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How to play the Gamelan

By Alan Smith

A group of Year 5 students from Sevenoaks Primary School have been experiencing the mystical sounds of the Indonesian gamelan, as part of an educational workshop held by Sevenoaks School.

The gamelan is a traditional instrumental ensemble from Java and Bali that includes a range of bronze percussion instruments.

The children enjoyed playing the gamelan’s different gongs and metallophones, and also tried some traditional Indonesian dancing and learnt about Indonesian culture before performing together as a gamelan orchestra.

Trying out the gamelan (1683949)
Trying out the gamelan (1683949)

The workshop was run by Sevenoaks School teachers and pupils as part of the school’s voluntary service unit, which provides different activities ranging from environmental work and charity fundraising to supporting local primary schools and community groups, giving 450 hours of service to the local community each week.

Music teacher Jackie Hendry said: “As soon as the children from Sevenoaks Primary entered the room they were fascinated, The low metallic sounds of the gongs left the children awe-struck.

Sevenoaks Primary children have a go (1683953)
Sevenoaks Primary children have a go (1683953)

“We have been inviting children from local schools to come and discover the gamelan for a number of years now. We think it is really important for creative subjects such as music and dance to help children learn about different cultures."

The children were awe-struck (1683951)
The children were awe-struck (1683951)

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