What is gamelan? And why choose this creative arts and computing workshop?

Gamelan is the collective name for an ensemble, orchestra or group of instruments that come from the fourth most populated country in the world – Indonesia, and the islands of Java or Bali in particular.

The instruments are mainly but not exclusively percussion, and learning basic playing techniques is quite simple – so the gamelan is very accessible for collective music making for all children, and is an extraordinary multi-sensory experience.

Gamelan is deeply embedded in Indonesian culture and closely linked with drama, dance and story-telling, often through wayang kulit shadow puppet theatre.

This autumn a limited number of schools will be able to participate in our creative arts project through our partnership with the South Bank Centre.

The Javanese Gamelan ‘Essence of the Lotus Flower’, which was specially commissioned for education use will be in residence at London CLC during September, allowing us to combine music,technology and performance in a special way.

Peter Lillington, our teaching and learning computing consultant, has 20 years’ experience of teaching gamelan to children and adults and will be freshly returned from participating with the South Bank Gamelan Players in the International Gamelan Music Festival in Surakarta in Java, Indonesia during August 2018.

KS2 Workshop (whole day)

This creative arts project workshop combines music making and animation. It will be intensive and fun. During the course of the day the class will split into groups to undertake the different activities of animation and learning the gamelan and combine for the final performances in the afternoon, taking on several different roles.

National Curriculum coverage


Pupils should be taught to:

  • Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression.
  • Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory
  • Use and understand staff and other musical notations
  • Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians


  • Select, use and combine a variety of software… broken down into
  • Use a range of media to design and create a character, then capture into a storytelling app.
  • Make an animation of the character inspired by aspects of wayang kulit, sequencing dance moves or movements that typify the chosen character type, considering different aspects.
  • Play their animation or make their character perform ‘live’ during the afternoon performances on screen.


  • Pupils should explore and identify the way sound is made through vibration in a range of different musical instruments from around the world; and find out how the pitch and volume of sounds can be changed in a variety of way

Art and Design

  • To improve their mastery of art and design techniques including drawing.

In addition the workshop will have a geography and RE element in the cultural context and would be an ideal stimulus for further creative work.

Lambeth schools can access funded gamelan workshops (these are music only) at the South Bank Centre on the larger royal court-style gamelan, non-Lambeth schools as charged sessions.

After the residency the instruments will return to Sunnyhill Primary where the school is keen to collaborate with other schools on creative activities.

We will provide suggestions for follow up activities and links to further resources so that you can feel confident in following up on this exciting experience in school. It will also be possible to capture most aspects of the day on video.


EYFS/KS1 workshop (half day)

This workshop will run at a gentler pace but enable children to explore the wide range of sounds that the gamelan can produce and combine these with vocal sounds and body percussion in collective music making with a story telling element.

Children will capture the music using iPads and, again, this workshop can provide the stimulus of a wealth of cross-curricular follow up activity.


  • Use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes
  • Play tuned and untuned instruments musically
  • Listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music
  • Experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music


  • Use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content


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