Welcome to the Ears Wide Open Website. You find a short introduction to the project, you can watch videos from all the activities and get an idea of how the different workshops were constructed here. And you can also see with whom we have cooperated.
The activities in Denmark primarily aimed at challenging the established stereotypes regarding Egyptian and Arab music/culture. This was done in different ways:
Instant composition in Danish schools:
Challenging traditional stereotypes: During the Egyptian visit to Denmark we included contemporary electronic music and sound installations using the sounds of the city in instant composition workshops with children and youngsters, thereby challenging the traditional stereotypes of Egyptian culture in Denmark: As one of the teachers explained: “The intercultural was neutralized. The exotic/Egyptian wasn’t stressed. It was ‘just’ New Music! If we instead had used traditional Egyptian music (classical or popular), the debate and process would have been completely different. What the foreign guests here brought wasn’t that different.” And: “It was interesting that Nahla Mattar started with a sound collage, thereby challenging the students in what music is. That it was Egyptian didn’t play a central role, there were no references to the ‘exotic stranger’.”
Stomp in Danish high schools:
Presenting an Egyptian version of the very international style ‘stomp’, where the students worked with Egyptian rhythms instead of Afro-Latin-rhythms, gave students with Arabic background a rare notion of recognition to material relating to Arabic culture, in a generally culturally neutral context. For students with Danish background the experience introduced them to Arab music in a new way.
Musicians cooperating in Denmark:
During the concert at Literaurhaus musicians from a variety of genres were represented: Contemporary compositions and electronics, free improvisations and popular music/jazz. This genre diversity changed the focus from geography (Denmark-Egypt) to a diversity defined artistically.
Instant composition in Cairo:
The activities in Egypt aimed at exploring the use of creative processes in music education, in an attempt to identify if the method was relevant in an Egyptian context. We focussed on instant composition as the primary method.
Some of the students at the public library explained: “We learned to respect the others when they were performing”. One of the teachers realized that: “…when teaching I have to let them see music and voice in a different way. To understand music, they have to know what sound is”.
Please take a closer look at the different videos, where you also find explanations regarding the different pedagogical elements.
The project was financed by Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute.