“A defining period in Montessori’s outlook”: Letters from India

Maria Montessori Writes to Her Grandchildren

In October 1939, while the “storm of war was gathering in Europe”, Maria and Mario Montessori set off to India to deliver a training course and lecture tour. When Italy became involved in the war, the British rule of India did not give the Montessoris permission to leave; they were to spend close to seven years in India, which would become a defining period in Montessori’s outlook on life and education.

Maria & Mario Montessori with Rukmini Devi & George Arundale (Adyar/Chennai)

“Only the collaboration between the children and the adults will be able to solve the problems of our time.”
Maria Montessori Writes to Her Grandchildren 1

The letters Montessori wrote to her four teenage grandchildren in Holland give a completely new, private insight into that compellingly interesting period. We see a woman who is deeply connected to her family and friends. We also see her strong commitment to bringing progress and fighting illiteracy in India, which grew into an enduring love for the country and its people. Montessori’s colourful descriptions of her journey and life in India, her worries about her grandchildren in war-torn Europe, and her son’s imprisonment make a fascinating read.

Source: Maria Montessori Writes to Her Grandchildren (Association Montessori Internationale Montessori 150 © 2021)
https://montessori150.org/maria-montessori/montessori-books/maria-montessori-writes-her-grandchildren
Date Visited: 7 June 2023

Italian currency bill 3 October 1990

“Uttarayam”, Santiniketan, Bengal
6 January 1940

Dear Dr. Montessori,

It is a great joy to hear from you and have your good wishes which I warmly reciprocate. As you know, I am a great admirer of your work in education, and along with my countrymen think it very fortunate indeed that India, at this hour, can get your guidance in creative self-expression. 2 I am confident, that education of the young, which must underly all work of national reconstruction, will find a new and lasting inspiration from your presence.

May I hope that you will visit our Institution when you come to Bengal.

With kind regards,
Yours sincerely

Rabindranath Tagore 3

From 1939 until 1947 Dr. Maria Montessori worked closely with Rukmini Devi, founder of Kalakshetra (est. in 1936 in Adyar/Madras, now part of Chennai), an institution established for the integration of India’s cultural heritage and learning. Kalakshetra stands for an integrated approach to education all realms education – social, economic, crafts and performing arts, being both inspired and guided by India’s first Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore whose  pioneering concept for informal learning was first tested and further developed at Santiniketan (“abode of peace”).

These pioneering efforts remain as relevant today as in the early 20th century when Maria Montessori and her associates realized that true education is more than a tool for succeeding in life as an individual or member of one’s own society: it is the very key to world peace and social justice (see, for example, her 1932 “Peace and Education” lecture published by the International Bureau of Education, Geneva).

  1. “Report on the First Indian Training Course in Education” (Madras, 11 November 1939) by Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) quoted in Maria Montessori Writes to her Grandchildren: letters from India, 1939-1946 (Amsterdam: Montessori-Pierson Publishing Company, 2020, p. 38[]
  2. man expresses himself age after age in new creations[]
  3. Transcription from a typewritten letter seen at Association Montessori Internationale in Amsterdam[]

“Die große Fähigkeit nutzen, die wir wie alle Völker und Kulturen besitzen”: Yehudi Menuhin über Austausch und Synthese

London, Januar 1977 (aus dem Englischen übersetzt) 1

Der Begriff “Wechselbeziehungen” schließt einen bestimmten harmonischen Verlauf in sich ein, der diejenigen strengen Gesetze der Harmonielehre verletzt, deren eigentlicher Sinn ein glatter und wohlklingender Verlauf der Stimmen im Kontrapunkt ist. Die Musik unserer Zeit befolgt diese Gesetze nicht mehr, noch waren Meister je von Regeln abhängig. […]

Es gibt keinen günstigeren Platz als Israel, um die gegenseitigen Beziehungen zwischen den östlichen und westlichen Kulturen zu erforschen. Israel ist nicht nur geographisch an genau der Stelle gelegen, wo sich drei kraftvolle Ströme begegnen: aus Afrika, Asien und Europa; die Volksgruppen, aus denen sich die Bevölkerung Israels zusammensetzt, zeigen selbst ein dynamisches und lebendiges Abbild der äußerst komplexen und reizvollen Modelle, welche der Wechselwirkung dieser verschiedenen Ströme entstammen. So ist dieses Buch über eine wissenschaftliche Studie hinaus in lebendiger Erfahrung verwurzelt und daher ein aktuelles und fesselndes Dokument.

