Taking groups to the Flinders University Pendopo is a fun and encouraging way of teaching students about Indonesian culture and, in particular, the gamelan orchestra. Students get the chance to play a variety of the instruments and learn traditional music patterns different to what they may be used to. The instructors are enthusiastic and friendly and have a good knowledge of the instruments, music and, of course, the Indonesian language and culture.
Students love the hands-on experience in a traditional setting - especially with the inclusion of the extra cultural things like taking shoes off before entering and avoiding walking over instruments so as not to offend the 'spirits'.
Our excursion was topped off with a beautiful Asian lunch in the food court at the university. It's a great way to immerse your students in something different for the day, and it's not too far!
Victor Harbor High School
Our students visit Flinders University every June, to learn to play the gamelan in the Pendopo, which is an amazingly rich learning opportunity - students achieving sweet sounds of music and experiencing the culture of this fantastic and beautiful-sounding orchestra in an authentic environmental venue. We also tour our students around Flinders University whilst visiting, to show them the possibilities they may work towards in their future (this is always exciting for the students, seeing the lecture theatres and libraries with so many books and IT equipment).
Kangaroo Island Community Education, Kingscote Campus
I have just emailed Rossi von der Borch to thank her for the opportunity for our children’s gamelan group Gamelan Melati to perform in the pendopo at the Flinders University end of semester concert. It was a privilege for our students to participate.
I also want to take the opportunity to congratulate Flinders University for continuing to support Asian Studies and Indonesian language in such a spectacular way.
The beautiful brass gamelan of Flinders University, the pendopo which houses it, the players in Sekar Laras and the members of the faculty who nurture the related learning and activities are priceless assets for your university.
The Year 7 children who played in Gamelan Melati at the concert last week are not yet students of Indonesian language (which is offered at St Aloyius College only from Year 10). However, they have all taken gamelan into their hearts and have all expressed an interest in learning more about Indonesia in the future.
Who knows when the seeds of new learning are first sown? Who knows about the lingering impact on children's attitudes, future decisions and the transfer of learning to other areas?
Our students are still expressing their joy. The experience of playing gamelan alongside serious adult players of the Flinders University Student gamelan group and In situ has validated their own learning. The opportunity to visit a university campus for the first time has inspired them. Discovering that St Aloysius College is not the only place that has a gamelan was a surprise to them.
Our small gamelan at St Aloysius College is made of iron. It is not as beautiful as the brass instruments of Flinders University, nor as big. Our program was started in 2001 with the senior Indonesian language classes, as well as a small group of senior Music students who were percussionists. The gamelan teachers were Daicha and Hannah Tunstill who still play in Sekar Laras.. In fact it was Hannah who trained the FU students who performed last week. I was pleased to hear you mention Lizzie Gogler, who was one of those senior students in the early years who took gamelan to her heart. Lizzie made it the subject of her final Year 12 investigative project for Music. We were sad when this group of students graduated and took their expertise with them. Schools are places of growth and renewal but also of loss.
Dodi Darmadi and our Gamelan Musician in Residence project, funded by a Federal Government Building Asia Literacy grant, have revitalised our gamelan program by allowing us to focus on the younger children, who will continue to build on their skills as they progress through secondary school. Who knows how many of them will turn up at Flinders University to continue their studies?
Barbara Burr, Coordinator Special Projects, St Aloysius College