Music Jamboree 2012

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The 12th edition of Rhythm MP's Music Jamboree was held from 20-25 August 2012 and the participating music teachers came from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and China. Similarly as in the previous years, accommodation was at a downtown hotel in the historical enclave of Penang that also served as the venue where the Music Jamboree program for music teachers was conducted.

The annual Music Jamboree program’s primary focus is on music education for the beginner, especially the young beginner. Building a good foundation is crucial for developing the musical mind, and to perform music. Always keep in mind that music is to be performed! There is much musicality and musicianship to develop in the beginner; a good sense of pitch and harmony, good rhythmic feel, technical skills and performing skills to match, a heighten sense of music appreciation and much more. These skills are required to perform and create music well. Endeavoring to make music lessons enjoyable for the student is a challenge. If teachers are creative enough, then lessons can always be enjoyable and productive.

The Music Jamboree serves to share and explore creative teaching ideas and activities to further enhance the students’ overall musical skills. The program is based on the popular Made Easy series of publications that is gaining widespread usage in schools from the USA, Europe, Asia to Australia and New Zealand. The participants are primarily piano teachers who teach their students individually (one teacher to one student) in a music studio, and the

first part of the Music Jamboree focused on musical activities suited for this scenario.

Numerous approaches and ideas on teaching basic music rudiments, music theory and instrumental studies were explored. Teaching effectively requires creativity, good interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. One of the attractions of the annual Music Jamboree is the ‘hands-on’ program where the music teachers were all brought to the SJK (C) Perempuan China (aka Penang Chinese Girls' Primary School) for a special project.

The annual Music Jamboree is always scheduled to coincide with the school term holidays for the student participants to attend. This year also saw the participation of students from three other primary schools, namely, SJK (C) Poay Wah, SJK (C) Tar Thong and SJK (C) Hun Bin who were all invited by the Penang Chinese Girls’ Primary School.

This year’s special project was to plan, teach, rehearse and conduct a group of students for a musical performance. The performance must simultaneously involve singing with percussion instruments accompaniment and body movement. The music teachers were firstly paired into teams and then assigned the project with specific details provided to plan their program. At the primary school, each teacher team was assigned a group of students under their charge. The youngest group are 7 year old Year 1 students and the oldest being 12 year old Year 6 students.

Some of the participating students from the Penang Chinese Girls’ Primary School do possess some musical knowledge and experience because this primary school is part of our company's CSR Music Outreach Program. This program by Rhythm MP is multifold and

primarily serves to provide some music literacy and musical experience to young students, and to interest them into wanting to learn and know music. If not for them to discover any musical talent they may possess, knowing some music can perhaps enrich their lives as they mature.

The Music Jamboree teachers can up their ante if they discover that their students are more musically inclined. While some teachers took to the challenge well, it was overwhelming for others. Most music lessons, especially piano lessons, has the teacher and student seated (at most times) in the piano studio. Few probably do get off their chairs and conduct more physical musical activities. Neither would many of these teachers have experienced teaching a large group of students to perform. Therefore, this project serves as an induction in conducting a musical performance involving a group of young kids. The jamboree teachers really have to step out of their comfort zone and ‘out of the box’ for this assignment. No doubt, it can be quite an intimidating experience for some teachers but gaining this

experience with a large group of students will hopefully encourage them to group all their individual students together for a similar activity back home. A Music Jamboree teacher commented that it was an unforgettable experience.

The final day of the Music Jamboree required all these student groups and their teachers to perform on stage in the school hall. The morning began with rehearsals in their classroom before everyone assembled in the school hall to stage their performances.

This is when everyone gets to see the musical ideas that have been brought into play by the various groups, and there is much to learn from each others’ ideas too. The conclusion of the performances also brought the ‘hands-on’ program at the Penang Chinese Girls’ Primary School to a close.

All the performances were praiseworthy, taking into consideration that the teachers and students had only approximately three hours to put together a performance that has to be conceptualized, taught and rehearsed.

We, at Rhythm MP, hope that the music teacher participants enjoyed their time here. We encourage them to further develop their skills, think of enriching musical activities to conduct with their students and enjoy their profession as music teachers. Last but not least, our sincere gratitude and heartfelt thanks goes to Penang Chinese Girls’ Primary School for being such a gracious host for the 'hands-on' program of the Music Jamboree and we look forward to their continued support.

After the performance event at the Penang Chinese Girls’ Primary School, the Music Jamboree teachers were brought on a visit to the Music Department at the School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

Our appreciation also to SJK (C) Poay Wah, SJK (C) Tar Thong and SJK (C) Hun Bin for their participation this year and we look forward to their participation in our future Music Jamborees and musical events.

They were there for a series of lectures conducted by some of the university’s esteemed music lecturers. This visitation has been part of Rhythm MP’s annual Music Jamboree’s itinerary for some years now.

Special thanks to Mr. Victor Kam, Dr. Yumi Yoshioka, Dr. Jason Tye and the Music Department, School of the Arts, USM for their continued support of our Music Jamboree by hosting the lecture sessions for the Music Jamboree participants all these years.

Rhythm MP Sdn. Bhd. (480980-H) The music publishers who care for our children’s music education 1947, Lorong IKS Bukit Minyak 2, Taman IKS Bukit Minyak, 14100 Simpang Ampat, Penang, Malaysia. Tel: +60 4 5073690 Fax: +60 4 5050691 Email: Website:

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