EDU 6526


African music ensemble class: A sample of inquiry/inductive instructional strategy

Kedmon Mapana

Seattle Pacific University

From November 28th to December 24th 2008, I attended a workshop on curriculum development for high school secondary education as a consultant in the subject of music. The workshop was organized by the Tanzania Institute of Education, formally known as the Institute of Curriculum Development. These week workshop was held in the Morogoro region of Tanzania. One of the reasons why the curriculum was to be revised was the concern that instructional strategies in Tanzania have to be changed from the traditional way of teaching which features the teacher dependent, lecture method to a student-centered way of teaching.  Many ideas were expressed by workshop participants, many of which were teachers. I remember one of the comments was that such a new way of teaching would allow a teacher to relax, since the students would be responsible for everything.  So, when I came to Seattle Pacific University to begin doctoral program, I had to adjust this perception. I had an opportunity taking the course of the survey of instructional strategies class. The Inquiry-based strategy of teaching was, in particular, based on a student-centered way of teaching. I realized that the fundamental responsibility for the success of this method is the teacher. The teacher does much more than the student to facilitate the learning process.  Also I realized that I had been using this method to teach my African music ensemble class at the University of Dar es Salaam without knowing that I was applying the principles of inquiry-based teaching. This realization prompted me to choose this topic.

Therefore, using a practical example from my teaching experience with the African music ensemble class, this paper will discuss the inquiry/inductive instructional approach: what it means, the procedures that are involved and why it is important. Then I will give some suggestions regarding what needs to be done in Tanzanian educational system.

The inquiry/induction strategy has been given many names, what Michael Prince and Richard Felder (2007) called “the many faces of inductive teaching and learning.”  Some of these are inquiry-based learning, collaborative teaching, participatory teaching, student-centered teaching, problem-based learning and discovery learning to mention a few. All these labels are on based a simple realization: that student should be involved in the process of learning and the teacher should faction as a facilitator. This approach is now well known globally, and many countries, including Tanzania, are trying to utilize it, shifting away from the traditional way of teaching involving the lecture/direct method where a teacher is the source of knowledge, and his/her work is to feed students the information that students are to absorb.

Felder and Prince (2006:9) suggest that, “in fact, probably the only strategy that is not consistent with inquiry-guided learning is the exclusive use of traditional lecture.” In this paper therefore, the term inquiry/induction based teaching will be used to refer to collaborative learning. I will focus on the African music ensemble class in which I taught students to work together by constructing knowledge themselves, based on their experience, as suggested by constructivism theory (Dell’Olio and Donk 2007:348).

Using collaboration, my students most often went through the process of generating hypotheses, collecting data, analyzing data, creating music performance, rehearsing, and presenting data for communication as conclusion. This process is supported by the literature which states that inquiry starts when students are involved in the learning through the systematic processes of hypothesis generating, experimental design, data collection, data analysis, presenting results and formulating conclusions (Dell’Olio and Donk 2007, Marzano 2001, Felder and Prince 2006 ).

Before discussing these processes, it is necessary to identify the aim of the African music ensemble course I was teaching. It stated that at the conclusion of the course, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to describe and perform the selected examples of the music of Tanzania. In order to attain this objective, students went through the following.

First is the process of generating hypotheses.  In this process, students in groups are involved in the conceptualizations of key words such as the type of music. Teaching the music of Tanzania is complicated by the fact that Tanzania has more than 120 ethnic groups and each has its own music a form. Also, terms those are widely used need to be identified. What is ngoma? Ngoma denotes singing, dancing, playing musical instruments. Also ngoma denotes a type of musical instrument, which is membranophone called a drum. In additional ngoma has a social function. Students normally predict answers based on their prior knowledge.

Second is the process of resembling for data collection. In this process, students normally are grouped into two or three groups of five to six people, depending on the number of students taking the class. Individuals assigned to groups are normally selected randomly. In their groups each student is required to provide one song from his or her own ethnic groups. This results in five or six songs for each group.

Third is data collection. After songs identification of the groups, students asked to review the literature and carry out a small survey to discover more details concerning their songs. Through their own experience as they read the literature and interview people, students are able to gather findings such as the following: Song title, region, ethnic group, category of music/dance, musical instruments involved, performance setting or how it is performed, costumes, and what social functions the songs serve. All the findings are then recorded and shared on a created chat.

