Indian Music Workshops

Indian Music Workshops

Workshop at Hubbub Festival © Peter Glaser 2017
Indian Music Workshops for Cornwall Music Hub

Indian Music Workshops

These Indian Music workshops for schools, colleges & universities are either run as solo workshops with tabla player Jon Sterckx, or can be run together with a Tabla player & Sitar Player. The joint workshops can include a sitar & tabla performanc

The workshops give a comprehensive introduction to North Indian music, through the experience of melody ( Raga ) and rhythm ( Taal ) and the relationship between the two. Workshops can also discuss & reference The Beatles ‘Within You Without You’ from the Sgt. Peppers album for the current AQA GCSE Music syllabus if required.

Workshops can also include a professional Sitar & Tabla performance.

Indian Music Workshops are also available for Arts centres, festivals & cultural events & can be combined with performances

Indian Music Workshops

These workshops can be tailored to the needs of various age groups and abilities. Available for students from Key stage 1 to BA Music Degree level. If required, for GCSE level we can cover The Beatles ‘Within You Without You’ from the Sgt. Peppers album to meet with curriculum requirements.

Each workshop covers the fundamental principles of North Indian classical music and demonstrates their application on two of Indian music’s main instruments- Sitar and Tabla. Through the use of traditional oral teaching methods, participants will learn a Raga – Indian scale and a Taal – Indian rhythmic time cycle and learn how the two are interwoven to create a traditional Indian music performance.

Each workshop will cover:
Tuning & approach to pitch & scale
Structure of a Raga
Structure of a Taal
Indian music’s approaches to composition
Indian music’s approaches to improvisation
Application of oral notation – participation through traditional methods of speaking & singing
Rhythmic syllables & singing melodic scales & melodies.

We have delivered these workshops for over 10 years to schools, colleges & universities across the South West UK – click here to see a list of schools & click here to read reviews & testimonials from school workshops.

Indian Music / ‘Within You Without You’ Workshops – for AQA GCSE Music Syllabus

Samswara sitar & tabla duo are now offering workshops tailored to cover the AQA GCSE Music syllabus requirement to study Indian Music & The Beatles ‘Within You Without You’ from the Sgt. Pepper’s Album.

The workshops give a clear introduction to the key elements of Indian Music in it’s traditional context and also details how George Harrison used elements of Indian Music in ‘Within You Without You, with demonstrations on sitar & tabla.
The workshops cover both Raga & Tala, with specific focus on the Raga & both Taals that are used in ‘Within You Without You’.

Students will learn about the terms used in Indian Music – Raga, Taal, Alaap, Jor, Jhalla, Sitar, Tabla, Tihai’s, Meend etc. and how the Raga, Tala & musical performances are structured.
Students and teachers also learn the traditional oral notational system of Indian Music – how to sing the names of the notes (Sargam) and speak the rhythms (tabla bols). The use of this system leaves the students & teachers with tools to continue developing work based on Indian Music after the workshop.

Samswara – Jon Sterckx (tabla) & Ricky Romain (sitar) are professional performers of Indian Music. They have been teaching & leading workshops in Indian Music together for over 15 years. Both have also been Associate Lecturers at the University of Plymouth.

In February 2018, Samswara were commissioned to deliver workshops focussing on Indian Music & ‘Within You Without You’ at Aiglon International College in Switzerland. (See teachers recommendation below).
These workshops are the result of their research into this specific study, combined with their existing knowledge and experience of Indian Music. The workshops are designed to be useful, informative and inspiring and are a perfect way to augment students’ understanding of this area of GCSE Music study.

If you would like to arrange a workshop at your school, or would like more information, please contact us

“It was a pleasure to welcome Jon and Ricky to Aiglon. There were true experts and imparted their knowledge and understanding of Indian music most successfully, and nicely differentiated too, to a wide age range of Aiglon students – from aged 8 to 19 (Junior School students through to advanced IB music students). Their work was well researched and prepared, particularly their presentation on “Within Without You”, a GCSE set study piece, to our Year 10s and 11s. An added bonus was their hour-long concert to the school community. This was inspirational, well received, and really reinforced the learning achieved in the afternoon workshops. Ricky and Jon were a pleasure to have stay with us  and took a real interest in the work of the music department and our students at Aiglon. They will be back, for sure!” Mr N R Gaston (Aiglon College, Switzerland).

“Ricky and Jon delivered a first-rate workshop for Year 10 and 11 pupils in Sherborne, introducing traditional Indian music with obvious enthusiasm and expertise. Our students greatly benefited from hearing live performances, and from learning about the great musical legacy of that country.”
Simon Clarkson (Head of Academic Music, Sherborne Girls)

“Fantastic all-encompassing introduction to Indian music. Virtuoso performers – highly recommended to other schools.”
Mr. John Shooter, Head of Music, Colston’s School, Bristol.

Indian Music Talk
During periods six, seven and eight of Tuesday the 31st January 2017, the three GCSE music classes came together for a talk on Indian Classical music. It was taken by two instrumentalists, a tabla (two small drums) player (Jon Sterckx ) and a sitar (a plucked string instrument) player (Ricky Romain ). We learnt there were two traditions, the northern, Hindustani and the southern, Carnatic. The talk focused on the Hindustani tradition. We were told about the differences between Western music and Indian classical music. In the West our music revolves around harmony whereas Indian music has no harmony and is built solely around melodies. This results in the melodies becoming extremely complex rhythmically. We then moved onto the building blocks of Indian classical music. The tala is the rhythmic cycle of a piece of music and the raga is the scale used. All the music played to us used the most common tala in the Hindustani tradition known as teental. At the end of the talk, we set about making our own piece of Indian style music which they played back to us; it was extremely fascinating to explore the construction the music, a process completely different to composition of western style music. To finish the afternoon we discussed western composers and musicians who have been influenced by Indian classical music; they included Debussy and Yehudi Menuhin. I can speak on behalf of everyone present when I say that the talk was both very captivating and extremely useful for our upcoming exams.
Ally Trowell 5A – City of London School.

“Jon and Ricky visited our school to give a demonstration on tabla and sitar. We had asked them to give us further detail that would help our Y10/11 GCSE boys gain a better knowledge of Indian Music. This linked directly to the special topic area in the forthcoming IGCSE exam. They gave a really interesting and informative session, answering questions and involving the boys in an interactive mini – composition. The boys loved it and made lots of notes for revision purposes. I cannot think of a better way for the boys to experience new music. I have no hesitation in recommending them to any school who wants to run a similar session. I will be inviting them again.” Paul Harrison – Head of Music, City of London School.

Tabla & Indian Music workshop – Pate’s Grammar School, Cheltenham.
“Outstanding – engaging & in depth workshop. Great follow up too – made us want to find out even more.” Ellie Lane, Head of Music, Pate’s Grammar School, Cheltenham.

“The talk was absolutely fantastic! I feel I have a much greater understanding of Taals and Indian Classical music in general and I have been practising the bols ever since!” Student comment.

“The tabla experience was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It opened my eyes to new cultures & world music.” Student comment.

“It was fascinating to learn about a completely different style of music and to see how the tabla were played” Student comment.

Read more reviews and testimonials from workshops here