Ein Hauptbeitrag Europas ist die Kraft, die Fähigkeit, der Wille zur Synthese. In Europa haben sich all diese großen Ströme zusammengefunden: aus Asien von der Mongolei im Norden bis Indien im Süden – in den Magyaren und Zigeunern [Sinti und Roma] 2 Ungarns vereint […]

Es ist deshalb umso mehr die besondere Pflicht unseres Zeitalters zu versuchen, diese unendlich komplexen Wechselbeziehungen mit einer Mischung von Voraussicht und Vision zu verstehen und klarzulegen und dabei die große Fähigkeit zu nutzen, die wir wie alle Völker und Kulturen besitzen: die Kraft zu geben und zu nehmen, zu lehren und zu lernen; denn wir werden stets voneinander abhängig sein. Nur in solchem Geist der Demut 3 können wir das Bestmögliche erreichen, oder zumindest dem Schlimmsten entgehen, das immer vielfältigere und bezwingende Verflechtungen uns zu bringen haben.

Mir bedeutet unendlich viel, an der Musik Indiens aktiv teilzunehmen: in immer neuen Sequenzen jede Note und jede Geste auszukosten; mit den flexiblen Spannungen von Ton und Rhythmus das Gehör zu schulen; die allgemeine Aufnahmefähigkeit zu steigern.
Yehudi Menuhin in Unvollendete Reise Lebenserinnerungen (1976, S. 305-6)

Worldcat lists compiled by Ludwig Pesch

  1. Yehudi Menuhin in Musik zwischen Orient und Okzident: Eine Kulturgeschichte der Wechselbeziehungen von Peter Gradenwitz S. 390-392 | Details: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1046379134[]
  2. Zitat: Erläuterungen zum Begriff „Zigeuner“ über die Notwendigkeit einer differenzierteren Bezeichnung, die sich jedoch erst lange seit dem Erscheinen dieses Buchs im Jahre 1977 durchsetzen konnte:
    Zigeuner“ ist eine von Klischees überlagerte Fremdbezeichnung der Mehrheitsgesellschaft, die von den meisten Angehörigen der Minderheit als diskriminierend abgelehnt wird – so haben sich die Sinti und Roma nämlich niemals selbst genannt. Die Durchsetzung der Eigenbezeichnung Sinti und Roma im öffentlichen Diskurs war von Anfang an ein zentrales Anliegen der Bürgerrechtsbewegung, die sich vor allem seit Ende der Siebzigerjahre in der Bundesrepublik formierte. Dadurch sollte zugleich ein Bewusstsein für jene Vorurteilsstrukturen und Ausgrenzungsmechanismen geschaffen werden, die im Stereotyp vom „Zigeuner“ ihre Wurzeln haben. […] Die Begriffe Sinti und Roma sind nicht, wie häufig unterstellt, „politisch korrekte“ Erfindungen der Bürgerrechtsbewegung, sondern tauchen in Quellen bereits seit dem 18. Jahrhundert auf. […] Als schillernde Projektionsfläche sagt es viel über die Fantasien, Ängste und Wünsche derer aus, die es benutzen. Mit der Lebensrealität der Sinti und Roma hat es schlicht nichts gemein.
    Zugriff: https://zentralrat.sintiundroma.de/sinti-und-roma-zigeuner/ [6. Juni 2022]
    Fettdruck zur Betonung hinzugefügt[]
  3. “Humility is a quality often associated with self-deprecation. But by championing our achievements while also acknowledging our weaknesses, we could see benefits in many areas of our lives – and even increase our attractiveness.” – Introduction BBC podcast All in theMind (accessed 1 November 2023) []

“Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered

“Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered” by Ludwig Pesch (Amsterdam) in Gardner, Matthew; Walsdorf, Hanna (Hrsg.). Musik – Politik – Identität. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag, 2016 (Musikwissenschaften)

This essay evolved from a presentation for participants at the music conference “Music | Musics. Structures and Processes” held at Goettingen University (4-8 September 2012); with due credits to the editors.

“an inspiration to many [and] the highlight of the conference for me” – fellow author/presenter Paul Christiansen

ISBN13: 978-3-86395-258-7

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Softcover, 17×24, 218 S.: 24,00 € Online Ausgabe, PDF (3.681 MB)

© 2016: Creative Commons licence Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Abstract

The “classical” music of South India is an amalgam of regional traditions and practices. Increasingly codified in the past five centuries, it is now known as Carnatic or Karnatak music. Like the Sanskrit term Karnâtaka Sangîtam, these Anglicisms denote “traditional” music besides distinguishing South Indian music from its northern (Hindustani) counterpart. Progressive scholars have long espoused the common goal of making teaching more effective for both idioms while safeguarding “authentity”. It may therefore seem odd that detailed notation has not been embraced by practitioners.