Fourth is data analysis. In this process, each group of students does its analysis and presents its findings to the class. Critical questions are normally asked to see what the data mean. This process is what Dell’Olio  and Donk (2007:332) call is an intellectual activity because it moves students into higher level of Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy. At the end of this process, students present what they have discovered to the other students.

Fifth is music performance creation. This is a creative process. Students go back to their group and start using the findings to a musical performance. In this process, each student teaches these songs to others in the group, based on what he/she knows from his/her ethnic group. They rehearsal the songs and come out as how the findings say (original).

Sixth is the group presentation which is intended to encourage forming and extending ideas. In this process, groups perform and evaluate each other to see if the first presentation in their data analysis is really happening in their performances. Dell’Olio and Donk (2007:333) suggest that students must compare their results to the hypotheses they made at the beginning to find out if what they present is correct, and if is so, why? And, if not, why not? After the presentations, students ask questions give each other suggestions for improvement of the performances.

Seventh is the final presentation which involves communicating results. In this process, the groups come together and form one group. Students, facilitated by the teacher select two songs from each group and rehearse together. Additional thoughts from the earlier group presentations are incorporated by doing more research or practice. At this time, more creativity is involved, based on the fact that Tanzanian music has become more contemporary. Issues such as vocal training, dance movements, stage management and costume design are considered. As the culminating event, students present a final musical performance in a big concert. The whole University community and people from the city are invited to attend. The reason is to communicate to other people what the students have learned through the inquiry/induction process, an action that encourages retention of what they have learned.

The main reason why this approach is important, as suggested by Lane (2007), is that this instructional approach involves students in the learning process. By doing so, students get the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity, to better understand of concepts and to become skilled critical thinkers. This was true in my case. When I was earning my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Dar es Salaam, I enjoyed taking this course which I later taught. I was given the opportunity to demonstrate and develop what I knew. The result is that I did very well, and I was recruited as a Tutorial Assistant at the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. I think if I had not been given this opportunity that I would not be here today.

The inquiry/induction approach is also very important because it motivates students to work together. It encourages socialization. Students come to love each other and join together as a community comes into being.

In summation, the African music ensemble class has demonstrates how students’ involvement in learning, using the inquiry/ induction approach to instruction is important involving the process of hypotheses generation, data collection, analysis, creativity and communicating results. The aim is to let students develop their own knowledge through investigation with the teacher facilitating rather than lecturing. Therefore, the inquiry/induction instructional approach, in all levels of education in Tanzania, will help students think in both ways ( i.e., critical thinking) and not in the one way thinking fostered by the traditional way of teaching, using the lecture method. To attain this, teachers need to be adequately prepared to understand how the inquiry/induction instructional strategy works and not to simply to relax as it was perceived in Morogoro.


Dell’Olio , J .M. and  Donk T. (2007). Models of teaching: Connecting student learning with

standards. Thousand Oak, CA: Sage.

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., and Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works.

Alexandria,VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Felder, R. M., Prince, M. J. (2007). Many faces of inductive teaching and learning. Journal of

College Science Teaching. National Science Teachers Association. Retrieved on August 6,

2009 from

Felder, R. M. and Prince, M. J. (2006) Inductive teaching and learning methods: Definitions,

compositions, and research bases. Journal of Engineering Education, 95 (2), 123-138.

Retrieved on August 6, 2009 from

Lane, J.  (2007) Inquiry-based Learning. Penn State. Retrieved on August 6, 2009 From

Posted in Instructional Strategie, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

More pictures of the Wagogo music festival, July 17, 2010

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pictures from the festival (July 17, 2010)

Various pictures from the Wagogo music festival that was held at Chamwino village, Dodoma, Tanzania. Photos by Ramona, Holmes

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Wagogo Musical Festival 2010

This year’s Wagogo music festival will be held on July 17, 2010 from 10:00am to 6:00pm at Chamwino village in Dodoma region. The festival will bring 14 groups from 6 villages: Chamwino, Msanga, Majeleko, Makoja, Nzali and Kawawa. Those who are interested are    invited to attend.

