Sam, Reflection, Gathering Together!

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About the word sam in project title The Sanskrit syllable "sam" informs the choice of the three words contained in the original German project title Sam, Sammlung, Zusammen! It is also found in the in English words like same and ensemble. The project title therefore denotes something that is shared by way of common features, shared values and joint musical activities. Even in the absence of the original play of words and meanings afforded by the German title, Sam, Reflection, Gathering Together! is a good English equivalent that hints at the purpose and scope of this project.

The ancient Sanskrit word samgîtam containing "sam" equally points to an understanding of music, dance and drama whereby the common dominator underlying these arts stands central. Sampradâya, the Indian word for "tradition", indicates "that which gives properly (samyak) and abundantly (prakarsena)" rather than idealizing blind adherence to established practice as commonly assumed. (Lalita Ramakrishna, Sampradaya Sangita: Classical Music Tradition, Bangalore 2005.)

The central idea of this research project is rooted in the experience of its initiators that Indian music offers educators a vast range of simple as well as profound musical concepts, oral means of transmission, and effective learning techniques. It enables educators to make music together with children and young people including those with special needs irrespective of their personal affinity with Indian cultural traditions.

To avail of the opportunities offered by Sam, Reflection, Gathering Together! it matters little whether or not a particular group of learners has already benefitted from musical training. The musical programmes currently being developed in collaboration with Indian musicians, educators and institutions are easily accessible to all in and outside India.

The strength of this approach lies in the intrinsic value of making, thinking and experiencing music in a uniquely Indian way: Today as in the remote past, Indian music easily transcends all geographical, cultural, linguistic and religious boundaries. It constitutes a joyful practice of collective "music making for all" and therefore deserves to be better known. In spite of a widespread tendency to mystify its basic principles, it needs by no means be a stranger to lovers, learners and practitioners of Western music and helps to complement other teaching methods where printed editions would otherwise constitute the sole means of making and teaching music.