizadeh

Hossein Alizadeh playing the tar.


In 1984, a pivotal recording of a 
setar solo performed by the master Mohammad-Reza Lotfi brought the smaller instrument to the attention of a whole new generation of Persian classical music enthusiasts. Indeed, Lotfi’s historic album, in memory of the great musician Darvish Khan, enticed many young instrument makers and musicians to fall in love with the sound of the setar. Thus a new generation of setar makers and players has recently emerged.

 

Updated and expanded: March 9, 2021

Persian Drum Class

San Diego Students Learn About Persian Music and Culture

Peyk: The Persian Cultural Center’s Bilingual Magazine, September 1, 2010

Our friends at the Persian Cultural Center of San Diego have published a nice article about our World Music in the Schools program in Persian music and culture at King-Chavez Academies in San Diego. The instructor is Kourosh Taghavi, a world-renowned professional setar player, and CWM teaching artist in residence.

Mr. Taghavi teaches about 250 K-5th grade students at King-Chavez Academies, where he is on campus for two full days a week. As the students learn about Persian classical music, they are introduced to Persian culture as well. . . . In the spring of 2010, the demand for the program increased beyond the resources that were immediately available, so the Center reached out to the Iranian-American community in California and members of the community responded generously.

The CWM is thankful for this support, and we’re sure the students would agree!

Read the full story here.