Background information

The region of the Wagogo people is centered at Dodoma, Tanzania, about 298 miles due west of the Indian Ocean. This region covers an area of 25,612 square miles, with an altitude of 480ms to 12ms above sea level (Cidosa, 1995). Much of the land is situated on an arid plateau dotted with small bushes and the occasional baobab tree. On average, the region receives rain approximately 7.8 to 23.6 inches per year for only three to four months of the year (Mascarenhas 2007: 376).
The Wagogo are a Bantu ethnic group, one of 120 cultural-linguistic groups living within the boundary of the Republic of Tanzania, formerly known as Tanganyika; they comprise 3% (1,735,000 people) of the population of Tanzania. They live largely in rural villages, and are primarily engaged in agriculture and pastoral activities. Many are farmers on small plots of family land, growing maize, millet and sorghum for food, and peanuts and sunflower for trade. Some herd cows, goats and sheep, traveling to and from their family homes every day to wide open fields where there are low grasses for them to feed upon. Cattle are valuable in Wagogo culture. They are useful in trade, finance, and for ‘bride wealth’ (i.e., dowry).
The Wagogo of Chamwino are largely Christian, particularly Anglican (98%), with just 2% identifying as Catholics and Muslims. For business, banking, and various commercial needs, the Wagogo of Chamwino travel about 30 miles west to the city of Dodoma, which since 1978 has functioned as the capitol city of Tanzania. The Wagogo keep their Cigogo language strong within the family, even as they are now speaking Kiswahili, the official national language of Tanzania which is utilized in telecommunications, trade and commerce. Wagogo occasionally venture out of their villages for education and training, and jobs. Life in the village continues as it has historically existed, with only limited modernization vis-à-vis (some) houses with electricity, (some) houses with radio, and the presence of the mobile phone in the hands of mostly a younger generation of Wagogo with college or secondary school education.

Festival Objectives
This festival started in 2005 by Kedmon Mapana, festival executive director with the following main objectives:
a) To facilitate and ensure that Wagogo local singing, dancing, and instrumental music can be continued and encouraged even in the wake of a nationalist trend towards building a pan-Tanzanian society.
b) To encourage, promote and expose Wagogo artists to local and international communities, to achieve their potentials
c) To promote the idea of establishing Wagogo cultural centre in Chamwino village for teaching and learning Wagogo music traditions and Tanzania at large, consultancy and research activities, recording studio and archive

Kedmon Mapana
Executive Director of the Festival

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dancing and Singing on Two Continents

Ever heard of an “ilimba,”ng’oma or a “filimbi ya mwanzi?” They’re two three traditional Tanzanian musical instruments of the Wagogo people of Dodoma, central Tanzania, and Kedmon Mapana can play both three of them.
Mapana is at Seattle Pacific University studying for a doctoral degree in education with a music focus. He performs his cultural instruments, as well as dances and sings, for workshops, schools, and churches in the Seattle area and around the world. Mapana’s passion is music education; more specifically, the music of the Gogo culture in Tanzania.
For Mapana, who grew up in Chamwino, a small village in the middle of Tanzania, music has always been a part of life. His parents were musicians with no formal training. “My father drummed and danced around always,” Mapana says. Later, the son was happily surprised to find out that teaching music was something for which he could go to school.
How he traveled more than 9,000 miles to Seattle, Mapana calls “a long story.” He first earned an undergraduate degree at Tanzania’s University of Dar es Salaam, then a master’s degree. In the course of his studies, he was introduced to Barbara Lundquist, a music education professor emeritus at the University of Washington (UW). Lundquist was so struck by Mapana’s passion and skill in music and teaching that 2007 (last year) she offered to pay his way to the United States for advanced studies. Mapana accepted.
Shortly after his arrival, Lundquist introduced Mapana to her former student, Ramona Holmes, chair of the music department at Seattle Pacific. Both women encouraged him. Impressed with SPU, he decided to apply. 2009, He was accepted, but first had to learn English as a third language (Gogo and Swahili are his first and second). He went through a quarter of ACE (American Cultural Exchange Language Program) at SPU, and discovered “the teachers are very helpful.”
Now that he’s working on his doctoral degree, Mapana says that he’s interested in two things. He wants to go back to Tanzania and make sure that singing and dancing are well incorporated in Tanzanian school curricula. “I’m very passionate about that,” he says in his focused English.
Second, he wants to examine the possibility of creating a Gogo cultural center in Tanzania. “We are very rich, musically,” Mapana says of his country. “But people are shifting to the music of the West. God gave Tanzanians their own gift of music and we need to use it.” As a start of this cultural centre, Mapana established a Wagogo festival in 2005 in the Anglican Church with the focus of using traditional Wagogo music to praise God. This year the festival will be held July 17, 2010.

