The annual music jamboree program focuses 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. Do remember that music is to be performed! There is much musicality and musicianship to develop in the beginner; a good sense of pitch and rhythmic feel, performing skills to match, a heighten sense of music appreciation and much more, eventually leading to the ability to perform and create music.
The music jamboree serves to provide creative teaching ideas and activities to further enhance the students musical skills. Since the participants are primarily piano teachers who teach their students individually (one teacher to one student) in a music studio, the first part of the music jamboree focused on musical activities suited for this scenario.
Numerous ideas were explored with the music teachers requiring them to 'step out of the box' and think of every possible idea to individually address issues on teaching their students and how their students learn. To understand and perform music well requires the student to know the language of music. Innovative ways to teach music theory and put them into practice was also explored.
One of the attractions of the annual music jamboree involves a project where the music teachers were all brought to the Peng Hwa primary school to run and conduct an ensemble performance program with the students. The music teachers were firstly paired into teams and then assigned the project with specific details provided to plan their program. The core of the performance must involve singing with percussion instruments accompaniment, all performed by the students and conducted by the music jamboree teachers.
Some of the students do possess some musical knowledge and experience as this primary school is part of our company's CSR Music Outreach Program, where we conduct music lessons for their students. Therefore, the music jamboree teachers can up their ante if they discover that their group of students are more musically inclined. There were also students from other primary schools who were invited by Peng Hwa primary school to participate. Each teacher team were assigned about 25-30 students under their charge.
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 group of students to perform. Therefore, the jamboree teachers really have to step out of their comfort zone to conduct this assignment. For some, it was an unforgettable experience as one music jamboree said to me.
Our sincere gratitude and heartfelt thanks goes to Peng Hwa primary school for hosting the 'hands-on' program of the music jamboree and we look forward to their support for our upcoming and on-going music jamborees. Special thanks also to Mr. Victor Kam, Dr. Yumi Yoshioka and Dr. Jason Tye of USM and the Music Department of USM for their continued support of our music jamboree by hosting a session for the participants all these years.