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Teaching Artist Matthew Clough-Hunter

The Center for World Music is delighted to profile World Music in the Schools teaching artist Matthew Clough-Hunter.

Matthew Clough-Hunter is a Los Angeles-based performer, composer, and educator who specializes in several Balinese gamelan traditions including angklung, gong kebyar, gendèr wayang, gambuh, kecak, and gamut. He is a member of several gamelan ensembles based in Southern California: Burat Wangi, a community-based gamelan at CalArts directed by I Nyoman Wenten; Merdu Kumala, a community-based gamelan directed by Hirotaka Inuzuka that teaches gamelan workshops and performs throughout the country; Giri Kusuma, a gong kebyar ensemble affiliated with Pomona College; and Sekaa Gambuh, an ensemble that specializes in an ancient repertoire played with meter-long bamboo flutes.

Recently, Matthew taught gamelan at Opus 6 (a summer camp program organized by the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra), participated in Performing Indonesia at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and performed with renowned Indonesian guitarist Balawan.

Matthew earned an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in World Music with a focus on Indonesian music and composition, and a BFA from Denison University in Music Performance on jazz guitar. Outside of his work in the realm of gamelan, Matthew enjoys songwriting and performing. His songs can be found under the artist name “Cloudhopper” on streaming sites such as Spotify. Music composition, performance, and education are among the strongest driving forces in Matthew’s life, and he feels “so happy when [he] can excite someone about the possibilities of their input in music.”

Matthew Clough-Hunter and Hirotaka Inuzuka performing gender wayang

Gamelan Merdu Kumala performing at the 2022 Balinese Gamelan Festival in Colorado

Idrissa Bangoura: Drumming, Song, and Movement from Guinea

Idrissa Bangoura was born in the Mande region of Guinea and is part of the Susu culture group of West Africa. He speaks Susu, French, and English. Coming from a family of performers, he first learned djembe drumming from his two older brothers, Bengaly and Mohamed. The latter were both soloists for the Ballet Africain de Guinée, based in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. From them, Idrissa learned about proper playing techniques, drum repair, and goat-skin drum head replacement. They also introduced him to the traditional rhythms of Guinea and gave him the knowledge, techniques, and insight necessary to truly enjoy playing the djembe, among the most sophisticated rhythm instruments of Africa. 

In addition to being a skillful percussionist, Idrissa is an accomplished athlete and acrobat, formally trained at the Keita Fodeba Centre for Acrobatic Arts, also located in Conakry. He has worked as an instructor, performing artist, dancer, and acrobat, and has toured with the prestigious Montreal, Canada-based equestrian performing company Cavalia in their show Odysseo, which highlights a diverse cast of acrobats, aerialists, riders, and horses from all over the world.

Based in San Diego since 2017, Idrissa teaches acrobatic arts to children and frequently performs with the Fern Street Circus, a local community circus for underserved youth. In the fall of 2021, he joined the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program as a distinguished teaching artist. Students at the Monarch School in San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood and at Bird Rock Elementary in La Jolla have been happily immersed in traditional djembe drumming, song, and movement under Idrissa’s able guidance. The Monarch School program is being funded by the Jason Mraz Foundation and Macy’s Foundation.

Because of his diverse training and performance background, Idrissa is able to incorporate aspects of song, movement, dance, and instrumental music performance that offer students in our World Music in the Schools program a view of the culture and the language of the Susu people of Guinea. Idrissa’s passion for teaching is driven by the excitement his students express in learning about cultural traditions and the history of his native country. 

We are delighted and proud to have Idrissa Bangoura on our roster of distinguished teaching artists.

Learn more on Idrissa Bangoura’s website.  Here’s a YouTube video of Idrissa and daughter Adama performing for the San Diego Unified School District and the Fern Street Circus.