Featured on Seattle Pacific University’s Creators
Spring 2010

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Beauty of Tanzania in Its Music: From Ngoma to Bongo flava

In pre-colonial Tanzania, there was only one musical form, which was found among Tanzanian communities, namely ngoma (traditional dances). Every ethnic group in Tanzania had its own ngoma. The performance of ngoma differed from one ethnic group to another. The word ngoma also has different meanings among Tanzanian communities. It can mean singing, dancing, and playing a musical instrument. Ngoma, by itself, is a musical instrument and ngoma can be used to indicate a social function or an event like an initiation ceremony.

The foundation of dances and songs were based in the people’s way of living. Ways of dancing and musical instruments were much affected by the physical environment. For example, in the western part of Tanzania, in Shinyanga and Mwanza, there were many large forested areas. Perhaps, that’s why many ngoma in that area were accompanied by dancing with big drums and snakes.

In the northern part of Tanzania, among Maasai, rhythm sticks normally accompanied dances, as the Maasai are from a pastoralists’ society. In the southern part of Tanzania, music is associated with military steps, because of the Maii Maji war, Ngoni movement from South Africa and the imitation of colonial military drills. A dance like mganda of the Wangoni of Songea is one such example. In the eastern part of Tanzania, the music of Wazaramo is often associated with initiation ceremonies, and in the central part of Tanzania, the Wagogo, for example, practice both music that is associated with pastoralists and with agriculture. This means dances were performed to serve a social purpose or function. Ngoma were performed in marriages, at work, in the initiation ceremonies, or in other rituals with the aim of building social solidarity, communication, and imparting values and norms from one generation to another.

After colonialism, many musical forms emerged in Tanzania. These forms were much influenced by ‘visitors’ from inside and outside Africa. Musical forms were based on commerce and entertainment rather than education, as it was before colonialism. Apart from ngoma, other musical forms in Tanzania today are kwaya (choir), including muziki wa injili, muziki wa mwambao (taarab), muziki wa dansi (jazz band) and the current hip hop music or bongo flava.

Looking at how artists perform ngoma today, it is evident why this traditional art form is popular in urban areas like Dar es Salaam. The drum is the main instrument in this form of music; however, a mixture of electronic guitars is very common. The famous ngoma groups in Tanzania include Muungano Cultural Troup, Parapanda Theatre Arts, Sisi Tambala, and others. Their performances are based on the use of indigenous rhythms in expressing contemporary socio-political issues.

Choir is a musical genre dominated by Christian believers. Many choirs are found in churches. Choirs in churches can be categorized into two groups. The first includes the church singing bands, Kwaya (Muziki wa injili). The singing of these choirs appears to be characterized by the use of Western musical instruments, such as electric guitars and keyboards, employing indigenous Tanzanian melodies. Examples of these choirs include Unjilist Kijitonyama, AIC Vijana Chang’ombe, Nazareth choir Kurasini and others. The second category is ‘choir’ in which the singing is a cappella; that is, singing without the accompaniment of musical instruments, but employing Western four-part harmony. Examples of these choirs are KKKT Kipawa, Ubungo Anglican and others. Characteristic of these two categories of choirs is that singing is not the only feature of their gatherings. They also support each other in times of social need, study the Bible and sometimes play games.

There are also a few choirs outside the church (secular choirs). Most of these choirs are found in schools, or based in political groups, such as Tanzania One Theatre (TOT).

Taarab is found in the coastal region and it was given a Swahili name, muziki wa mwambao. The origin of taarab can be traced back to Arab and Islamic cultures. Mentioning this musical form is like talking about Siti bint Saad, and Bi Kidude, without forgetting Issa Matona. This form of music is popular in Zanzibar Island. Taarab is sung poetry, so the lyrics and voices are crucial. Musical instruments such as the oud (lute), qanun (zither), violin, cello, electric organ and small drums called ki-dumbak are famous in this musical form. Taarab today can be divided into two categories: orchestra taarab (taarab asilia) and modern taarab. In the taarab asilia style, singing in unison while sitting is common, there is no dancing, and instruments like ki-dumbak drums, violin, mkwasa (claves), cherewa (maracas), accordion, and qanum are common. Zanzibar Culture Club and Ikhwani Safaa are examples of musical clubs representing taarab asilia. On the other hand, modern taarab appears to employ electric guitars, electric keyboard, drum kit machines, and dancing is vital. Also, the so-called mipasho are important in this musical form. East African Melody and Jahazi Modern Taarab under Mzee Yusuph are examples of groups that represent mipasho style.

