Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Eggs, Bread & Van Halen

Right, it’s blog time again.

This last week has been an interesting one; new people, new places and something that almost resembled a Western breakfast. Hurrah!

So, last Monday, at some obscure hour of the morning, I set off with Abraham on a 3-hour drive (thankfully, not on the motorbike) to a place called Kottayam. The town itself isn’t much to look at but just a few kilometers to the West there are idyllic backwaters surrounded by paddy fields and extensive rubber plantations. It’s pretty nice.

The purpose of our trip was to visit Abraham’s latest project, the newly established Asian Christian College of Music. It’s situated next door to the India Baptist Theological Seminary, which was set up back in 2000 by Dr. Kunjumon Chacko, a world-renowned preacher of Christian teachings. With some help from the Bluefield College in Virginia, USA, he has acquired the necessary funding to turn a presently vacant building into a training centre for aspiring Church musicians. Abraham has been employed as Chief Executive and needs me to help him construct a syllabus for the new BMus course, which will focus primarily on performance. It’s a work in progress but will hopefully be finished by the end of this month!


I spent the rest of the week deliberating over the content of the syllabus, but also managed to find time to do some sightseeing. The trip to Alleppey (which Lonely Planet describes as ‘Venice-like’) was fairly uneventful but I will always have fond memories of travelling by boat through picturesque backwaters to a soundtrack of Van Halen and Bruno Mars (courtesy of Azo, my travelling companion that day). I also decided to take the bus to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, where I found plenty of sanctuary, but a distinct lack of bird. That said, it turned out to be a very pleasant walk.  

Oh, and the breakfast gets a paragraph for itself; eggs, bread and even some jam. Heaven.

On Saturday, it was back to the kids at CDMS and their fear of THE THING. The ‘thing’ I refer to is, in fact, sight-reading, which, for the majority of students, forms the most difficult part of their musical education at the school. Many of them see it as an impossible feat and fail to proceed beyond the first bar, so I am enforcing a strict daily practice routine that ends with (yep, you guessed it) a few minutes of sight-reading. Whether they do it, of course, is another matter, but I live in hope.

Next weekend, I will be giving a workshop on piano performance to all 90 of the exam students who may, or may not, fit into the same classroom. In addition, I’ll attempt to provide them with an introduction to jazz, as the majority of pupils (and indeed, most of the country) are unfamiliar with the concept. I also have plans to collectively write a blues tune, which cannot fail to be a success. No wrong notes in jazz, right?!

Slightly breathless at present due to the unfortunate discovery of a relatively large beetle patrolling the surface of the desk at which I am sat. Boots Insect Repellent does a great job of repelling ‘biting insects’, though the label fails to explain that in doing so, it will attract everything else.

I think it’s time to re-charge the ‘bat’.

The 'Bat'

Next update coming soon!


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