February 17

African Music Workshop

This morning I went to a workshop for music teachers in my area lead by Dr. Benon Kigozi. He is a music professor in Uganda and has been the president of the International Society for Music Education. He has a gentle fun loving spirit that fills the room with energy. He shared folk songs partnered with dances, taught us simple ways to effectively introduce drum circles to our students, and gave us an overview of how African culture and music are so intertwined it is almost impossible to separate them (and becomes worthless if you do). As a group of music teachers, our time was spent as a community, doing something that we all loved. We learned very quickly about each others personalities and musical background in the drum circle. Without talking, we went around the circle each playing an 8 beat pattern. Some people’s pattern had people nodding their head, others an “ooo” or “ahh”, and finally, one guy made us all bust out laughing at the same time; all without saying a word –The power of music.

Today’s joy is the joy of music crossing cultural boundaries.

P.S. – If you are a music person, the conversation from above was: a very complex rhythm, advanced syncopation, and after all the craziness, straight quarter notes, respectively.

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