At biennale workshop, Bangalorean master trains special need kids on keeping time

Kochi, Feb 27: Kochi-Muziris Biennale ran its first music workshop alongside the fourth edition of the contemporary art festival, as singer-songwriter and producer Rudy David conducted a two-long workshop to the benefit of children with special needs besides people from all walks of life.

At the art room in Fort Kochi’s Cabral Yard venue, the Bangalore-based master led his classes in a way that left participants far less inhibited down the sessions that eventually concluded on Wednesday evening.

The first hour of the workshop was open for anyone join in by drumming whatever they felt like. “Drumming helps everyone realise the rhythm from within, more so for kids with special needs,” said Rudy, a guitarist and sound engineer, who owns a studio.

The February 26-27 workshop dealt with the concept of ‘time’ and how sounds can be staggered across intervals to create music. “We could create an interactive musical environment using drums, percussion and voice to create a collective rhythmical piece of work involving collaboration between all the participants,” said Rudy.

For the biennale-time workshop, the master had built low-cost and compact drum prototypes using recycled materials such as water pipes and sofa covers. Why compact drums? “Well, I had discovered earlier while trying to work with conventional drum that special need kids could not handle its loud sound,” he pointed out. “The other problem is that the conventional drum isn’t easily available; its cost is high too. Plus, the difficulties involved in their transportation and maintenance.”

The workshop saw participants engaged in musical exchanges that facilitated their hand-eye coordination. “The idea was to demystify the fundamentals of music using simple language and mathematics of the art,” shared Rudy. “We have created a music book featuring the left- right movement of the hands and understanding where to give breaks in between beats. We use the binary system.”

The idea was to use muscle memory, explained Rudy. “Muscle memory is a motor task of strengthening one’s capacity to remember through repetition. Like, when you play a musical instrument and you practice a particular tune repeatedly, your muscles will remember it and play the notes automatically,” he added.

Aarthi Cherian, a Kochi-based freelance designer who participated at the workshop, stated she had hitherto thought she did not have the talent to play an instrument and that one needed sustained training to understand musical notes. “This workshop made me realise that rhythm is within us all. The master made it very simple with the left-right movement of the hand for beats,” she noted.

Chipping in with a similar sentiment, Kriti, a graduate student, said the workshop lent her a community feeling. “This workshop made me realise that group drumming creates a musical experience that is magical,” she said.

The trainees, on Wednesday, did a performance at the Pavilion, impressing the audience with their rhythmic notes.


“The fourth edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale runs from 12 December, 2018 – 29 March, 2019.“
Venues are open every day from 10 AM – 6 PM.
Tickets are available for purchase for ₹100 at Aspinwall House.

Universal free entry every Monday.


By Air: Fort Kochi is 45 km from Kochi International Airport, Nedumbassery.
By Train: Fort Kochi is 13 km from Ernakulam Junction (South) Station and 16 km from Ernakulam Town (North) Station.
By Boat: Fort Kochi is 20 mins from the Ernakulam Boat Jetty and 10 mins from both Willingdon Island and Vypin Boat Jetty.
By Bus: Fort Kochi is 15 km from the main bus station in Ernakulam.

Many of the locations of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale are walking distances from each other (most are around 10 minutes or so).


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