Sunday, 15 August 2010


After nealy 7 weeks in Bangalore we like to feel that we have made some good changes in the schools we are in. At the Good Shepherd we have weekly/twice weekly workshops on various different aspects of music. These are always met with much enthusiasm from the kids and often so many turn up that they barely all fit in the room. I have to agree with Lucie below that the kids think that we are crazy! I was teaching a couple of children a piano duet and by the end of the class, them, myself and 2 of the teachers had descended into fits of laughter. Maybe not such a productive lesson but definatley alot of fun. I have also figured out a good way of getting the children to practice. I threaten that if they dont Sister Christine (our host) will get angry with me and kick me out onto the streets and then i will die of hunger and, 'do you really want this burden on your shoulders Benita?' This probably isnt the most PC way of doing it but it seems to work... I have also got a few of the kids here involved in piano duets which is actually more fabulous than i can explain. It kills so many birds with one stone. In all of the cases their sight reading, rhythm and musicality has increased 10 fold. Its nothing short of a miracle. I never believed it would work before i got here but with a couple of kids i tried everything and nothing worked but as soon as i got them playing a duet it was like they were 2 different children. I would strongly recommend it to all! I have also started a choir... I thought this would be a relatively easy thing to do but it turns out some people are really tone-deaf so its proving quite a challenge (much to the other teachers amusment)!

However at the St. Marks Music Academy things are not going so swimmingly. If started off well with a good number of students turning up to our first workshop. We even did a very successful teachers workshop. However the violin workshop only had 2 in attendance even though it had been specially requested by the violin teacher and the other junior workshop only had one in attendance. This was a great dissappointment to us and we feel like the school is not helping us achieve anything. When we asked them what they wanted us to do and what impact they wanted us to make we just got the reply, 'well everyone thinks you are doing very well so far.' Even though we werent actually doing anything!
Teachers Workshop at St. Marks
However Sister Christine (Good Shepherd) is only too happy with this and after me telling her about the bad response she replied, 'well that just gives you more time to do workshops here! The children love the workshops!'

So with only 2 more weeks left to go its difficult to know what to do next but we will continue to the bitter end trying to make our mark on the Bangalore piano teaching method! We have other things in the pipeline though. We have done our first concert today to a very enthusiastic and grateful audience, and we have another 3 to go. We also have workshops in state schools and a workshop in another music school in koramungalaakjdshkfbnsa. We have also met the representative of the London college exam board who is also very keen to work with us. So all in all we think we are being pretty successful!

Not only that but we have adapted very well to the way of life over here. Sylvia hails a rickshaw while i hide behind a tree and jump in last second so that they dont hike up the price! It works very well as many people have commented the Sylvia could pass for a north Indian! Also now we've learnt a bit of the lingo its much easier to work our way round the city and ward off unwanted attention. Nothing gets past us now!

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