This paper probes the resilience of oral transmission in the face of modernity. It looks into the concerns shared by musicians who, while belonging to different cultures and periods, have much in common as far as performing practice is concerned: close integration of vocal and instrumental music. The role of manuscripts in Minnesang, as described by McMahon, also applies to Carnatic music: “songs were handed down in an oral tradition [and] the manuscripts were not intended to be used by performers.” (The Music of Early Minnesang Columbia SC, 1990.)

It will be argued that this fact is not just a question of some musicians’ conservatism, ignorance or irrationality; nor would it put the continuity of a living tradition at risk. On the contrary, Carnatic music reaches global audiences today while “ancient” roots are claimed even by those who cherish its association with musicians from other cultures throughout the 20th century.

About this publication

Music – Politics – Identity

Music always mirrors and acts as a focal point for social paradigms and discourses surrounding political and national identity. The essays in this volume combine contributions on historical and present-day questions about the relationship between politics and musical creativity.

The first part concentrates on musical identity and political reality, discussing ideological values in musical discourses.

The second part deals with (musical) constructions, drwawing on diverse national connections within our own and foreign identity.

Matthew Gardner & Hanna Walsdorf (eds.)

Musik – Politik – Identität

Musik ist immer auch Spiegel und Kristallisationspunkt gesellschaftlicher Paradigmen und politisch-nationaler Identitätsdiskurse. Der vorliegende Sammelband vereint Beiträge zu historischen und gegenwärtigen Fragestellungen, die um das Verhältnis von Politik und musikalischem Schaffen kreisen.

Im ersten Teil sind Beiträge zusammengefasst, die sich mit „Musikalischer Identität und politischer Realität“ befassen und dabei ideologische Zuschreibungsprozesse im Musikdiskurs thematisieren.

Der zweite Teil des Bandes umfasst Betrachtungen über „(Musikalische) Konstruktionen von eigener und fremder Identität“ aus verschiedensten nationalen Zusammenhängen.

Matthew Gardner & Hanna Walsdorf (Hg.)

Inhalt / Contents

Hanna Walsdorf und Matthew Gardner
Vorwort

I Musikalische Identität und politische Realität

Hanna Walsdorf
Deutsche Nationalmusik? Ein diskursgeschichtlicher Annäherungsversuch

Mauro Fosco Bertola
„Die Musik ist mediterran“: Orient, Latinität und Musikgeschichte, oder: Wie Nietzsche 1937 Italiens koloniale Macht legitimieren sollte

Yvonne Wasserloos
„Nordische Musik“ als Faktor der Propaganda der Nordischen Gesellschaft und der DNSAP in Dänemark um 1940

Simon Nußbruch
„Was ließen jene, die vor uns schon waren…?“ Musik in der Bündischen Jugend nach 1945

Gilbert Stöck
Methoden musikalischer Opposition in Portugal während der Salazar-Diktatur bei Jorge Peixinho und José Afonso

Paul Christiansen
‘The Stakes Are Too High For You to Stay Home’: Divergent Uses of Music in TV Political Ads in the 1964 U.S. Presidential Election

II (Musikalische) Konstruktionen von eigener und fremder Identität

Matthew Gardner
‘Das Land ohne Musik’? National Musical Identity in Victorian and Edwardian England

Rebekka Sandmeier
Reflections of European Culture in the Grey Collection (National Library of South Africa)

Mario Dunkel
Jazz and the Emergence of the African-Roots Theory

Dorothea Suh
Achim Freyers Mr. Rabbit and the Dragon King: Eine Interpretation des koreanischen P’ansori Sugungga

Ludwig Pesch
Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered

Worldcat lists compiled by Ludwig Pesch

Poems that “salvage unheard voices”: Chaitali Sengupta’s The Crossings reviewed in Muse India

The Crossings | Poetry | Chaitali Sengupta |
Hawakal Publishers (2023) | ISBN: 978-81-963974-6-3 |
Paperback | Pp 119 | Rs 400

The poems map the complex historical, mythical and ideological trajectory of power and powerlessness that is rooted in colonialism, xenophobia and cross-border politics. […]

An immigrant herself, Sengupta’s poetic sensibilities are aligned with the “rights of undocumented migrants” in the Netherlands. In the preface, she talks about her experience of working as a volunteer translator in an organization that worked for the rights of migrants. […]

Conflicts, their ensuing displacement, and loss of moorings can be ravaging, both physically and psychologically. They leave indelible scars. The victims at times don’t have a vocabulary to fall back on while voicing their traumatic experiences. Sengupta’s poems unhinge these fault lines as much as they explore the borders that make and unmake human experiences. […]

The colonial nations may have lapsed into imperial amnesia, but the former colonies cannot. In “Lost Paths”, the speaker fails to “search through the far forgotten time, a home that stood/ next to a river that flew past those verdant fields” as space and time coalesce. […]


