Following up from yesterday’s blog post with the Barbatuques video clip, today’s spotlight is on the work of percussionist/rhythm dancer and “body musician” Keith Terry. Keith Terry’s Body Music is a performance art that synthesizes body percussion, movement and cross-cultural rhythmic concepts. In Body Music, Terry draws upon rhythmic techniques such as polyrhythms, phasing, cross pulses, and polymeters. Terry’s influences range from Japanese Taiko and Balinese Gamelan to North American rhythm tap and Ethiopian armpit music. Terry is the artistic director of Crosspulse, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to the creation, performance and recording of rhythm-based, intercultural music and dance. In addition to performing and teaching workshops, Terry has created two instructional videos (Body Music Vol.1 and Body Music Vol. 2) that teach the basics and variations on Body Music. These videos are wonderful (teaching) resources for music educators and musicians.
I was first introduced to Terry’s Body Music by San Fransisco-based Orff teacher Doug Goodkin, who was the first music educator to use Keith’s ideas in his work with children and subsequent teaching in Orff workshops. Since the early 90’s, Body Music ideas have been introduced by Goodkin and by Keith Terry himself to music teachers worldwide, among others at the Orff Insitute, and at Orff summer courses and conferences. In addition to the use of Body Music in the classroom, Keith’s ideas are applied by many performing groups as well.
Body Music is suitable as a medium for rhythm training at all levels, and also for strengthening rhythmic sensibility in singing, instrumental playing and dance. My own musical training began with classical piano studies and singing. Rhythmical training was often a nightmare subject because of the way it was taught: focusing on the ears and the head/logic, but completely disconnected from the rest of the body. It wasn’t until I was introduced to music education approaches like Dalcroze and Orff Schulwerk, where rhythm is connected to movement and body percussion, that I had most of my a-ha moments in rhythmical training. Later on, I took some percussion classes – something I would strongly recommend too for all singers. Working with world music styles that are based on aural learning has also been an invaluable training to strengthen my own rhythm skills.
In Body Music, the playing of rhythm patterns, movement and vocalization are brought together. When rhythm is experienced through the whole body it demands a physical internalization of rhythm, that I believe music education on all levels and areas benefits from. Music doesn’t happen in the head, it happens in the whole body! Body Music can be adapted to virtually any music style or culture, and thereby provides excellent rhythm training tools for culturally diverse music education. Finally, a link to the Crosspulse Teacher Blog, where you can download a PDF of Keith Terry’s article on Body Music.
Here is a clip of the Brazilian group Barbatuques that makes organic music using their voices and bodies as instruments. The group performs in Brazil as well as internationally, teaches workshops, gives trainings and participates in educational and social projects.
The professional development course that I am giving with Jeanne in Luxembourg 26-27 November is called “No Instruments? No Problem!” The idea for the workshop was born because of the reactions we often get from teachers: “At our school we don’t have (a budget to buy) enough instruments for all the students…” Making music and exploring musical elements and concepts is possible without any instruments at all, just like the Barbatuques show in their video (all right…they have included a Jew’s harp in this particular piece, but even that sound could be produced with the voice only).
Body percussion is probably the most ancient universal instrument. Ethnomusicologist Curt Sachs writes in ‘World History of the Dance’ (1937):
“The original time beater is the stamping foot… To the dull stamping sound is added the sharper sound made by slapping the hand on some part of the body; thus the upper arm, the flanks, the abdomen, the buttocks and the thighs become musical instruments. […] Besides stamping… only hand clapping is found among all cultures at all periods.”
Add another instrument that we all are equipped with, the human voice (vocal sounds, singing voice and speaking voice), and we have endless possibilities to create music!
26-27 November 2011 Jeanne Schmartz and Katja Maria Slotte will lead a professional development workshop for teachers, childcare professionals, social workers, and music educators in Luxembourg.
The workshop is called “No Instruments? No Problem!” and is designed to cater to the needs of many educators and schools that struggle with (budget) issues and not having (enough) musical instruments for their students. In the workshop we will explore the vast possibilities there are to teach music in a meaningful and creative way without using any instruments at all. The participants will get introduced to the possibilities of working with body percussion, singing voice, speaking voice, and vocal sounds, and get lots of hands-on activities and ideas to bring back to their own classrooms and teaching situations.
In the workshop we will explore the connection between the Orff Schulwerk approach to music education and common elements used in world music styles, such as ostinato patterns, echo, improvisation, and other techniques. The workshop repertoire consists of children’s singing and rhythm games from all over the world. Participants will not only receive a lot of ideas and activities to bring back to their own classrooms, but also train their own vocal and rhythm skills and become more confident in presenting music activities.
This professional development weekend is organized by SCRIPT (Service de Coordination de la Recherche et de l’Innovation pédagogiques et technologiques), the institute for professional development of the Luxembourgish Ministry of Education (Ministère de l’Education Nationale et de la Formation Professionnelle).
Workshop languages: English and Luxembourgish.
Jeanne Schmartz; percussionist, music teacher, musicologist (MA, BMus)
Katja Maria Slotte; singer, musician, singing teacher & music educator (BMus, MMus, Authorised CVT Teacher)
Jeanne studied violin, and trained as a percussionist and is specialised in Latin percussion. She’s also a musicologist with a research interest in world music and music education. Katja studied piano and flute, trained as a music teacher and voice teacher, and as a singer specialising in world music, jazz and pop. She is specialised in the methodology of teaching singing, and in singing techniques for all styles of music.
We do workshops and professional development courses, coach teachers, write handbooks for people who teach singing and music, create new teaching materials, develop music education projects and give school concerts.
From time to time we share our thoughts on music education in this blog. The following aspects of music education that are especially close to our hearts:
Singing & Vocal Education
Percussion (Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Latin)
World Music & Multicultural Music Education
Early Childhood & Elementary Music
On our blog you will find news, observations, reviews on music education materials (books, DVD’s, CD’s), information on interesting music education projects, initiatives, concerts and workshops, as well as mini-interviews with interesting music educators and musicians that inspire us. From time to time we will give away some lesson plans and share our favorite teaching tips.