Wednesday, October 22, 2008

India Oct 23

It's Thursday and I will continue where I left off, detailing last week.
Friday: First full day at school and I was thrown in to the classroom right away. I think the teachers in this school were under the impression that I was already a seasoned teacher. After the daily assembly (picture below)
I went to a classroom where the teacher said go ahead and left the room. I let her know I was not comfortable with this so she stayed but I still was in front of the class. I had not prepared any lesson so I had to improvise and began to ask students their names and interests. A few students mentioned music and performed for me; one singing and one on a small keyboard. This only took about 10 mnutes of a 30 minute class though, and I was forced to further improvise. Although this was an English class, I gravitated to my comfort and knowledge of music and began to tell them of my various musical endeavours. This entailed talking about the origin and construction of steel drums as well as the origin of jazz which led me to the subject of the blues. I used a student's keyboad to demonstrate a 12-bar blues and the use of improvisation within the genre. I did this both lyrically and melodically then had a few students come up and try their own melodic improvisation. This turned out to work well so I used it in two more classes that I observed/taught. In one of these classes, a student played tabla (drums of North Indian origin) along with the blues. This class also brought in an American style drumset ("jazz drums" as they call it) which allowed me to demonstrate various groove styles. This provided me with a positive feeling after initally being intimidated by being asked to teach right away. The rest of the day was spent observing various classes, which is how I found myself in the presence of a teacher named Poornima. She taught singing to all levels of students in various Indian languages (Hindi, Sanskrit). I felt at ease and as though I had found my place in the school. Initially I was not sure where I should be and what I should do, I was told at first that music only happened on certain days when two male music teachers came to school -one for primary grades one for secondary grades. When I found out Poornima was here everyday I was happy that I could watch a music teacher everyday. I spent the rest of me school day with her and to behonest I don't know what happened the rest of that day. Even though I have been here a little over one week, it seems like a long time - many new experiences to mentally sort through.
Saturday: I decided to go to work this day as many schools in India have a half day of classes on Saturdays. The day was considerably easier for the students and I found myself follwing Poornima around for the day watching, listening, and learning a Sanskrit song which I was able to record :) The afternoon found the group of American students visiting an monument in the old part of the city. This was nice to see, but even better was the bazaar that engulfed the surrounding streets. Below is the momument first (called Charminar) and pictures of the bazaar next.
Mainly clothes and jewelry were sold, not my top interest, but the environment in which this frenzy transpired was an amazing experience of its own. I captured many photos of random people - young childen beggin in the streets, angry looking rickshaw drivers, and street vendors alike. I even managed to find a shop whose sign advertised musical instruments, but when I asked to see them I was told they were for display only. The evening conlcluded with dinner at a local restaurant that we frequented almost every other day in our first week, as it served a variety of cusine that appealed to all members of our group. Food that is recognizeable really helps to feel comfort in a place where so many things are strange. I have to go, but more later.


asvmusic said...

Great to hear from you! I'm glad that you're enjoying your stay in India. Our kids miss you, they ask about you all the time. We're having a presidential assembly tomorrow (Friday) morning and I will be sharing portions of your blog with the kids. I'll send their questions and comments along to you later this weekend. Catch up on some sleep!

ceramica said...

I enjoy reading your blogs. Wow, what a day you had, but you handled it very well. I'm proud of you!!
I hope you have a fun weekend and can get some rest.
I can't wait to hear all you stories and see the pictures.

with Love

( keep breathing !! :-))