Workshop Reviews

Reviews from Indian Music Workshops in Secondary Schools:

“It was a pleasure to welcome Jon and Ricky to Aiglon. They 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).

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.

“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.


“Incredibly informative and a wealth of information provided.””This would provide excellent specialist INSET for teachers.””Very interesting and related well to the course.” Beth Hayes – Balcarras Secondary School, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

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.”

Reviews 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.