Workshop Reviews

Workshop Reviews

Jon Sterckx World Rhythm Workshops WOMAD 2015
Jon Sterckx World Rhythm Workshop WOMAD 2015

Workshop Reviews

Testimonials, feedback and comments from previous workshops at schools, colleges and universities.

World Rhythm Workshops

Indian Music Workshops

Tabla & World Percussion Tuition





Testimonials from Jon’s Rhythm Workshops & Drumscapes Workshops:

“Jon Sterckx has been an inspiring and highly popular associate lecturer in the University of Plymouth Music department for a number of years. His inputs range from workshop/recitals in classical Indian music, the exploration of Middle Eastern percussion via a more world music dynamic, through to exciting demonstrations involving live sampling and music technology¦.
Jon is sensitive to the leanings of the contemporary music student and also understands the requirements of the university system, having directed sizeable elements of taught modules, individually and with a sitarist.
He is 100% reliable and we always look forward to his various inputs.” – Phil Hull, Head of Music, University of Plymouth, Devon.

“The session was fantastic, hearing and seeing the pieces evolve before us and then being able to unpick and understand the techniques involved afterwards was really exciting! Jon was very informative and communicative – he managed to enthuse the whole group and challenge them to progress in their own ideas and work.” Andy Prior – Programme Leader – BA (Hons) Sound & Music Production, University of Plymouth, Devon.

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.

“Jon Sterckx is a talented and versatile percussionist. His communication skills are excellent, and our students benefited very much from his Planet Drum masterclass on Indian percussion. Jon is also a commited educator whose knowledge of world percussion subjects and sound technology make him a “must have clinician” for any organization dealing with drums education or rhythm musicianship.” Alain Maurel – Planet Drum Centre, Camden.

“Jon led a really successful workshop which exposed a wide range of students to the complex and fascinating possibilities of Indian drumming and rhythms.
He demonstrated a passion and skill which inspired some really interesting responses in the workshop participants. A unique and fascinating experience for those involved.”
Peter Noble – Curriculum Leader for Creative Arts, North Highland College UHI, Scotland.

“We’ve been trying to get Jon down now for a couple years and finally managed to arrange a time where Jon’s schedule coincided with our World Music Project. Jon delivered an interactive workshop and performance for our students encompassing Southern Indian vocal techniques, Northern Indian Tabla techniques and Middle Eastern Percussion. Jon is an experienced educator and tailored his workshop to suit our music tech learners by incorporating Live Sampling using Ableton Live. I couldn’t think of anyone more suitable to run a workshop when approaching the vast subject of world music composition and performance. Highly recommend” – Matt Ward – dBs Music, Plymouth, Devon.

Feedback from World Rhythm workshop – Actiontrack Studio, Taunton:

“Extremely professional, very generous and totally engaging” – Nick Brace, Actiontrack Performance Company.

“Jon’s knowledge excited and bent my brain in wonderful ways. I throughly enjoyed the authenticity of the music and the teaching.” – Molly-Rose, Vocalist for See Through Trees.

Feedback from World Rhythm Workshop at Hestercombe Centre for Young Musicians: (emails from students parents).

“She loved it, she thought it was a unique session. Liked how she got to try out new words and rhythm and learn something different from playing instruments. She came out beat boxing tak then takka and so on…many thanks.

“He enjoyed the workshop, he demonstrated to me the sounds they had to make to the beat of the drum. I’m guessing he liked the interactive nature of the workshop.”

“He liked the tutor and he found it is interesting. He said the speed was hard, as he found the words tricky but he liked the rhythms. He would happily do it again.”

“He really enjoyed this session, particularly the polyrthythms, and found it very worthwhile.”

“The workshop was amazing, I really enjoyed learning about the middle eastern percussion! Jon Sterckx really made it a fun experience. My favourite part being when we got to learn the vocal rhythms and the different terminology. It also helped me with my GCSE as one of our topics is world music which I will be covering very soon.”

“I thought it went brilliantly and I believe the students got a lot out of it. Thanks again for an excellent workshop last Saturday.” Mrs Rachael Parvin, Head of Centre – Hestercombe Centre for Young Musicians

World Rhythm Workshop at Crowdys Hill School, Swindon:

“Jon came to Crowdys Hill, a school for special needs pupils, to give a series of World Rhythm workshops to our year 7 and 8 students and since we have had only positive comments from both students and staff about the experience. Jon was engaging, motivating and professional and was able to adapt his workshops continuously throughout the day to meet the needs of the students. The workshops gave the students the opportunity to listen to and play on instruments from India, Africa and Egypt – they all particularly enjoyed the kashakas! It was particularly delightful to see individuals who normally struggle to engage in group activities really come to life and feel a part of the workshops. As another staff member recognised, Jon was perfect for the SEN setting and all students were able to join in on an equal level;
“Jon was able to engage all the students and was very calm with them. He encouraged them all to participate – quite difficult for the TLC [Thematic Learning Centre] classes! I particularly loved the way he got *Steve to have a go on the drums – Steve had been finding it difficult to begin with but was immediately engaged and enjoyed himself. The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves and afterwards were talking about drumming – Steve is now very interested in drumming lessons.” Science teacher.
An incredibly positive experience for our students and we look forward to welcoming Jon back to Crowdys in the future.” Hannah Brown, Music Coordinator, Crowdys Hill School.
*Students name has been changed

Testimonials from Indian Music Workshops in Primary Schools:

“We absolutely loved being part of the workshops. The children found them both inspiring and fascinating. We have been learning a lot about India and we had also learnt about different Indian instruments. This workshop was perfect for enhancing the children’s experiences and enabled them to make first hand connections.A wonderful day with two very talented and uplifting musicians. Thank you very much.” Holly Tucker – Umberleigh Primary School, Devon.

