After a month I’m feeling in a reflective mood about my time here in Gurgaon. Although I’m teaching a lot and growing to know my students more, I’m anxious for my stay here to have an impact that extends beyond the time I am here for. To do this I need to train the teachers as well as teach the children. However, this is difficult as in some of the areas there is no-one else teaching besides me, so as yet, I can’t pass my knowledge on to a successor. Nevertheless, there are vocal teachers I can train and I plan to give a workshop to them shortly.
Otherwise, my classroom music lessons are going well at Shri Ram were I have now covered the basics of rhythm, harmony and taught them about different instruments. Last week I started a Blues project with my students aged 11-14 and we have been looking at the historical and social background of the genre as well as singing some blues. Some students are very keen to sing in lessons whilst others are not so keen which can be a little disheartening. Still, I had some great Elvis Presley impressions from the boys when we sung his Rock’n’Roll version of the blues standard ‘Hound dog’.
This week I’ve been developing the Blues project in order to teach about different technical features that make up the blues. I’ve been encouraging an atmosphere of creativity which has been novel for my students who are used to a certain style of learning where they regurgitate given material. In today’s lesson for example I was asking pupils to write their own blues lyrics based on the standard AAB form. Once the strangeness of composing something of their own passed, I had some quite heartfelt responses- mostly about how my students hate maths!