Otto Gumaelius

Marimba Music From Southern Africa

Otto Gumaelius is a London based, Botswana raised, performing artist & teacher of southern African folk music on the marimba.


african marimba workshops in Schools


Marimba Music In Schools

The marimba combines the percussive element of African drumming with harmonious melodic expression, giving students the ability to learn, play and create wonderful melodies, enhancing the musical experience and learning outcomes involved.

The marimba is an instrument that all children can play on their first encounter with it because it very simply only involves hitting the wooden keys with two mallets - one in each hand. Most groups of children require no more than 20 minutes before they're able to play a simple song together in a marimba ensemble. This makes the marimba unlike any other instrument. And it's a lot of fun!

 

WHAT Will Students LEarn?

The repertoire I teach includes music and rhythms from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana primarily, with material from other parts of Africa too. This includes original marimba compositions, folk songs and contemporary covers. 

To add depth and dimension to the music, I can also include a bit of traditional call-and-response singing, with further options of also learning how to play hosho patterns using traditional Zimbabwean shakers, clapping patterns, drumming and basic dance movements where relevant and/or desired. 

I like to also give a meaningful background to the folk songs I teach, so students gain a bit of cultural and historical knowledge as well. 

 

LESSON SetUp

I teach by ear, the traditional African way, enabling students to more freely engage their senses, and be present in the music and experience as a whole. I currently accommodate up to 11 students at a time on the marimbas, with more to come, using soprano, tenor and baritone marimbas.

A lesson can be as short as 30 minutes for younger children, or as long as one hour to an hour and a half for older / mature students. The workshops require absolutely no previous experience or knowledge of playing the marimba or of African music.  

 

What Makes The Marimba Perfect For Students And Schools?

  1. No prior knowledge or musical experience is needed and students are typically able to play a piece of music together within 20 minutes of their first lesson.
     
  2. There is a part for every child to play regardless of ability, boosting self confidence and self esteem. All parts on all songs have graded degrees of complexity, allowing children with different musical and mechanical abilities to all have a place in the same ensemble and be sufficiently challenged.
     
  3. Cooperation and listening skills are enhanced when playing in a marimba ensemble, as students need to play together to create a piece of music. Playing music together is also a team effort and all ensemble members quickly learn they are all important in creating the full sound of any song.
     
  4. Both sides of the brain get exercised due to the alternating hand technique of playing the marimba which also improves dexterity.
     
  5. Concentration and focus are both exercised and enhanced when playing in a marimba ensemble.
     
  6. The marimba is a robust, low maintenance, portable instrument that does not need electricity, cables or microphones to operate and can be set up anywhere!
     
  7. IT'S FUN!

 

Combining Workshops With Cultural PERFORMANCES

Cultural performances can be packaged together with workshops, giving participants a much greater opportunity to engage with the music and culture. Participants get the chance to see professional performers showcase the cultural arts before (or after) trying it out themselves. Marimba performances can be accompanied by drumming, singing and dancing - in full southern African traditional attire. 

Book A Marimba Workshop Or Request More Information

If you're interested in booking a marimba workshop for your school or institution, or if you're looking for more information, contact me using the form below.

 

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Beginner Swedish marimba players at Zimba Marimba International Summer Camp


 Workshop with young marimba students from Zimbabwe

Workshop with young marimba students from Zimbabwe


 Teaching African music on the marimba to school students

Teaching African music on the marimba to school students


 Cultural workshops and performances celebrating Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday

Cultural workshops and performances celebrating Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday


 African marimba music workshops with beginner kids during school's world music festival

African marimba music workshops with beginner kids during school's world music festival


©2018, Otto Gumaelius - Marimba Music From Southern Africa. All Rights Reserved.