“Children greatly enjoyed the workshop. You were fantastic with them and they were really engaged. Definately recommend! Thank You.”Philippa O’Sullivan. Class teacher, St. Mary’s Primary School, Thornbury.

“I would just like to thank you again for the superb experience that you brought to all the children at the beginning of July. The younger children enjoyed seeing the instruments and being involved in some music creation, but the real benefit came out with the KS2 children who gained a huge amount in learning about the way that Indian Music differs to Western Music. Seeing and listening to the instruments was fantastic. My only regret is that I didn’t get to see and listen to more, as for the short time that I was able to pop in I was, like the children, totally captivated by the performance.

It was also noted that your style and what you asked from the children engaged many of our Year 5/6 boys, who were all singing and ‘having a go’, when a lot of the time they refuse to sing. The fact that they can become engaged when given the right stimulus has prompted me to look into staring a choral group for those boys, from September. (With them it’s obviously about finding the right stimulus!)

Many Thanks again for all you did. I will whole-heartedly recommend your workshops to anyone considering a world music experience.” Adrian Scarrett – Headteacher St. Mary’s Primary School, Bideford, North Devon.

“A tremendous session judged absolutely spot on for a bright mix of KS2 children.The children were treated respectfully and joined in with relish. (I understand the session with KS1 children was equally well targeted).
This is an invaluable introduction to a musical format unfamiliar to the children in a small country village school – and as part of a cultural blitz, it was a superb starter.”
Nigel Gann. School Governor, West Chinnock Primary School, Somerset.

“The children in years 1 & 2 (class 1) enjoyed listening & seeing the instruments at close quarters & watching the instrumentalists – they quickly grasped the 16 beat pattern and scale.
The older children had fun working out their own musical composition having picked up the rhythm / melody structure + patterns. A wonderful experience for them all.”
Mrs Caswell. Music teacher, West Chinnock Primary School, Somerset.

“The day of workshops on Indian music was a great addition to our topic on India. The children were able to listen to and participate in making authentic Indian music.They were able to draw upon the expertise and enthusiasm of Jon and Ricky, who were able to answer all their questions in an informative and interesting way. The children particularly enjoyed being able to create their own melodies, then directing Jon and Ricky to play their compositions.We were able to follow up this session in class and really got a feel for traditionally inspired music. The workshops were mellow and a pleasure to take part in,as well as being very educational! I would recommend these workshops to anyone wanting to get an insight into traditional tabla and sitar music. Thank you again for a great day!” The Staff and Children of Eden Park Primary School, Brixham, Devon.

“The children had an enjoyable day and gained a lot” – Michelle Norman – Stokenham School, Kingsbridge, Devon.

“Thank you so much for all your hard work with the students last week at our Indian Culture theme day. A combination of the morning workshops along with the presentation in the afternoon proved to be very successful. The feedback from the students was very positive and it was very beneficial to attempt to widen the horizons of young people who live in a rural community. Thank you once again.” Mrs. K. Seib. Head of Performing and Visual Arts, Holyrood Community School, Somerset.

“The children really enjoyed themselves and found they were proud that they could remember the notes to sing and actually compose their own song, The infant teachers commented on the fact that some of the more “fidgety” children were sitting fascinated and drumming their hands in time with you!
The staff were pleased to see something different happening, I am a great believer of playing live music to children and it was lovely to see visitors coming in to do just that and so skillfully. I’d like to add that I personally liked the fact that a number of classes benefited from a workshop yet everyone in the school benefited from something too – a performance that was very enjoyable for all and a chance for some children to perform to their peers.” – Maindee Primary School, Newport, Gwent, South Wales.

Testimonials from Indian Music Workshops in Secondary Schools:

“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.

From Aiglon College Students:

The performance was new and original to me, and I learned loads about Indian music

The workshop was both entertaining and informative!

“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) Dorset.

Jon and Ricky were a pleasure to have working with our pupils for our Year 9 Arts Day. They managed to put the pupils at ease, and to get Year 9 boys singing – no mean feat! They come with incredible knowledge and expertise, but a way of working with pupils that isn’t superior or condescending. They clearly genuinely enjoy what they do, and this meant that our pupils enjoyed their experience too. I know that they all got an amazing amount out of the workshop, and I would love to have Jon and Ricky back to work with our pupils next year! – Jane Dobson, Head of Music, Sheldon School. Wiltshire.

