Ġgantija 2013 Workshops
As part of the Ġgantija 2013 project, a set of workshops were organised for music educators, and young students. Ġgantija 2013 set off last June with a performance and artistic installation at the Ġgantija Temples in Xagħra Gozo, led by Ars Vitae Ensemble, under the directorship of composer Mariella Cassar and artist Victor Agius and curated by Dr Vince Briffa.
The first set of workshops entitled ‘Inspiring Creativity in Music Education’ was conducted by Dr. Christopher Best, senior lecturer at the University College Falmouth, UK. Dr. Best has extensive experience both in the music education field as well as a composer. The aim of the workshops was to help musicians and music educators develop material that stimulates students to engage in critical listening, analysis, composition and performance work. As an introduction to the workshops, all participants explored how sound, silence, music and noise cross over, by means of a ‘sound walk’. The streets of Valletta provided the perfect backdrop to this, where the participants experienced how such a walk can, in fact be an act of performance. The second session, explored creative re-arrangement. Established works were analysed, focusing on instrumentation, their harmonic, melodic, contrapuntal and rhythmical elements. Such exploration enabled the eventual creation of a radically new arrangement. In the final session, the relationship between music and the moving image was explored. After examining extracts of film and dance with their sounds removed, the participants moved on to compose their own music, in an attempt to bring out new implications and qualities in what was being visualised. These workshops were extremely informative and motivating for all the participants. Since the majority of the participants were primary and secondary school music teachers, holding these workshops just before the start of the new scholastic year was an added bonus.
The second set of educational workshops was conducted at the newly established Ġgantija Heritage site and the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta. These workshops, which were targeted towards students aged between 9 to 12 years, were conducted by the composer and artist themselves. In these workshops, students had the possibility to listen to the piece performed last June by the Ars Vitae Ensemble, followed by an open discussion, the playing of percussion instruments and hands-on activities. During these practical sessions, students did clay modelling and used natural colours to create their own pictures inspired by the prehistoric remains found in the Temples and their surroundings.
All workshops were very well attended and inspiring for all participants. Ġgantija 2013 is kindly supported by Malta Arts Fund, Banif Bank, Gasan Mamo Insurance Agency, Artsphere International, Gozo Culture, The Janatha Stubbs Foundation and Abraham’s Supplies.