Asia/Oceania

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

The Key to Interfaith Collaboration in the Middle East? Steel Drums

10-06-2021

I was not anxious to go to either Afghanistan or Iraq. Most recently, I had been working in Israel, but had to abandon my teaching there due to the Second Intifada. I was also directing several university and secondary school steel bands at home and was impressed with how quickly the students learned, formed close bonds, and enjoyed themselves in that setting.

It hit me: What if I could start an Arab/Israeli youth music ensemble in Israel using a musical instrument that did not belong to any of the cultures in the Middle East—one that was itself born out of conflict in Trinidad and Tobago almost 70 years ago?

New Project Connects TAs across Asia

09-15-2021

Singapore-based teaching artist Jeffrey Tan is exploring ways that fellow TAs can advocate for inclusive arts practice in Asia, through his ITAC-funded program Teaching Artist Asia. The project seeks to document, map, and advocate for TAs working across the region, exploring inclusive practice and collaborating with the sector’s disability community. As part of the project, Tan and a series of guest speakers host monthly online sessions that unpack the unique ways that TAs in Asia approach their work. Sessions are free to attend, and the next one is September 27. View the schedule via ITAC to get involved. The project’s findings will be shared at the ITAC6 Conference in Oslo in 2022.

Finding the Musical ‘Meeting Point’ Our Students Seek

09-01-2021

For the peoples of the Middle East, especially, this is a crucial time to question the hegemony of Western classical music and to reassert their own musical traditions. During the last five years, I’ve been able to observe the way this has played out in the historical regions of the Armenian Highlands and Mesopotamia, where both Armenian and Kurdish musical traditions—two traditions with a common root—are indigenous.

Floods of Fire: An Evolving Artist-Led Community Building Project

08-04-2021

What is the role and purpose of the orchestra in the 21st century? As society, culture, and funding models change, how audiences engage with live music also continues to shift, which has led to an “industry-wide existential soul-searching.” Some argue that the traditional orchestral model is risk-averse and outdated, and that orchestras could better address some of these issues by “creating a new canon” and “better connecting with the world.”

With orchestras around the world seeking new ways to work, engage, and connect with communities, I’d like to share with you a project that I’m involved in, where an orchestra and its community are collaborating in deep and meaningful ways to tell their unique stories.

A Letter from Myanmar to Our International Community

07-07-2021

I am a pianist from Myanmar. Please let me tell you about the current situation here in my country.

Before February 2021, some of you might not have been familiar with the country called Myanmar. Because of the military coup and the spring revolution, the world now knows where Myanmar is. Since the coup on February 1, the junta has killed 863 people and detained 6,046 people (AAPP Burma, June 14).

Treasures within a UNESCO Report

06-02-2021

I earned my M.A. degree in educational policy studies from the Institute of Education, University of London (now University College London) a quarter-century ago. In the same year, a seminal report called Learning: The Treasure Within (the Delors Report) was published by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), where I started my United Nations career two years later. This is one of many texts that have made a huge impact on my life; it is always a source of inspiration when it comes to education and learning. Although the Report has been influential among educators, I’ve come to recognize that it is not well known in the sphere of music education, let alone the art and music world in general.

World Children’s Music Festival 2021 in Tokyo: Let’s Play, Sing, and Strive

04-07-2021

Back in 2018, the Friends of El Sistema Japan organization made a plan to host a “World Children’s Music Festival” in Tokyo in April 2020. Of course, the pandemic made this plan impossible. But the organization was determined to make it happen in 2021.

Call to Action: Young People in Afghanistan Need Our Support

03-17-2021

The government of Afghanistan recently announced new regulations that take away the right for young people to sing.

Call to Action: Sing in Solidarity with Our Myanmar Colleagues

03-03-2021

An audiovisual project called “Sing in Solidarity with Myanmar Citizens,” launched in response to the military coup initiated in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, has attracted thousands of singing supporters across the world. The organizers, who include musicians and dancers from the inclusive music education program Gitameit Music Institute (read our 2020 feature on them here), have invited the international community to video-record themselves singing a short new song produced by the Myanmar Civil Disobedience Movement/Campaign.

The Learning behind NEO-Learning

02-03-2021

In the semi-remote town of Roebourne in the Pilbara region of the Western Australian Desert, the lack of attainment of Aboriginal young people in the Western education system does not reflect their place-based cultural literacies, which completely outstrip their city-based counterparts from Australia’s most successful schools, suburbs, and socio-economic cultures. They are so advanced and so advantaged in many Indigenous knowledge banks—over which their families and Elders are custodians—that they revel, often unknowingly (or the knowing is suppressed) in a unique cultural advantage.

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