The Year 7 pupils were treated to a Gamelan Workshop, led by Simon Cook, Honorary Lecturer in Music at Royal Holloway University and an experienced ethnomusicologist.
Gamelan is the traditional music of Indonesia, specifically Java and Bali, and is essentially an orchestra of tuned percussion instruments. Perhaps the most tempting of all the instruments in the orchestra was the huge gong sitting at the back of the hall. To begin with, each child took it in turns to play a rhythmic pattern on the gong, in time with the drums. As the workshop progressed, the children learnt to play every instrument and even sang traditional Javanese songs in the Sundanese language.
Gamelan music takes a huge amount of concentration and relies heavily on listening skills as each independent part interlocks with the rest. The children did a fantastic job and produced some wonderful sounds in their concert held jointly with the RHUL Gamelan Ensemble.