Workshop: Dramatic Interpretation of Music within Multicultural Music Education


This workshop shows the method which I call "erweiterter Schnittstellenansatz" (augmented intersection aproach). "Schnittstellenansatz" (intersection approach) means the following: students of multicultural classes first practise music on a level which is familiar to all of them, i.e. the (cultural) "intersection". Later on in the course of the lesson they discuss non-familiar aspects. In the "augmented" approach both aspects, the familiar and non-familiar ones, are performed within "dramatic interpretation" of the music. This method is the center of my theory of multicultural music education.
In this workshop, which was performed quite often with classes and groups of students, which came from different countries and did not always speak the same language, I show the method by using a Yidish song becaus the Yiddish language was unknow to all of the students.

  • Dramatic interpretation of the Yiddish song “Tsen Brider sajen mir gewes’n” (“We have been ten brethren”), which deals with migration in a symbolic way.

  • Method of the workshop: teachers play the role of students in order to learn how the method “feels”.

  • Motto: whatever teachers want students to do, they have to be able to do by themselves.

(The complete content of this workshop can be seen here: download (pdf).)

Basic experience:

Feeling the “off-beat” which is characteristic of Klezmer and East-European Music.
Learning the refrain in a foreign language.
Identifying with the atmosphere

Daramtic Interpretation (phase of analouge learning):

(1) Articulating first impressions to pictures of Jewish life in East Europe in a standardized form.
(2) Identifying with a character, “role mannerisms”
Reading role-cards in different ways (different languages!),
experimenting with different gestures ,
meeting others and communicating (this communication with “musical” aspects of speech, gesture and other non-verbal factors).
(3) Presentation of the role in a formalized way
Each verse of the song is played (from a CD), the picture of the role-card is shown and all persons, who had indentified themselves with the role, present their “role mannerisms”.
At the end the refrain is sung together.
Once in a while: “questioning” by the teacher (“facilitator”)
Short reflection

Reflection within the role:

“flash answers” on the first “feelings” within the role

More musical skills (phase of digital learning):

Learning the “singing gesture” of the verses,
learning to play an instrumental arrangement
Presentation of the roles as Mini-Oratorio
Presentation without the help of the CD, singing and accompanying live.

1. Phase of reflection

Meaning of the last verse?
Suggestions, how to develop a convincing dramatic interpretation of this meaning, how to handle the different languages etc.
Semi-public presentation
-Practicing for the presentation of the discussed meaning:
Recapitulation of the “Mini-Oratorio” with different feedback-methods such as the “freeze frame methods” etc.
-Presentation .

2. Phase of reflection

More information on Klezmermusic, on Jewish live, on the history of the song “tsen brider” (for exp. in KZ, USA, Europe after the 1970’s etc.), discussion oft different interpretations of the song.


  • (In general) Learn about music within a cultural context as a method of acquiring reality. Learn how people reflect reality with musical means in a very indirect, symbolic, and even sarcastic way.

  • (In this case) Learn how Millions of Jews from East Europe migrated around 1900, how they did sing about this fate within a rather strange and contradictory way (painful verses and lively refrain), a way which is said to be typical “Jewish”. Also learn that a very simple song can be full of “history” and has a deep inner story. Also learn, that by identifying with characters/roles it is a possible to detect this “inner story”. Also learn, that one can communicate without understanding the language.

Role Presentation in Turkey (international workshop):

Role Presentation in Poland (German-Polish Workshop):