Hi Hannah here….so, here’s an update on how everything is going in Mumbai…
In my last blog I was saying (complaining) that I haven’t been given a timetable. Well now I have been given a full timetable which includes 2 full days of keyboard teaching, 1 day of classroom music with Grades 1 and 2 and 2 days of kindergarten so it's all go.
The keyboard classes are pretty challenging as we have lots of children crammed into a small room with dodgy electrics and a building site outside the (open) window, but I am working in tandem with the current keyboard teacher and getting the chance to share ideas with him which is good. My main focus is to improve their posture as many of them are playing well and musically but with terrible technique, using only their first finger in some cases. Last week I gave them all a drilling on hand position and this week they have practiced and improved loads which is really rewarding. I wish my students in London would work that hard! The school has also asked me to write a keyboard syllabus which I am working hard on; it’s good to know that I will be providing a tangible resource which can be used in the future.
The Grade 1’s and 2’s are doing food as a topic so I have been teaching fun action songs about ‘cauliflowers fluffy’ and so on. They also, unfortunately, LOVE the ‘Pirate song’ which I stupidly taught them in the first class, and now have to sing every lesson. The fact that they all seem to think pirates drive airplanes (my English accent can be quite confusing) doesn’t seem to matter. Kindergarten are coming along brilliantly, the kids now know exactly what I want them do without me even having to ask them! Their topic this month is farming and food which is loads of fun, and they are now picking up new songs much quicker than they were a month ago – very satisfying. It’s nice that they are getting into a routine and are now used to me, walking into a classroom so cries of ‘Good Moooooorning Hannah Auntie’ is a very nice thing.
Next week I am also going to run a few workshops for the school teachers and even have plans for a staff choir! It’s nice that the teachers are so enthusiastic and receptive to music, it’s just a shame that they don’t have a permanent music teacher all year.
As well as working at our schools, Ronald and I have been running workshops for a fantastic charitable organization called Muktangen. This organization, run by a couple called Sunil and Liz Mehta, provides education for the disadvantaged children of central Mumbai through a network of eight schools in various locations around the area of Parel. As well as providing education for children, they also help women from the local community to train as teachers and support them through professional development projects. They have a great choir which was chosen to perform at the prestigious National Center for Performance Arts, a music journey which was filmed for a Channel 4 documentary entitled ’From Slums to Stage’. Check them out at www.muktanganedu.org.
Our folk jam with Aditya, the local violin teacher, is still going strong and I am still playing with Ayush, the Nepalese singer/songwriter dude. He has invited Ronald and I to participate in some music workshops he runs called ‘Dharavi Rocks’, which involves children from Dharavi, the slum made famous by the film Slumdog Millionaire. These children, who work as rag pickers on the city dumps, bring bottles and tubs that they have found during their day to the workshops and Ayush leads them in a makeshift percussion band! We will be going along on Wednesday with our instruments ready to jam along. They are having a big fundraising concert on the 25th, something we can hopefully contribute to.