Muziki wa dansi (jazz band) is another form of musical expression especially in the urban areas. In the cities, there are regular bands that play on a weekly basis. Looking at this from its historical perspective, Mbaraka Minshehe was the leading singer, guitarist and composer working with the group called Moro Jazz Band in the 1960s. In the 1970s, DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra was formed, featuring great musicians such as Hassani Bitcuka, Cosmas Chidumule, and others. The Mlimani band was famous for the intricate poetry of their lyrics.  In the 1980s, Hugo Kisima started the International Orchestra Safari Sound. Today in Dar es Salaam, for example, there are bands like the Kilimanjaro Band (Njenje), Msondo Ngoma, Sikinde, African Stars (Twanga Pepeta) and FM Academia (Ngwasuma). Muziki wa dansi has contributed a lot to the profound exploration of the beauty of Tanzanian music in a contemporary society.

Bongo flava is a Swahili rap from Tanzania. It expresses what youth in present East Africa think and dream about. Unlike American hip hop, bongo flava went unnoticed by the rest of the world initially, but it has became the best selling pop music in East Africa. Featuring only a few examples, rappers like Juma Nature and Professor Jay are stars and they are loved for their amusing way of tackling social problems through the lyrics in their compositions. Gangwe Mobb from Temeke, is known for creating at least one new slang word in each of their comic-like cartoon rap songs. Their neighbours, LWP Majitu, are popular for their hard-hitting, hardcore lyrics. Mr. Ebbo has become the most popular urban ambassador of the Maasai, giving them a hymn with his song, Mi Mmasai. X-Plastaz, from Arusha, is probably the only Tanzanian rap crew known in Europe and America, so far. Afande Sele’s song, Mtazamo, was chosen as the best Tanzanian rap song. He was then elected mfalme wa rhymes. Wagosi wa Kaya, which include local instruments, as Daz Nundaz does, are famous for their party on stage. Sista P. is the most popular of the very few female rappers. GK, influenced by the early Tanzanian crew, Kwanza Unit, does old-school rap. His friend, Mwanafalsafa, is still on the charts with his love-controversy songs.

What does the combination of these musical genres say? It is clear that, music has a major role in expressing the beauty of Tanzania. The evolution from ngoma to muziki wa dansi to bonga flava, illustrates the role that young people, especially the upcoming musicians, have played to maintain the musical landscape and satisfy the audiences’ thirst for entertainment both in Tanzania and beyond its borders.


Kedmon Mapana

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kedmon’s Bio

Kedmon Mapana is an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Department of Fine and Performing Arts. He earned a Music Education Certificate from Butimba Teachers College, a BA in Music and a Master of Arts in Music from the University of Dar es Salaam. Currently, he is a doctoral student at Seattle Pacific University in curriculum and instruction with emphasis on music education and ethnomusicology.

He is a dancer, singer, drummer, Gogo flute, kayamba and ilimba player, music performance organizer, choir director, scholar and community music teacher.

From May to July 2006 and April to June 2007, Kedmon taught choral and dance workshops in schools and Lutheran churches in Sweden and Denmark. He is featured in a 15-minute documentary filmed in Denmark in 2008, “Kedmon Mapana in Denmark” (Milbo Media: MM-DOK 44005008). In July 2008, he led a group to Poland to perform and give workshops at a cultural festival in Wroclaw. He has presented invited academic papers at Africa University in Zimbabwe, University of Washington School of Music, and University of Dar es Salaam’s Ethnomusicology Symposium. He has published an article on his thesis research in the African Cultural Studies Journal (19(1) June, 2007:81-93). He was one of the Panelists for Teleconference for the Society of Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting 2008 at Wesleyan University-Africa. He has organized three large Wagogo cultural festivals (13 Feb, 2005, 8 Feb, 2009 and 17 July, 2010) featuring Gogo music and musicians from a number of villages in his home area: Chamwino Village in the Dodoma Region of Central Tanzania.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment