Sunday, 7 July 2013

Hello from Gurgaon!

Maria: After a bumpy flight we arrived in one piece in Delhi. As soon as we left the airport building we were met with a wall of humidity which seemed impossible. Gradually, we are getting used to this! I am teaching at the Institute of Music Dynamics (‘IMD’) which is a private music school that has been running for a couple of years. The main disciplines taught are guitar, piano, vocals, drums and composition. The school also has a contract with several local schools and teaches classroom music there. This is the area that I am going to be most involved in.
This week I have spent several days teaching in the Shri Ram school. This is one of Delhi’s best schools because of the grades that it achieves. Therefore I was surprised by how naughty some of the children were! I am teaching grades 6-9 (ages 10-14) and most classes have around 35 children in them. So far my classes have involved basic rhythmic exercises, singing and notation. I have also tried introducing composition and experimental music (e.g. ‘music’ as sounds not just from musical instruments). This was met with some confusion. I think I will have to take things slowly. The most difficult thing will be in teaching harmony as there is only one piano in the school and the children have no access to xylophones etc. as in Western schools.
My favourite part of this week so far has been teaching at the IMD which runs in the afternoon after normal schools have finished. Here I taught some adults individually in singing lessons. This was great because the students were so willing to learn and interested! I’m looking forward to what next week brings.

Hey – Áine here! Unlike Maria, whilst in Delhi, I’m teaching solely at the One World College of Music. This is an independent music school, specialising in extra-curricular music teaching for school-age children, as well as adults. Luckily for me, this means that my working hours start after mainstream school finishes during the weekday so I can have a bit of a lie-in, but unfortunately it also means that I also work fairly long hours on the weekend!
This week, I at first mainly sat in on the music lessons (which comprise of individual guitar, piano, voice, bass and drumkit lessons as well as theory classes and band/choir practise), but for the past few days I have also had my own piano and voice students, as well as some ensemble and adult theory classes. My main role at the school is to help sort out a curriculum, as well as some teaching, concert preparation and organising a variety of workshops for the whole school (today, for example, I gave an 80 minute popular song composition class). In this respect, I am working equally with both teachers and students, to enable some collaboration and give some fresh ideas on structuring series of lessons as well as introducing a few methods for keeping students engaged. The school contains a large proportion of beginners, and around a dozen dedicated instrumental tutors, who also run the theory and ensemble classes.
I am still very much in the process of getting used to life both at the school and in Gurgaon itself – the daily performances of histrionics necessary to negotiate a halfway reasonable price for auto-rickshaw rides to school have now reached the point where I myself am almost moved to tears by my own emotional fervour. Generally otherwise, everyone I have met is extremely welcoming and always have time for a chat, be it about work, the incessant heat or recommendations for a good place to get a bite to eat.

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