Gamelan Workshops

Published 26 March 2024

Recently, Year 7 students enjoyed visits from InspireWorks for some Gamelan workshops. Gamelan is a traditional orchestra from the Islands of Java, Bali, and Indonesia, consisting of several types of gongs and percussion instruments.

As part of the Year 7 music curriculum, the collection of incredible instruments was in school for the students to experience for two days. Under the esteemed direction of specialist Mike Simpson from InspireWorks, the students had a chance to play the amazing large bronze instruments of Gamelan as well as to learn about the interesting history and traditions of these instruments.

In Java, Gamelan is played for official occasions or court ceremonies such as weddings, concerts, and community events. The Year 7s executed the essence of celebration and replicated the layout of a traditional Gamelan orchestra. This layout of the instruments reflects how the music is constructed; the row of keyed instruments across the middle plays the main melody known as the ‘balungan’. In the back row are the large gongs, which punctuate the important notes, and at the front are the gong-chimes which elaborate and lead the melody.

Overall, the workshops were a success and the students enjoyed getting to play various components of the orchestra.