Read more about The Crossings by Chaitali Sengupta:
A Powerful Exploration of Migration and Identity

https://www.sundaymorningsattheriver.com/blog/the-crossings-by-chaitali-sengupta-a-powerful-exploration-of-migration-and-identity

Chaitali Sengupta is an accomplished writer and translator, skilled in crafting fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. As a reviewer and journalist, she garnered recognition for her debut collection of prose poems, “Cross Stitched Words,” which earned the ‘Honorable Mention’ award at the New England Book Festival in 2021. Her expertise in translation is evident in her notable work, “Timeless Tales in Translation,” which received the special jury award at the Panorama International Literature Festival in 2023. With three translation books to her name, Chaitali has been a consistent contributor to both online and print media. Her second book, “The Crossings,” delves into poems centred on themes of war, migration, and survival.

Find the book here and Chaitali here.

Integrated Music Education – Challenges of Teaching and Teacher Training

“Thinking and learning in South Indian Music” by Ludwig Pesch, chapter 4 in: Markus Cslovjecsek, Madeleine Zulauf (eds.)
Integrated Music Education – Challenges of Teaching and Teacher Training
Peter Lang Publishers, Bern, 2018. 418 pp., 29 fig. b/w, 2 tables
MOUSIKÆ PAIDEIA Music and Education/Musik und Bildung/Musique et Pédagogie. Vol. 1 pb. ISBN 978-3-0343-0388-0

Contents & contributors

Starting point. The school’s disciplinary learning scaffold : a challenge for integrated education / Rudolf Künzli ; The intertwining of music, education, and integration / Madeleine Zulauf & Markus Cslovjecsek
Step 1. Approaching integrated music education by exploring distant horizons. Integrating arts performance and education in communities of practice : a Brazilian experience / Joan Russell ; Thinking and learning in South Indian music / Ludwig Pesch ; Making connections : avant-garde visual artists and Varèse / Colleen Richardson
Step 2. Encountering integrated music education: where school meets life. Cooperative learning in music : music education and the psychology of integration / Frits Evelein ; Music/arts/language interdisciplinary intervention : cultural, linguistic, and artistic development in Francophone minority communities / Anne Lowe & Monique Richard ; Promoting spirituality through music in the classroom / Diana Harris
Step 3. Uncovering school models in integrated music education. Interdisciplinarity based on a deep understanding of disciplinarity : benefits for students’ self-development / Dagmar Widorski ; Considering frameworks for integrating music and the arts / Kari Veblen; Cross-curricular approaches in music teaching / Jonathan Barnes
Step 4. Becoming familiar with integrated music education activities in the classroom. Activities which use and unveil cultural artifacts / Smaragda Chrysostomou, Colleen Richardson & Joan Russell ; Activities which explore links between music and one other subject / Markus Cslovjecsek, Ludwig Pesch & Joan Russell ; Activities which develop from the learners’ presence / Anke Böttcher, Frits Evelein & Diana Harris
Step 5. Being invited into the minds of people engaged in integrated music education. Conceptions of integrated music education : models in dialogue / Madeleine Zulauf & Peter Gentinetta ; When teachers meet specialists : retrospect on the symposium ‘Practice and research in integrated music education’ as a form of professional development / Hermann Gelzer & Helmut Messner

Find a library copy on Worldcat.org >>

This book was presented  during the 33rd ISME World Conference for Music Education (isme2018.org) on Wednesday 18 July 2018.

About this book

Schools are generally oriented towards discipline-based programmes and therefore students often accumulate fragmented knowledge, disconnected from real life concerns. The eighteen contributors to this work suggest that music offers a highway to developing a more appropriate integrated education. They present a range of views on Integrated Music Education rooted in various cultural traditions, based on several interdisciplinary models and integrated arts curricula, inspired by psychological concepts and referenced to recent teaching experiments as well as original research.

In this innovative book, the reader is invited to go beyond the dichotomy between ‘education in music’ and ‘education through music’, exploring the opportunities put forward by Integrated Music Education thanks to a constant movement from the theoretical roots through a precise description of teaching activities to the benefits for students in terms of integration of knowledge, personal development, and social and cultural belonging. Lastly, there are some new and interesting ideas for training teachers.

Art: Arun VC (Wayanad, Kerala)
Illustration from
Vaitari: A musical picture book from Kerala
Audio file: Lakshmi and Marma talas combined in an original rendition by Thrikkamburam Krishnan Marar, a hereditary temple musician in Kerala. Recording location: Natanakairali Irinjalakuda; described in the present publication:
Vaitari: Syllable-based rhythm exercise from Kerala by Ludwig Pesch (pp. 290-4), Ch. “Activities Which Explore Links between Music and One Other Subject”

Worldcat lists compiled by Ludwig Pesch