Kaylie Kirby: A Full Circle Experience

Student Kaylie in Museum School class (back right)

In 1999, Kaylie took her first class in Balinese gamelan and dance at Museum School in San Diego. It was a new charter school with a new vision: to incorporate music and other creative arts—seen as fundamental to child development—into the standard curriculum. The Museum School reached out to the Center for World Music (CWM) for help. It was the very first year of the CWM’s youth education program, World Music in the Schools, and the beginning of what would become some of the organization’s most rewarding work: matching accomplished and experienced teaching artists to residency programs within San Diego area K–12 schools.

Kaylie Kirby was in 5th grade when the Balinese gamelan program was initiated at Museum School, where she studied under I Nyoman Sumandhi (music) and Ni Putu Sutiati (dance), and later Alex Khalil (music) and Kaori Okado (dance). Training in music and dance was offered to students at Museum School, which at the time included 3rd through 6th grade. There was also an after-school program for intermediate and advanced students. Kaylie thrived in this program, taking lessons during school hours and participating in the after-school program during her years attending Museum School.

Kaylie with daughter

Upon graduation from 6th grade, Kaylie continued her involvement with the Museum School’s gamelan and dance program by attending weekly rehearsals after school. Alex and Kaori had created a performing group with the advanced students called Puspa Warsa, in which Kaylie had the opportunity to perform for numerous universities, festivals, and news stations all over Southern California for several years. Throughout this time, she continued to assist with the intermediate students’ after-school program at the Museum School. She also had the opportunity to study under other Balinese masters, including Dr. I Nyoman Wenten, renowned Balinese performing arts director at CalArts and UCLA. In 2018–19, she was a member of the Balinese gamelan anklung ensemble at the University of San Diego, directed by Dr. David Harnish. 

Fast forward to today; Kaylie’s daughter is currently a kindergarten student at Museum School and a member of their Balinese gamelan program, now in its 22nd year. We are excited to welcome Kaylie, as she shares her expertise and passion for Balinese arts as a teaching artist of the gamelan ensemble at Museum School!

This is a true full-circle story that humbly reminds us that the work we do and have been doing for decades in the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program is valuable, important, and to many, life-changing.

Welcome back, Kaylie!

Kristina Cunningham: Teaching Ballet Folklorico in San Diego Schools

The Center for World Music is thrilled to welcome Kristina Cunningham to the roster of talented teaching artists in our World Music in the Schools program. She is currently sharing the beauty of ballet folklorico with students at Monarch School, a program funded by the Jason Mraz and Macy’s Foundations.

Kristina is a first-generation American of Mexican descent. She first experienced ballet folklorico while attending a rehearsal at her neighborhood church in Barrio Logan at the age of three. Even then, she was mesmerized by the dancers, and soon began lessons with Ballet Folklorico de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. She continued studying and performing with this same troupe all through grade school. During college, Kristina expanded her repertoire by extensively studying West African dance, hip-hop, ballet, and modern dance.

Kristina Cunningham. Photo by Sue Brenner Photography.

Kristina is currently the Director of DanzArts Children’s Academy, a division of DanzArts, a non-profit dance school based in Liberty Station. She has also served as principal dancer for over 10 years with DanzArts Sabor Mexico Dance Co, where she has performed at Southern California venues including Copley Symphony Hall, Balboa Theater, and Cerritos Performing Arts Center. In addition, she performs annually with Grammy-nominated Mariachi Sol de Mexico. She continues to refine her craft by training with folklorico masters, including Joel Gutierrez, and attending master artist workshops such as Danzantes Unidos.

Kristina truly loves teaching dance to the youth in our community. Her own children are currently studying ballet folklorico and Spanish flamenco and she is proud to often have them share the stage with her.

Kristina brings decades of dance experience and expertise to San Diego school students through World Music in the Schools. The joy she brings to children’s faces as they learn ballet folklorico is unforgettable. Please help us welcome her to the Center for World Music.

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

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 Eduardo García, Building Community Through Son Jarocho.

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.

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