Category Archives: Professional Development

Who needs instruments?

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!


By Katja Maria Slotte

Professional development workshop in Luxembourg 26-27 November

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)

For more information and sign-up, please visit the SCRIPT professional development page.