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Balinese Arts and Culture in the Classroom: Opening Ears, Hearts and Minds

Orff was inspired by the music and instruments of Indonesia and Africa as he was forming his musical sensibilities in 1920s Germany. Today, despite unlimited access to the worlds of sound, students may not choose to listen to music outside their norm. We can inspire our students to open their ears and minds to new music and cultures through hands-on exploration, addressing the “Big Ideas” in the BC Curriculum as well as Curricular Competencies and Content. In this session, participants will experience different genres of Balinese arts that connect to the Orff approach using alternative possibilities of pentatonic scales, rhythmic constructions, and multi-disciplinary theatre. We will begin with kecak (often known as monkey chant), a dramatic vocal and movement ensemble genre. Building on the interlocking rhythmic techniques experienced in kecak, participants will learn a traditional instrumental piece from the bamboo tingklik orchestra, easily transferred to xylophones. The afternoon’s focus will be the multi-arts performance genre of wayang kulit shadow puppet theatre and gender wayang, pentatonic musical accompaniment. This workshop will model and explore teaching arts from another culture, as well as introducing possibilities for the students’ creativity within traditional forms. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018 - 9:30am to 3:30pm

Queen Elizabeth Elementary

921 Salter Street, New Westminster

Sarah Willner and Pam Hetrick

Sarah Willner specializes in culturally relevant pedagogy and arts integration. She works with children and teachers in Oakland Unified School District and Alameda County as an Orff specialist and music integration coach. She is President of Northern California Orff Association and has presented workshops at local and National Conferences. Sarah has studied and performed the music of Bali since 1988, with Gamelan Sekar Jaya in the San Francisco Bay area, and with many revered teachers in Bali, specializing in traditional and modern music for shadow theater (gender wayang). She performs with the contemporary shadow theater troupe, ShadowLight Productions in large-scale original works that have toured to major U.S. venues.

Pam Hetrick has performed with Gamelan Sekar Jaya with whom she toured Bali twice, Keith Terry Body Music Ensemble, and currently Adanu Habobo, a Vancouver based West African music and dance group. She received the American Keetman Grant to study tingklik music in Bali.

Pam and Sarah co-presented “Balinese Shadow Theatre and Musical Accompaniment” at the American Orff Schulwerk Association 2016 National Conference. They are currently writing a book for teachers, “Meong-Meong: Balinese Arts and Culture in the Classroom.”