Mumbai blog 7 – learning a lot by teaching, Kuljit, Jazz and Laura Doctor Dolittle

Laura’s back from her travels. I’m glad Laura is back!

Here is the latest Badmaash video – Juhu Beach. Laura wrote a really lovely tune and called it ‘Juhu beach’

On Wednesday at Aahshansh, I was trying out some new ideas to balance out the hyper activities. It worked! we’ll see for how long… but the kids were more relaxed. We pretended to go to sleep in the “In the Jungle” song which helped. When it came to dividing into groups to try the instruments they were more calm and shared more. We tried out a Swamp song with the parachute (two bits of material sewn together) – which worked too! I’m trying to include the older girls more, as sometimes they sit out. Neha loves the keyboard so I got her to play first and then show the others. Sangeeta sat out during the parachute activity, so I gave her the job of shouting out the numbers of the kids that had to run underneath. It a vulnerable time for the older girls at Aashansh as kids living on the streets can get easily involved in drugs etc, make some quick money and quit school.

Went to Bandra base (above) – a venue in Mumbai which is more like a living room with pillows on the floor. Saw some really nice jazz there from a New Zealand pianist, Steve Barry and his girlfriend, Jess Pollard – who had just the most amazing Jazzy soulful, creative voice! They were also joined by Ko Omura, a drummer from Japan.

Kuljit Bhrama happened to be in Mumbai this week ! I first met Kuljit during the ‘River of Music’ project at Uni. A collaboration between local Indian musicians and Scottish musicians. It was a lot of fun and so good to see Kuljit again. His friend Ameen took us on a tour of tasty places to eat. First stop was a tiny place selling the most fresh, tasty fish, called Jai Jawan on Linking road. We ate it off the bonnet of the car. We then crossed the Sea link onto Worli and stopped for a cup for Masala milk that had nuts in it and finished in a place for more curry about 12:30 midnight. The name I can’t remember…. I did have a couple of meetings with the toilet the next day but It was worth it.

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At Gateway this week, Rimi and I planned to teach the kids something Scottish while I’m here. So i’ve been looking into activities based around the Selkie story. It’s been fun looking into different versions. I found one that wasn’t too morbid and told it to the kids this week. It made me appreciate story tellers – there’s an art in telling a story well ! – I’m not so good but the kids picked it up – Rimi gave me some tips after.

At Dharavi Art Room this week I walked into a serene room with lots of kids silently reading! They’ve got a little library in their space now. The kids love it!

Laura kept coming across a tiny kitten outside her flat. So decided to try and at least help it abit. She took it up to her flat, gave it a bath with a cloth, fed it milk and put some cream on its hurt ear. Then we put it back where it was. She said it was looking better the next day!

The kids at St Judes cancer rehabilitation unit were extra hyper this week. When I asked them to get in a circle – it resulted in them fighting to stand next to me – which happens with all teachers I guess – so I left the circle! We did a few songs, rhythm and movement games. They are enthusiastic to join in and quick to pick up the songs. There was a few sharing issues when it came to trying the instruments and sticking to their group. So, my mission for next week is to think of more calming activities that are still fun. I take a mini session with the younger ones afterwards so that they don’t feel left out. They are very cute. I found a few songs with actions and they were copying – melting my heart! Then they had a blast out on the keyboard – using fingers, arms, bums.

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