Music as Communication - Building Communities between campus and Kenya

Kenya - Nairobi

CANCELLED for Spring Embedded 2021

On Campus:  TBD
Off Campus: TBD

Nairobi
Nairobi National Park

Program Highlights

  • Kenya is a musically vibrant and diverse country. From traditional music (religious, ceremonial, motivating songs that accompany work, entertainment) to popular music (sung in any and all languages), music in Kenya is inseparable from life.
  • Observe how music making is participatory in Kenya and be able to articulate the role of “audience” and “artist” in both western cultures and African cultures.  Attendance at formal and informal concerts on campus and abroad will help the listener make unique distinctions in both countries. 
  • Through weekly guest workshops on campus and informal “no-experience-necessary” music making experiences in Kenya, we will learn to feel and live the music elements we will study in class.
  • To better understand the environment and community that supports and inspires the variety of music and culture in Kenya, we will take excursions:
    • outside Nairobi to the Giraffe Center, Elephant Orphanage and hiking in the Rift Valley.
    • Nairobi: safari at Nairobi National Game Park, Nairobi National Museum, Karura Forest Reserve (one of the largest urban forests in the world).
  • Musical experiences in Kenya include: Bomas of Kenya (cultural music, theater and dance), live rumba music and dancing with local Kenyans, Tribal Night (one ethnic group in Kenya presents the music, dancing, food and décor of their culture), tour of recording studio in Nairobi, special guest lecture by music faculty from Day Star University and musical exchange with choir from St. Austin Catholic Parish.

Explore complete Kenya Embedded Program details on CSB/SJU Global Portal.

Nunguni
Bomas of Kenya

Course & Program Information

Course Name: Music as Communication - Building Communities between campus and Kenya

Course Number: MUSC 334

Credit Number: 4 credits

Designation: Fine Arts (FA) & Experiential Learning (EL)

Course Description:
This course combines classroom learning at CSB/SJU during D mod and ends with an experiential component abroad. Kenya is a musically vibrant and diverse country. From traditional music (religious, ceremonial, motivating songs that accompany work, entertainment) to popular music (sung in any and all languages), music in Kenya is inseparable from life. Although we will read about Kenyan music and listen to specific recordings in class, its movement and energy is best understood through participating and communicating with others in group settings. Through weekly guest workshops on campus and informal “no-experience-necessary” music making experiences in Kenya, we will learn to feel and live the music elements we will study in class. Attendance at formal and informal concerts on campus and abroad will help the listener make unique distinctions between “audience” and “artist” in both countries. In order to better understand the environment and community that supports and inspires the variety of music and culture we will take excursions throughout the city of Nairobi (Nairobi National Museum, Karura Forest, recording studio, Bomas of Kenya, rumba music and dance, United Nations, safari at Nairobi National Game Park), and into the country (Rift Valley, Giraffe Center, Elephant Orphanage). Finally, we will interact with other college students from DayStar University in Nairobi as they host our visit in May.

Learn more about the Program with the Video Below:

Program Information:

  • Students will experience the sounds from various instrumental and vocal styles via recordings while in class at CSB/SJU, but their experience will profoundly change once hearing these elements live and in person. The tonal quality, natural volume, textural balance and interpretation of each music experienced will in itself be a new experience, even if hearing a familiar song. Although students will be analyzing Kenyan music before traveling to Kenya, their study of the music for Scholarship and Creativity Day will deepen their knowledge and understanding. Through choosing representative music examples to showcase to the audience and by articulating (through written word and verbal conversation) the musical elements and other appreciable qualities, the students will form a working knowledge of the music and its vocabulary and be prepared to discuss with new people they meet abroad.

  • Students need to be on site in Nairobi to view the wide variety of ways that music interacts with life. As Alan Merriam, cultural anthropologist and ethnomusicologist writes, “African music is functional on two levels – the music itself is integrated into daily life, and it is performed and enjoyed by large numbers of people within the society.”  Once abroad, students will encounter a range of musical experiences, both planned and spontaneous. Students will be encouraged to participate, as they feel comfortable, with each experience. Kenya is a country known for integrating music into its society in a way that is foreign to westerners. Rather than wait for the concert “event’ to attend, almost everyone participates in some way, through singing or dancing, making music participative by its very nature. Students will only understand the power of participating in musical activities on a daily basis once they are part of a community that lives in this way.


Johnnies Alums walking outside Sir Thomas More Building – Kirk Harrington, Josh Olsen, Mike Reilly, John Miles, Jake Kirsch, Sam Gerdts

Program Cost & Financial Considerations

Students on an embedded program will pay an education program fee in addition to the cost of attendance for the semester. Find Program Fee information on theCSB/SJU Global Portal.  

Students should plan early for a successful study abroad experience. Financial aid and scholarships may be available to help with program costs, but must be searched out well in advance.   

Accommodations

During this program, students will stay in furnished apartments (Airbnb style) with a full kitchen (microwave, fridge, stove, oven, cookware, dishes). All apartments will be single or double occupancy. In addition to a full kitchen, the apartment will also include a living room with TV, WiFi, bedding, & towels. The building will also include a cleaning service and 24/7 Security. Students are also able to have access to free laundry.  

There is no dining services within the building, but the area provides many dining options and mall. The program fee will include costs for groceries for students to make meals on their own and some group meals.  

Program Director Information

Dr. Amy Grinsteiner is an Associate Professor in the joint CSB/SJU Department of Music teaching piano, piano class and music appreciation courses. As a recipient of both the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar Award and the P.E.O. National Scholar Award, Amy has traveled extensively building awareness and appreciation for the arts. Amy has assisted in multiple choir tours in Europe through the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and spent a year as an international student studying piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London. This will be her first program that she is leading with CSB/SJU students abroad.  Contact Amy Grinsteiner.

On-site Guide:
Amy is thrilled to start this program in Kenya with James Kimeu.  After graduating from SJU in 2009 and completing his Masters at St. Cloud State University in 2011, James was a Faculty Resident (FR) and staff member for Institutional Advancement. Due to his recent move with his family back home to Nairobi, James and Amy  have imagined an exciting new study abroad course for CSB/SJU.

James has led an Alternative Break  Experience (ABE) to Dominican Republic in 2019. He has also planned group retreats and hosted the Benedictine Volunteer Corp groups in Africa for the last 3 years. Most recently, James organized and hosted a trip for four Square One Students in Kenya for a week in Feb-Mar 2020.