• 06 Aug 2010 /  General Blogging 2 Comments

    Hey everyone. So much has happened since my last post. What an incredible experience this trip has turned out to be.

    The Great Wall…

    On the first day of the conference, I booked on an ISME tour to walk the ‘tourist’ section of the wall. This is known as the balading section. I was excited, but knew that there was a more remote, unrestored section that one can also see, giving a much more real experience.

    Luckily at the request of about 10 fanatic hikers at the conference, the tour operator decided to offer a 6 hour extreme hike over some of the rugged, isolated, non-tourist sections of the wall. I immediately changed my booking.

    The next day, I caught a taxi to the pickup point at 05h30, and was greeted by a smiling tour operator handing me a Mc Donalds breakfast. I met up with the other delegates on the tour, and got to know a lecturer from the US, Thomas Bough.

    Ross and Thomas

    The bus ride was beautiful, and after around two hours of driving through lush green farm land, we arrived at our destination. There was no wall in site, but beautiful green mountains and hills. We started to hike.

    We had a 45 minute hike before seeing our first sighting of the wall. Having listened to the audio book of ‘The art of War’ I am well aware of the importance of being on the ‘higher ground’ in ancient Chinese warfare. This seems to be the aim of the wall. 4000 years ago, China was a farming country, and during the tough winters, the Mongolians and horseback raiders would ransack their villages. By building this incredible wall on the ridge of the mountains, they made an impenetrable barrier across the border of China.

    Once we had hiked to the top of the mountain, we climbed up and onto The Great Wall of China! The scenery was magnificent, with rolling green hills disappearing into the mist. There were no other people, and the group was in high spirits.

    After hiking the wall for around 4km, we came to an out-of-bounds militarized zone. This meant climbing down off the wall, and hiking through the dense Chinese jungle.

    Things got very interesting when the guides took us through a cornfield and the owner started shouting at the guide.

    We then hiked back up to wall and did some rock climbing to get on top again.

    All in all, I had the most incredible day.

    Today I did my ISME workshop

    The whole reason I am here in China is that I was selected to present a workshop at the International Society of Music Educators World Conference. The title of my workshop was ‘African Marimba Teaching in Cape Town, South Africa’.

    I was given a very large room, with great facilities, and a time slot of 08h30 – 09h30. I arrived at around 07h30, and set everything up.

    I started with an introduction of both myself and amaAmbush. I then went on to demonstrate the marimba, shakers and djembe. Next I played a short powerpoint presentation, showing some pictures and sounds of our various performing groups.

    By this stage, everyone was getting quite excited, and I moved onto the interactive section of the workshop. Using Buya Africa as the foundation, we first did a clapping workshop. I then invited the delegates up to play on the instruments. Everyone was dancing and singing and shouting. The South African delegates were ullulating. It was a great climax.

    I then went on to explain some of our teaching techniques and then ended with a final performance of Buya Africa. It was a resounding success.

    As soon as I was finished, I was inundated with Chinese ladies. They were treating me like a rock star. I must have taken photos for around 20 minutes with them. I managed to get one taken with my camera:

    Girls, girls, girls

    I managed to chat to some of the international participants once things calmed down, and have received two exciting offers. One is to do my Masters in music, and the other to give some workshops in Australia in 2012.

    Tomorrow morning I am flying to Sweden which I’m sure is going to be a very different experience. China has been incredible, safe and fun. The Chinese people are open, happy and honest. This has really been an trip to remember.

    Next time you hear from me, I will be in Stockholm!


    Posted by amaAmbush @ 6:32 pm

2 Responses

  • Tracy Says:

    Gosh, the trip to the Great Wall of China looks so awesome! Your workshops are always winners! xx

  • Greg Says:

    Well done Ross. It looks as if your trip to China was a great success. Good luck in Sweden. Keep us posted please.

    Maybe you might contact Jamie Gordon who is studying in Sweden at the moment jamie.gord@gmail.com, Uptsala University in Uptsala – 50km north of Stockholm Phone Country Code 46, 0762117393.

    Julia played her Bach Concerto last night with a baroque orchestra and did very well. As usual took it at twice her normal pace but managed well with good intonation. Life is strange with Tessa having her licence. No more rushing around for Mum & I. Julia does her licence again next Saturday so wish her well.

    Trained the photographer Albi to kayak in pool and took him down to Muizenberg where he managed reasonably well in smallish waves. He wants to go to the Gravity fest as a photography so maybe I’ll go with him next week.

    Have decided to buy the Solo so always have extra kayak here for anyone to use.

    Seen quite a lot of Tracy lately. She is looking beautiful, even Granny remarked on this. Better hurry home!

    Love Dad

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