The 2015 Jose Maceda Project Series: Masterclass and Workshop in Philippine Music
“Now that we have learned Cordillera music with the masters themselves, we can teach our students what we ourselves learned and not only from the videos we see on the internet or the stories we read in the books,” – these were some of the words of Ian Gonzales, a Department of Education teacher in Antipolo, during the final synthesis and discussion of the Jose Maceda Project Series: Masterclass and Workshop in Philippine Music. Held in Baguio City from May 1 to 3, 2015, 27 participants learned to sing, dance and play music instruments from the Kalinga, Ifugao, Benguet, and Mountain Province.
Dr. Benicio Sokkong and the Cordillera Music Tutorial and Research Center welcomed the students from the Department of Music Education, Department of Musicology and teachers from the Continuing Education for Music Teachers of the College of Music Extension Program at Maryhurst Seminary where they were given a background of the region before being divided into groups. Each group had two hours to learn the music and dance before they moved on to a different ethnic culture. By the end of the first day, everyone was able to experience what all four tribes taught.
The next day opened with the singing of various songs. After which, the whole group was divided into two and they rehearsed what they learned, exchanging ideas while reviewing with each other. In the afternoon, the participants learned how gangsa, the flat gongs, are tuned and how the bamboo instruments are made. A trip to the instrument workshop in the house of Dr. Sokkong showed the participants where and how the family lived.
On the third day, a ritual called cañao was celebrated. The mambunong or shaman led the cañao and prayed for the safe travel of the participants back to Manila. Here, the students and teachers had the chance to interview the people involved in the workshop – not only the facilitators but also those who prepared the meals and assisted in the playing and dancing. Other students finished collecting data like the measurement of the instruments and local terms used for the dance and playing patterns.
In three days, not only did the student and teacher participants learn how to play bamboo instruments and flat gongs, dance, and sing songs from the Cordillera but they also experienced musicological field research through interviews, data collection, and data processing. More importantly, they got a sampling of how rich Filipino culture is through the lives of those from the Cordillera.
This project was supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the UP Diliman Office of the Chancellor.