Education and mentoring are at the core of the Music Initiative’s mission, and represent a central focus of its cultural development investments. The Initiative pursues its educational objectives through collaborations with a network of institutional partners both inside and outside the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) whose mission, resources and expertise complement its own. These collaborations and partnerships are tailored to the needs of specific target groups and populations, and have resulted in a variety of projects.
Among them are contemporized forms of master-apprentice music pedagogy, teacher training workshops, performance laboratories for talented young musicians, a pioneering university level music textbook, and community-based music schools and curriculum development centres. These diverse projects all share the objective of promoting cultural pluralism and cosmopolitanism, and strengthening civil society in nations where they are challenged by social, political, and economic constraints.
Music Curriculum Development Centres and Schools
The Music Initiative supports a network of curriculum development centres and music schools in Central Asia whose visionary programmes and projects aim to ensure the transmission and ongoing evolution of local musical heritage. Their strategies include revitalizing traditional master-apprentice (ustod-shogird) music pedagogy in contemporary forms; developing, testing and disseminating new teaching and learning methodologies and curriculum materials; organizing teacher training institutes and workshops; and providing opportunities for talented young musicians to create and perform new music that is at once rooted in tradition yet not constrained by it. Ongoing programmes in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are linked through workshops, creative encounters, and performance activities with more recent initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa, West Africa, India, and Pakistan. Promising talent that emerges from these projects is in turn connected to a worldwide network of arts presenting institutions, universities, and arts festivals with which the Music Initiative collaborates.
Textbook Project: The Music of Central Asia
This pioneering textbook is the first in any language to offer a comprehensive introduction to Central Asia’s rich and diverse musical traditions. With contributions by 25 authors from 13 countries and over 150 audio and video examples,
The Music of Central Asia emerged from collaboration between the Music Initiative and the University of Central Asia, a project initiated by His Highness the Aga Khan. The textbook presents Central Asian music through a prism of cultural pluralism, cosmopolitanism, and regionalism. In doing so, it brings together “insider” and “outsider” perspectives on music and culture by balancing chapters written by scholars native to Central Asia with chpaters written by specialists from Europe and North America. The Music of Central Asia is under contract to Indiana University Press, with publication anticipated in 2015.
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