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Hampshire Music Service

World Music in Hampshire

world music - drums - hands

The music of a region is one of the deepest expressions of its history, culture and tradition, and the most accessible way for students to connect with the soul of a place and its people. Our aim is to engage students through the workshop experience, bring the music curriculum to life and include everyone in ensemble playing, regardless of musical experience. Our World Music workshops involve ensemble playing for all pupils from the start, so they immediately gain the benefits of playing music together, developing listening and responding, timing, dynamics and understanding of musical structure, while developing memory, improvisation and performance skills. This is especially important for pupils who may not otherwise have the chance to play in a group situation. Instrumental technique is very approachable so that all students master the essentials necessary to play very quickly, and instruments are chosen to work together in a musically balanced ensemble.

The HMS World Music Team

Our team of World Music tutors offer high level teaching skills and a wealth of instrument specific knowledge to each workshop. They will always consult with you on options for your school; musical content, number of groups and concerts for the school or parents, to make sure your pupils gain the greatest value from the experience.

Practical Arrangements – group sizes, space and workshop lengths

All instruments and equipment are supplied. All our workshops are designed to accommodate a full class of students. Workshop time may be used flexibly; for example, it may be divided between several groups to include more students, or concentrated on fewer groups with material covered in more depth. A normal sized classroom, music room or part of a hall is sufficient space. Gamelan requires the largest area (35 square metres). High ceilings are suggested for Taiko with a wide door from the outside to get the larger drums in.

Tailor made

Sessions may run from 35 to 55 minutes, depending on the age group, and fit with the school timetable where possible. The time may be used in many ways; often schools want every class to have at least one contact so everyone has an opportunity to share the excitement. This has been very successful at KS1 with some classes having more if time allows.  Alternatively, and especially at KS2, schools may have particular groups work intensively with contact every week or fortnight, allowing a more thorough programme in which students learn and perform very exciting and challenging material. We also encourage a performance towards the end of a project.


Please note: that not all schemes are available with every world music option

World music kit options


Gamelan photo

The Place. The People. Indonesia comprises 17,000 islands including Java, Sumatra and Bali and is the world’s fourth largest country by population. Java is the most populous island in the world, and though its culture reflects a mix of influences, particularly Islam, the kingdoms of central Java have preserved Javanese culture for centuries, particularly the playing of the Gamelan. The island of Bali has been inhabited since about 2000 BC and is mainly of Hindu religion.

The Music The Indonesian Gamelan is an orchestra of bronze gongs, metallophones and percussion that is as impressive visually as it is spellbinding musically. Originally played in the royal courts of Java and Bali, Gamelan music is built in layers of cyclic rhythmic and melodic patterns around a central theme, and may accompany puppetry illustrating the myths and legends of the Mahabharata & Ramayana.

The Workshops

Full days of sessions with a tutor only

There are two sizes of each type of Gamelan, the small sets require a secure classroom or hall of a minimum 35 square metres where it can be set up and left for the duration of the workshops. The large sets are permanently hosted at Hampshire schools.

Javanese Gamelan - Slendro and Pelog Built especially for Hampshire Music Service by Javanese craftsmen in 1998. The music is built up from melodic patterns and rhythms from easy to complex. It is challenging, fun and musically satisfying for all ages and abilities, allowing pupils to participate in ensemble playing right from the start, every pattern becoming part of a mesmerising musical whole.

  • Large set hosted at TBC

Balinese Gamelan – Angklung The island of Bali is home to its own tradition of Gamelan Angklung, and Hampshire is fortunate to own two especially crafted examples that are available to your school for full day workshops or a six week Residency. One is larger than the other.

  • Large set hosted at Romsey School


North African Drums

North African Drum Collage

The Place. The People. Historically united by the great Islamic Ottoman Empire and Moorish Caliphates of North Africa and Spain, the Mediterranean lands reflect Berber, Arab, Christian and Jewish influences in their music. The Ottoman Empire’s tolerant attitude towards other faiths and cultures through millets allowed for a remarkable fusion of cultures which runs through the music of the region.

The Music Like Islamic art, North African music is complex, elaborate and decorated. From Al-Andalus, the moorish kingdom of Spain and North Africa, it has absorbed the music of Flamenco and the nuba suite from the dominant forms of the al-ala, and combined these with the hypnotic rhythms of Morocco and Algeria.

The Workshop

Half day and full day sessions, Fridays only

From Arabic North Africa and the Middle East come the colourful and exotic sounds of the doumbek, cahon and bendir. Students learn characteristic rhythms used both in traditional styles and the contemporary sounds of Rai and Chaabi, and use them to create their own compositions and improvisations.



The Place. The People. Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and one of the most ethnically diverse. Its culture is a dynamic mix of influences from indigenous Amerindian, European, African, and the United States. The landscape ranges from the tropical rainforest of the Amazon to the hi-tech urban environment of Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo.

The Music. Samba is an expression of the dynamic culture of the people of Brazil - from its roots in Carnaval, the infectious rhythms and extrovert sounds of Samba have spread all over the world. It comprises highly syncopated interlocking rhythms over the steady throb of the surdo, with contrasting rhythmic sections, breaks, call and responses, together with students’ own composition and improvisation.

The Workshop

Half day and full day sessions, Fridays only

Pupils learn as a Bateria band to play authentic Brazilian rhythms and instruments with correct technique in the dynamic Carnival style. Phonics and word-rhymes aid musical memory so multi-section pieces can be learned and performed easily, working at a level to suit the age and experience of the group. Pupils work with the whole range of Samba instruments, including surdo, repinique, timba, tambourim and all kinds of percussion, and will learn to master the characteristic rhythmic syncopations and grooves of Samba.


