3rd Orff-Afrique Master Class

June 20 – July 3, 2018

Summer Course with immersive, hands-on experience in
Children's Games, Dance, Drum, Xylophone, Vocal/Choral Music
in the Orff-Schulwerk Style

Sofia López-Ibor, Doug Goodkin, James Harding - instructors
Dr. Kofi J.S. Gbolonyo - director

Nunya Music Academy
Dzodze, Volta Region, Ghana



Date: Wednesday, June 20 - Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Location: Dzodze, Ghana, West Africa

Host Institution: Nunya Music Academy

Course Venue: White Dove Hotel, Dzodze, Ghana

Language of Instruction: English



Interest in West African music is widespread today, found throughout the fields of Ethnomusicology, World Music Percussion, Dance Ethnology, and Music Education. Without an understanding of its cultural context and its deep connection with dance, oral tradition and its role in daily life, much of its power is lost. Drawing from the success of the 2014 and 2016 Orff-Afrique Course, this unique summer course offers the opportunity for an immersive study in the place where these musical traditions live and breathe. While Orff-Afrique was geared toward music educators working with children in schools, this course was developed for ethnomusicology students and teachers, performing musicians and dancers and those prepared to go deeply into the music and the background surrounding the music. The course is centered in Dzodze, a small town in the Southeastern corner of the Volta Region of Ghana on the border of the Republic of Togo.

In this two-week course, traditions are studied from a perspective that emphasizes participant-observation. The course will focus on drumming, xylophone playing, dancing, and learning indigenous vocal music and songs from the diverse cultures of Ghana and other West African countries including Togo and Benin. Alongside the hands-on learning will be lectures, concerts and field trips as well as observation of and work with students in local schools in the traditional village environment including Nunya Music Academy, the course’s host institution. Lecture topics will include religion, history, Ewe language, and African musical elements including rhythm, polyphony, and vocal styles and their relationship with other African and African-inspired art forms and histories.Onsite visits to celebrations, ceremonies, and rituals will be combined with instruction by traditional musicians, artists and guest lectures by culture bearers.

In an optional third week, participants are invited to remain for an instructional exchange with students and faculty of Nunya Music Academy. During this week, participants will be given opportunities to share their musical knowledge with local students. For example, participants may wish to share techniques and solo or group performance of Western instruments including brass, woodwinds, strings, electric and acoustic guitar, percussion. They may also teach electronic music and dance. Individuals may also extend their stay to study, volunteer, teach, direct or conduct research with the faculty and/or students of Nunya. These opportunities can be explored and tailored to suit each individual’s needs and interests.

Leading the course will be Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo, UBC Ethnomusicology and African Studies Professor and Founding Director of Nunya Music Academy. A Ghanaian native, Dr. Gbolonyo (PhD & M.A., University of Pittsburgh) will combine his traditional, cultural and artistic upbringing and training as a Ghanaian musician, dancer and culture bearer with his academic interests and knowledge of Ethnomusicology, African Music and Dance, African Studies and Music Education. Joining him will be his brother, Prosper Gbolonyo, along with a selection of seasoned Ghanaian master drummers, dancers, xylophonists, traditional and contemporary vocal music composers and singers to help teach and connect the materials and skills to traditional and on-stage choreography processes as well as to other musical styles such as jazz, Latin, and Western choral.

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study with master teachers while immersed in Ghanaian village life!


Program Content

Find out more about the course offerings here.


Read more about about course fee, housing costs and who is eligible to take this course here.