“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.

Feedback from staff of Balcarras Secondary School, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire:

“Incredibly informative and a wealth of information provided.””This would provide excellent specialist INSET for teachers.””Very interesting and related well to the course.”

Feedback from students of Balcarras Secondary School, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire:

“It definitely increased my understanding of Rag Desh.””Very enjoyable and interesting.””Really enjoyable and interesting. It opened my mind into the physical depths of North Indian Classical music.””The workshop was very interesting, useful information and good to hear the music.”

“I loved hearing the music live and to learn about the different instruments.”

“It was a very good experience that helped me with understanding some of the aspects of Indian Music.”

“Throughout the Indian workshop was very useful because I could see how the sitar and tabla were played and I learnt a lot about the instruments and culture.”

“The workshop was interesting; it gives us a better understanding of Indian Music. It was awesome that we got to see the instruments too!”

“It was helpful to consolidate our learning and understanding of Indian music.”

“Jon and Ricky were highly inspiring to get into Indian Music.”

“It was highly educational and informative about the complexity of Indian raga.”

“One very enjoyable aspect of the workshop was the way Jon and Ricky showed how the instrument was made and played.”

“I enjoyed the Indian Workshop a lot. It was very informative and interesting, and the leader, Jon and Ricky were clearly passionate and knowledgeable in the Indian style of music. It helped me to have a deeper understanding of the way that Indian music works and is played.”

“Good fun. Very interesting. Good interaction.”

Testimonials from instrumental tuition:

“Jon Sterckx has been teaching tabla to a group of students in Swindon, including myself and my son Niyam. The sessions are engaging and the teaching methods are such that one learns new notes and rhythms quickly, thus progressing rapidly. On the other hand, if individuals need more time, this is also addressed through correction and extra practise.
I would highly recommend Jon to individuals of any age who wish to learn the tabla or other percussion instruments he teaches. He is very talented and it is apparent during classes that he wishes to share his love of music” Narendra (student) Swindon.

“My son really enjoyed his sessions with Jon Sterckx, who managed to keep him interested and concentrating throughout – an achievement in itself!’ Alex (parent). Stroud.

“Clearly Jon Sterckx knows what he is doing. He teaches the tabla with clarity and is very keen on the rhythm of the instrument. He uses teaching tools such as kashakas to help you understand what rhythm is and also to keep your hands warmed up for the start of the lesson. Sterckx uses an easy to follow systematic approach to teaching the instrument and does all he can to aid the student in understanding the rhythm of the tabla. Fantastic teacher couldn’t have asked for better!” Eddie (student). Stroud.

“My son Toby had one-to-one lessons with Jon Sterckx for 2 years in which he learned the basic techniques of Indian tabla drumming. Having been introduced to Jon and his particular brand of Eastern percussion at group sessions at his school, Toby was soon hooked and asked to have individual lessons. Jon was a brilliant teacher in what is undoubtedly a very unusual and difficult percussion instrument. He was always very sensitive to Toby’s interests and level of engagement and capability. Occasionally they explored a little African drumming or Cas-Cas (Kashaka) percussion to spice things up and Jon was fantastic example of a successful, practicing artist for Toby. We would highly recommend Jon for group teaching, individual lessons or as a performer!” Claudia (parent). Stroud.

“If anyone can keep my son’s concentration for an hour, they deserve an entry in the Guinness book of world records! Certainly Jon can but it is a shame he hasn’t got an entry yet. Apart from being a versatile percussionist, Jon has the unique ability of engaging with students, young and old alike, and get them interested in the instrument he is teaching. Not all talented people are good teachers. He started teaching us both tabla 3 years ago and he is still teaching my son while I dropped out over an year ago due to work commitments. Still I get some valuable tips from him every now and then. We’d like to thank Jon for his excellent communications, commitment and effort.” Madhana (parent). Stroud.

“Jon has been a real inspiration to our son. Sam is learning the tabla and has been making excellent progress, it has been lovely to see him so enthusiastic, and able so quickly to make a fantastic sound!” Ali (parent). Stroud.

“We found Mr Jon Sterckx, after searching online for a teacher to teach Indian percussion instrument, Tabla, for our son Sharan, who initially wanted a flavor of the instrument and as a run up to his GCSE music. Despite his busy schedule Jon kindly agreed to come into Sharan’s school and teach him personally each week, now Sharan’s skills and interest has increased multi-fold. Many thanks to Jon for his brilliant teaching skills, not only with playing the otherwise difficult percussion instrument, but also with creating appeal and passion to music. I can highly recommend Jon both as a teacher and a fine player of the classical Indian percussion instrument.” Dr. S. Kannan (parent). Gloucester.

“Jon has helped me a lot and been really supportive and kind. He has been my inspiration to drum and fuelled me into action.” Kai – student learning Djembe & Kashaka. Stroud.

“Jon is an amazing drummer and brings his experience and inspiration as a performer to his students. His is also a wise soul and has been very understanding and supportive of my son’s needs. Thank you Jon!” Lisa (parent) Stroud.