Playing with Teaching Techniques: Gamelan as a Learning Tool Amongst Children with Learning Impairments in Northern Ireland

Jonathan McIntosh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    This article examines gamelan as a community musical tool in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. In particular, the article demonstrates how traditional pedagogic practices are changed in order to suit the needs of those who learn gamelan. A gamelan is an orchestra that includes metallophones (large glockenspiel-like instruments), gongs and drums. Originating from Southeast Asia, particularly from the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali, gamelan ensembles have long been used in the teaching of ethnomusicology in academic institutions and for purposes of applied ethnomusicology, as a musical tool, in the wider community. In these contexts, a gamelan instructor acts as a 'mediator' (Naughton 1996: 16) in the transmission of gamelan knowledge; mediating not only between the music and the learners, but also between the role of gamelan in its original sociocultural context and its newly adopted milieu. Drawing upon my experiences as a gamelan instructor, in particular, teaching children with visual and hearing impairments, I demonstrate how traditional teaching techniques are adapted to facilitate the learning of gamelan in the Northern Irish context.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2
    Pages (from-to)12–27
    Number of pages16
    JournalAnthropology in Action
    Volume12
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Keywords

    • Teaching and Learning
    • Gamelan
    • Applied Ethnomusicology

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