The music of life – remembering Mahatma Gandhi in the year of his 150th birthday

Mahatma Gandhi  * my idea of music

I would go so far as to say that Western music which has made immense strides should also blend with the Indian. Visva-Bharati is conceived as a world university […]  I have a suspicion that perhaps there is more of music than warranted by life, or I will put the thought in another way. The music of life is in danger of being lost in the music of the voice. Why not the music of the walk, of the march, of every movement of ours, and of every activity? […] So far as I know, Gurudev [Rabindranath Tagore] stood for all this in his own person.

From a letter to Rathindranath Tagore (22 December 1945), quoted in: The Oxford India Gandhi: Essential WritingsCompiled and edited by Gopalkrishna Gandhi. New New Delhi, 2008 (p. 568)

Born on October 2, 1869, the father of the nation is known of his struggles for non-violence, equality and freedom. However, does anyone know how good Gandhi was as a student?

Mahatma Gandhi was born in Porbandar on October 2, 1869 and received primary education in the city. He was not a bright student and used to learn by writing with his finger in the dust. He was neither considered to be very gifted in the classroom nor in the playing field. However, a book ‘Mahatma on the Pitch: Gandhi & Cricket in India’ talks about how his fondness of cricket. – Read more in the Indian Express (9 October 2018) >>

Unveiling of new UN stamps at “Non-violence in Action” (on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence)

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi quoted by H.E. Mrs. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence at the United Nations >>

Was die südindische Musik immer interessanter macht – Meine Welt Winter 2018/19

Foto: Rainer Hörig >>

Wie kaum einem anderen deutsch-stämmigen Musiker ist es Ludwig Pesch gelungen, tief in das Wesen der südindischen „klassischen“ Musik einzutauchen. Der Autor lebt heute in Amsterdam und ist als freischaffender Musiker, Sachbuchautor und Dozent tätig. Seine Erfahrung befähigt ihn, die karnatische Musiktradition auch einem Laienpublikum verständlich nahe zu bringen.

Zum Artikel >>

Die Wintermonate sind für Reisen nach Indien am besten geeignet. Dieses Heft schildert waghalsige Abenteuer und weniger bekannte Reiseziele, die neugierig machen. Autoren teilen Erfahrungen, die sie als Leiter von Gruppenreisen oder in einem Arbeitsaufenthalt machten. Junge Inderinnen und Inder, die in Deutschland aufwuchsen und durch Indien reisen, erleben zwiespältige Heimatgefühle. Indien beschert immer wieder Überraschungen und Wunder.

Online Ausgabe von Meine Welt & Archiv

Seit 1984 bildet die Zeitschrift MEINE WELT ein Forum des Austausches zwischen Migranten aus Indien und ihren deutschen Freunden. Sie erscheint dreimal im Jahr in einer Auflage von knapp 1000 Exemplaren – das größte Printmedium mit Indien-Bezug in der deutschsprachigen Presselandschaft!
Ein herausragendes Merkmal von MEINE WELT ist ihre enge Anbindung an die Leserschaft, die Hinweise, Themenvorschläge und komplette Artikel liefert. MEINE WELT ist kostenlos und werbefrei! Herausgeber ist der Diözesan-Caritasverband im Erzbistum Köln.

Why Carnatic Music Matters More Than Ever

by Ludwig Pesch

Published by Shankar Ramchandran on behalf of Dhvani Ohio

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License

For this musicologist and author, there are good reasons to believe that Carnatic music matters, perhaps more than ever and almost anywhere in the world. So why not perform and teach it in the service of better education for all, for ecological awareness or in order to promote mutual respect in spite of all our differences? And in the process, get “invigorated and better equipped to tackle the larger issues at hand”.

Sruti Magazine (October 2018)

Integrated Music Education – Challenges of Teaching and Teacher Training – Book release during ISME 2018 world conference for music education

“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

This book was presented  during the 33rd ISME World Conference for Music Education ( 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.

Exploring a wealth of rhythmic and melodic motifs: Interactive music session for and with Montessori teachers – Zurich

At the invitation of Christine Urand (Director, Rietberg Montessori School) Ludwig Pesch took the full assembly of teachers on a musical journey across South India: exploring a wealth of rhythmic and melodic motifs suitable for young learners while enabling parents, teachers and care-givers to enjoy music making themselves (even as “lay people”, musically speaking).

This event was also an occasion to explore and discuss the scope for actively participating in an intercultural dialogue, something the presenter has long been known for, while paying homage to Maria Montessori (*): be it as contributor to ISME World Conferences or in association with educational and cultural institutions across the entire spectrum: teacher training, kindergarten, schools, rehabilitation just as staff integration programmes; conservatoria and universities in several countries; and creative projects developed in association with the Goethe Institute and exhibition makers at internationally renowned museums.

