Congratulations to musicology doctoral student Putu Hiranmayena for being awarded the best student paper at the 4th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia! See the abstract below.
“Putting the “game” in Gamelan: Improvising Gamelan as Praxis in Public Charter Schools
For the past seventeen years, the Museum School of San Diego has incorporated Balinese gamelan into their core curriculum. In 1999, Dr. Alex Khalil and the late Robert E. Brown of the Center for World Music, designed courses for students in America to experience music as children do in Bali: within their daily lives. The school has housed gamelan angklung, gender wayang, gong kebyar, and occasionally “tarian” or dance. Guest artists such as I Nyoman Wenten (CalArts) and I Made Lasmawan (Colorado College) have participated in residencies at the museum school among other established artists. While students learn gamelan by the traditional “maguru panggul” or teaching through the mallet, teachers have utilized other methods to accommodate the diverse learning styles. I began as instructor in fall of 2013 and have employed improvisatory methods (Conduction) in search of a way to engage kindergarteners through game, not as a critique to traditional methods but as augmentation of such practices. This paper discusses the utilization of shared experiences across established cultural processes as the conduit for artistic praxis and preservation of creative agency. I argue that improvisatory “games” in the context of American kids gamelan not only stimulate creativity, but offer students a multi-sensorial experience that equips them with tools for which the pedagogical methods of gamelan are based upon. In doing so, I hope to highlight problems with my own positionality and advocate for improvisation in classrooms, as byproducts of cross-cultural contact.