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African Music and Dance Experience

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
June 16, 2014 - June 27, 20142M-F 9A-11:50AOpenMartin Obeng10646

Course Description

In this course, students will learn to perform music from Ghana, Togo and neighboring countries of West Africa leading up to a final public performance at the end of the two-week session. Students will learn to play new types of music, gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for African cultures, learn all the dances, songs and drum parts for the genres studied and how the parts fit together, as well as discuss topics such as the history, function and meanings of specific African genres, representations of African music, the African foundations of musics in the Americas.

This hands-on and highly interactive course presents an exciting and challenging performance experience designed for pre-college students who will gain a greater appreciation of African musical traditions by means of music making. Music making in Africa encompasses a broad range of expressive arts such as singing, dancing, drumming, acting, and story telling. During the course, students will learn to perform a variety of hand and stick drums, bells, shakers, and other idiophones, along with singing and dancing. The main goals of the course include developing an understanding of the contexts of West African music, learning the instrumental techniques, timeline patterns, drum patterns, song melodies, dance movements, foreign language texts, aural and listening skills, improvisation, and multiple-part playing associated with the selected repertoire. Students will learn on traditional Ghanaian instruments in Brown's music department and have the opportunity to work with renowned Ghanaian lead drummer Martin Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng. By end of the course, students will present what they've learned in a performance for the Brown summer program in traditional attire. No previous musical experience necessary.

By the end of the course, students will learn to perform African music, including drumming, dancing, and singing, they will improve their musical listening skills, gain strength in playing in an ensemble setting with multiple parts, become more knowledgeable about African traditions and their unique performances contexts, be familiar with the meanings of African language song texts, learn the names of the instruments, and familiarity with the role of the master drum part and function in ensembles. They also will build skills for activities involving teamwork.

There are no prerequisites for this course; no musical background and audition required. Instruments and costumes will be provided.