Indian Tabla

The Place. The People. India is the second most populous country in the world and can trace its history back to the Indus Valley civilisation nearly 6000 years ago. With its cultural richness reflecting influences from sultanates to Maurya and Mughul empires, it is second only to Africa as the world’s most culturally, linguistically and genetically diverse region. It is fast becoming a 21st century economic giant, while maintaining the depth and diversity of its traditional culture.

The Music The repertoire of the Tabla has developed over centuries at the heart of Indian music with the subtleties of the traditional rhythmic Tala, their aavartan cycles, and the vibhaga subdivisions. The Tabla can produce a huge range of tones depending on the hand stroke, palm position and damping; these are explored in the session.

The Workshop

Full days of sessions with a tutor only

Students play in ensemble and learn the correct hand and finger strokes and their bol mnemonics, so that rhythms are learned vocally, then applied to the instrument. Most work will be with the tintal 16 beat cycle and its vibhaga rhythmic divisions, and there will be space for improvisation and composition using the materials covered in the workshop.

These workshops, generally for KS2 to GCSE, combine Music National Curriculum requirements in an engaging and stimulating classroom environment, providing an accessible gateway to this important cornerstone of Indian culture.


Japanese Taiko Drumming

Taiko Drums

The Place. The People. Japan comprises 3000 islands, many of them actively volcanic. Its strong cultural identity means that, while Japan has embraced some aspects of Western culture, traditional values and customs are still strong. The Tokyo region is the largest metropolitan area in the world with over 30 million people, and Japan is home to a vast technology industry, but the tranquillity and timelessness of the countryside with its temples and shrines are still an important cultural focus.

The Music Taiko, literally ‘Big Drum’ combines driving and dynamic rhythms with the strength and disciplined power of traditional martial arts. For centuries, Taiko have been used both in warfare and in Shinto and Buddhist temple ritual. The first modern kumi-daiko Taiko ensemble was founded by Daihachi Oguchi in 1951; since then, the popularity of Taiko has spread throughout Japan and out into the wider world, with Taiko ensembles touring major concert venues across the globe.

Check out our North East Area Schools Orchestra's Taiko ensemble

The Workshop

Full and half days available, Fridays only

Playing as a kumi-daiko ensemble, students learn the traditional rhythms, movements and vocalisations that make playing Taiko such a physical experience. Everything is on a grand scale; the drums, the sound and the physical movements add up to an aural and visual spectacle for both the players and the audience.

Sessions will include a physical warm-up. Activities include work on posture, technique, and rhythmic development, all focused on successful teamwork. Over a number of sessions participants learn a range of pieces and drumming styles and can have the opportunity to compose & choreograph their own taiko compositions if desired. Courses cover National Curriculum material for each Key Stage.

N.B. Due to the size of the instruments and the physical coordination & stamina required taiko workshops are unsuitable for pupils below Year 4 Workshop sessions need to take place in a large space, ideally the school hall. Please contact the Music Service for further information about accommodating taiko workshops.


Steel Pans

Steel Pans

The Place. The People. Originating from Trinidad and Tobago, the steel pans are synonymous with celebration and carnivals.

The Music Mostly calypso and caribbean, but can be used for a variety of styles.

For example, please allow us to introduce the Panatical Steel Band from Crestwood College, Eastleigh with...Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy!

The Workshop

Half day and full day workshops, Fridays only



Only recommended for year 4 and above

Udu Drums

The Place. The People. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and the eighth in the world. The landscape varies from savannah to desert and rainforest. Substantial oil reserves have helped make the economy one of the most successful in Africa. The largest ethnic groups are the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba peoples, all of which can trace their origins at least to the 2nd millennium BC.

The Music Udu are clay drums originally from Nigeria, also made and used in Brazil; they have been adopted all over the world by percussionists in all styles. As with other African music, the texture is layered and polyrhythmic, with several independent parts interlocking. Use is also made of the different pitches that the Udu are capable of producing.

The Workshop

Half day and full day sessions, Fridays only

Students learn to produce the varied tones of the Udu made possible using both the bowl and soundholes, as in playing, the resonant tone of the air chamber is modulated by covering the tuned aperture with the hand. Playing is in ensemble with independent parts layered together, with opportunities for composition and improvisation.


West African Drums

West African Drums

The Place. The People. From Senegal to Niger, the countries of West Africa share many aspects of culture in dress, cuisine and music, with drumming at the musical heart. Historically West Africa was home to the great empires of Sosso, Songhai and Mali, which lasted for 350 years and was larger than Western Europe. The interior of the region is predominantly Muslim, with Christianity and Judaism in the South and West; these influences are reflected in the music.

The Music In West Africa, music accompanies important life events, like marriage, childbirth, working and hunting. It has a very close relationship both with dance and with the tones and rhythmic patterns of the local language. The music is built from varied timbre playing interlocking rhythmic parts to form a polyrhythmic whole, often led by a master drummer using call and response patterns.

The Workshop

Half day and full day sessions, Fridays only

Using authentic handmade instruments and genuine African rhythms, pupils learn to play, in ensemble, the pulsing grooves and layered textures that are West African drumming, using Djembe, Kpanlogo, Bougourabou and Doundoun drums, as well as shakers, bells and tuned Balafon. Having mastered the technique and characteristic rhythms, pupils learn to create their own.


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