Date: 1 March 2018. Events on similar lines have been developed in conjunction with Museum Rietberg (Zurich) on the occasion of exhibitions of rare Indian art (in collaboration with art education staff).

Deutsch: Eine musikalische Reise für alle >>

* 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).

Ludwig Pesch – reviews

L Pesch flute“Excellent concert by German flautist – The Carnatic flute recital by Ludwig Pesch was a feast for the ears of music lovers. ” – MATHRUBHUMI: The National Daily in Malayalam

“An eloquent demonstration of the universal fact that music transcendents cultural and linguistic barriers … Pesch impressively delivered choicest numbers strictly adhering to the tenets of classicism” – INDIAN EXPRESS, Cochin

“Pesch presented an incredibly beautiful and inspired solo improvization.” -BERLINSKE TYDINGE, Copenhagen

“Carnatic music appeals in a direct manner and is also characterized by a degree of playfulness. Through its crisp and concentrated compositions, Pesch created melodies that reached one’s heart … altogether a splendid introduction to a music that deserves to be known much more widely.” – EINDHOVENS DAGBLAD; The Netherlands

“Both types of listeners – those new to classical Indian music and arts as well as connoisseurs – benefitted by way of inspiration, new insights and a high degree of aesthetic pleasure …. with his bamboe flute, Ludwig Pesch demonstrated everything he had earlier conveyed theoretically.” – KIELER NACHRICHTEN

“The flute player from the land of Beethoven … treated an audience of Trichur’s music lovers to a rare feast of music.” – DEEPIKA (Malayalam Daily), Trichur
“a rare evening of pure music.” – MALAYALAM MANORAMA (Malayalam), Cochin

“Captivating and chaste rendition … an active cultural ambassador … and a golden link with the West.” – ANOTHER GARLAND: A Biographical Dictionary of Carnatic Composers and Musicians; Chennai, 1993


Eine musikalische Reise – für alle!

Eine musikalische Reise durch Südindien

Die Musik des südlichen Indien birgt viele Geheimnisse, aber soviel sei hier schon verraten: ihre Vielfalt verdankt sie der Lebensfreude und Mobilität von Menschen aus vielen Epochen und Regionen. Und weil dort recht unterschiedliche Kulturen zusammenfliessen eignet sie sich ganz besonders zum spontanen, gemeinsamen Musizieren – auch ganz ohne Vorkenntnisse!

Dazu nimmt uns der in Chennai ausgebildete, in Amsterdam lebende Flötist und Musikpädagoge Ludwig Pesch mit auf eine musikalische Reise. Für seine “Vermittlung von Geist und Leben Indiens” wurden ihm gleich zwei Kulturpreise verliehen.

Reise- und Lernziele

  • Tiere schenken Töne (Karnataka)
  • Innehalten: vom Klang des Glücks (Andhra Pradesh)
  • Frische Farben, forsche Formen (Kerala)
  • Zahlen, die klingen und swingen (Tamil Nadu)

Wie bei uns haben regionale Traditionen viel zur gemeinschaftlichen Kultur Indiens beigetragen. Zugleich ist jeder einzelnen auch etwas Besonderes zu eigen. Facetten, die auch unser Leben und Lernen bereichern können, sind Thema dieser musikalischen Reise.

Mehr über die “karnatische” Musik Südindiens mit interaktiver Landkarte >>

Dieses interkulturelle Programm wird den jeweiligen Altersgruppen und besonderen Möglichkeiten vor Ort angepasst. Es ist überall –  bei gutem Wetter auch im Freien – ohne technischen Aufwand realisierbar. Zur aktiven Beteiligung genügend Hände und Stimme.

Zeitlicher Rahmen: die kurze Variante entspricht einer Unterrichtsstunde, die längere ist ein Workshop für Kinder mit Eltern (Museum- und Sonderpädagogik), für Schüler oder Erwachsene. Dabei steht eine fantasievolle Übertragung von Rhythmen und Melodien in Bewegung und Bild zentral. Auf Wunsch wird gemeinsam mit Lehrern bzw. Betreuern ein zum Lehrplan, einem bestimmten Anlass oder einer Ausstellung passendes Programm zusammengestellt.

Die ganztägige Reise klingt vorzugsweise mit einer gemeinsamen Darbietung für Angehörige aus.

Kosten: nach Absprache – Honorar und Reisekostenerstattung mit Unterkunft gemäß ortsüblichen Standards.