Oran Etkin (photo credit: John Abbott)
Oran Etkin and his Timbalooloo band performed for parents and children at
BAM Cafe on November 26.
Teaching children the fluency of music while exploring various cultures is what Timbalooloo is all about.
In fact, Timbalooloo is a new method to teach children how to make music while enriching their creativity and overall cognitive, emotional and physical development.
Critically acclaimed clarinetist and composer Oran Etkin is the man behind Timbalooloo. Etkin, known for his contributions to jazz and world music, started up the company in 2005. Since then, Timbalooloo has reached over 2,000 children in New York City and thousands more in 23 countries, such as Turkey, Indonesia, France, Ghana and China.
“We want kids to learn music at a young age in the way that they learn and become fluent in language,” Etkin said.
Through different platforms, like school and home classes, albums for kids and live concert performances, Timbalooloo becomes a natural way to teach music just as a young child learns how to use language to communicate.
The December 10th workshop at National Sawdust in Williamsburg is part of a duo series at the venue. Each month, there will be a different musical guest and a particular focus on a character instrument, like “Clara Net” and “Big Momma Tuba.” A big aspect of Timbalooloo is that the instruments come to life through music. The December 10th show will center around “Big Momma Tuba” as well as the instrument’s history in places like New Orleans.
Embracing one another’s backgrounds and the world’s cultures is an important aspect of Timbalooloo, especially given the time that we are living in, Etkin said.
“It’s a big joy in my life to find out about other cultures and to interact with people, and music is an important tool for that,” Etkin said. “Especially now, it seems like people want to isolate themselves and fear the unknown but if we start young when they are interested and curious, we can explore the positivity that music can bring among people of different cultures.”
In the past, Etkin introduced musical instruments like the kora, a 21-string lute-bridge-harp, commonly used in West Africa. Timbalooloo just returned from France and they are making their way to the Czech Republic soon. He tries to bring back elements of wherever he visits to share with the families of New York.
Timbalooloo tries to refrain from solely performing for the children. Etkin emphasized the importance of a two-way street where children can give feedback based on their energy and wonder. Both children and parents are also encouraged to participate in each show and class.
The Jazz for Kids: Timbalooloo Duo Workshop will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased at nationalsawdust.org.Upcoming shows for the Timbalooloo Duo Series include Dec. 10 at 11 a.m., Jan. 21 at 11 a.m., Feb. 18 at 11 a.m., April 22 at 11 a.m. and June 17 at 11 a.m.